Lady Topper Hoops: Kayla Smith Preseason Preview

Kayla Smith launches a free throw against Dayton in the WNIT March 17, 2016. Courtesy: Matt Lunsford Photography

From the look of the team at Hilltopper Hysteria and the overall talent assembled, the Lady Toppers look poised for another big year. Seniors Tashia Brown and Ivy Brown look to be the clear leaders of the team.

However, it takes a village.

WKU junior Kayla Smith has had an up and down career with the Lady Toppers: She came in and started most of her freshman year (2015–16), but last year, her minutes were cut in half but she was more efficient than her freshman year. There can be myriad explanations for why someone’s minutes could dwindle, but there is no question she comes into 2017–18 as one of the most experienced on the squad.

Kayla has shown explosiveness at times, scoring in double digits 12 times in her first two years on the Hill, despite limited playing time. She’s had some clutch moments, like scoring a go-ahead bucket against Louisville in Diddle Arena in November of 2015 and contributing late in other games periodically. Despite her quickness and athleticism, she also can disappear from the face of the Earth and will resurface for a nice game every once in a while.

The 5'11" Smith is a versatile player for head coach Michelle Clark-Heard. Kayla can post up with her back to the basket in the post, or she can move around outside. She was third on the squad in assists two season ago. She’s got a good mid-range jumper, and is dangerous enough from deep to keep defenders honest.

For Kayla Smith to make an impact in her junior season, she needs to become a consistent contributor. If she can show she is reliable, that Coach Heard can depend on her, she will be a great option as a starter, or as a good player in the rotation off of the bench.

What type of year do you envision for Smith? Will she see her time on the court get back to her freshman year or is a limited-time role player what’ll serve the Lady Tops best? Let us know in a comment below, via Twitter at @TheTowelRackWKU or on our Facebook page.