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Smith not ready to call it quits


April 8, 2011
EDGAR?KELLEY , The Inter-Mountain

Ever since stepping onto the floor as a freshman at Elkins High School, Kayla Smith has shined at the sport she credits with making her life what it is today.

"I don't know where I would be without basketball," said the former three-time All-State selection for the Lady Tigers. "Basketball has definitely been very good to me."

That's why Smith isn't ready to let go of the game she holds close to her heart. Although she recently wrapped up a brilliant career on the hardwood at California University of Pennsylvania, Smith isn't ready to hang up the sneakers just yet.

Smith, who was a Division II First-Team All-American selection this past season, is currently preparing to set sail on her newest hoop adventure, and this time it won't be a state that borders West Virginia.

"The season just ended a few weeks ago and I'm already bored," she said. "I really miss being on the court, so I'm going to try playing professional basketball overseas. I'm just not ready to quit basketball."

But what about the bright lights and big cities of the WNBA, you may ask? Is Smith good enough to play with the likes of Diana Tarasi and Tamika Catchings? Possibly, but sitting the bench and waiting for a chance to play just isn't her style.

"There could have been a chance of me getting picked up (by WNBA) if I wanted to go that route," she said. "But I want to play now. I'm not ready to sit on a teams' bench and play just a little bit here and there. I can go overseas, play right away and get paid."

After having her name etched in the record books at her previous two stops in high school and college, it's a pretty safe bet that Smith will also excel at her next stop.

Statistically speaking, Smith has done it all, first at Elkins High School where she is the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder, and then at Cal where she is the school's all-time leader in rebounds and third in all-time in scoring with 2,096 points. After averaging 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 1.6 blocks per game this season, Smith was named Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Player of the Year.

"I'm pretty happy with the way my college career went," said Smith whose 25 double-doubles are third-most in NCAA Division II history. "I would've liked to have made another Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament, but two isn't too bad, though."

After making the final field of eight in 2007-08 and 2008-09, the Vulcans were ousted in the second round by Shaw this season.

Like any athlete, Smith knows that eventually her time will come to stop playing. And when it does, she isn't about to stray too far from the hardwood. "I plan on coaching at the college level when I'm done playing," she said. "I'm going to try to make a career of it. If things don't work out overseas, I'll come back to America and get into coaching right away."



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