Following an enforced five months on the sidelines due to injury, Alanna Smith has made a triumphant return to the hardwood in delivering an impressive debut game in the Women's Korean Basketball League.
Suiting up for her first game with the Incheon Shinhan Bank S-Birds, Smith was the most dominant player on the court. She amassed a game-high 28 points with 11 rebounds in an eye-catching performance.
Despite Smith's outstanding return from injury, the S-Birds however were overrun in the fourth period by the Yongin Samsung Blueminx, going down 76-70. Smith's S-Birds are now in third place with a 5-7 record.
Smith, who was drafted at 8th in the 2019 WNBA draft, had been sidelined with the ankle injury since early August, and after undergoing successful surgery in late August, was ruled out for the remainder of her rookie season with the Phoenix Mercury.
The 6’4 Stanford graduate played 18 games for the Mercury, averaging 1.1 points, 1.9 rebounds in 7.5 minutes of play, including a season-high 7 points scored in a loss against the Minnesota Lynx over early June.
While Smith had considered playing in the WNBL this season, she explained in an interview with The Pick and Roll in early October that she wanted to experience as much as she could while she can overseas.
“Personally, being away has been the most challenging but most rewarding experience of my life and I want to make the most of playing overseas while I can," outlined Smith.
“Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Australia, it’ll always be home and I’d love to play WNBL one day. But Korea has a great reputation as a tough league and I’m really excited to see what the season holds.”