The Australian commitments to women’s college programs for 2020 continue to fly in, with Sara-Rose Smith announcing her decision to become the 10th Australian to commit.
Smith will join Shannon Dufficy at Missouri, with the pair set to play together in 2020/21 as Dufficy returns to court after sitting out a year following her transfer from Utah State.
A member of the selection camp roster for this year’s FIBA Under 19 World Cup, Smith is perhaps best remembered as a member of the Australian team that won 3×3 bronze at the Youth Olympics in 2018 alongside fellow Division I players Suzi-Rose Deegan and Alexandra Fowler. However, Smith has also tasted success in the 5-player version of the sport, averaging 9.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game at the 2018 Under 18 Australian Junior Championships for the Victoria Metro team side that stormed to gold. Smith was also originally named to the star-studded Victorian team for February’s Under 20 championships before injury forced her withdrawal.
A 6’0 forward, Smith earned herself a Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence scholarship, playing both SEABL and NBL1 for the CoE side over the last two seasons. Starting in 7 of her 16 appearances in 2019, Smith proved herself to be one of the better rebounders on the roster, averaging 4.7 boards per game despite playing fewer minutes than several players more known for their ability on their glass. Although her shooting percentage sat at around the 35% mark in the most recent NBL1 season, there is plenty of time for that clip to improve over the next 12 months or so, particularly if her consistency from three-point range increases alongside a decent 39% mark from two-point range.
Missouri has enjoyed a highly successful period over the last few years, reaching the NCAA Tournament in all four seasons with a roster led by Phoenix Mercury and Melbourne Boomers star Sophie Cunningham. However, with Cunningham, as well as classmates Lauren Aldridge and Cierra Porter now having departed the program, there is a real changing of the guard in Columbia. Both Smith and Shannon Dufficy look set to be part of that new Tigers era, but it remains to be seen what position the team will be in when the pair finally do hit the court in November 2020.