Indiana State head women’s basketball coach Joey Wells announced today (Sept. 19) that he has added former WNBA and University of Illinois star Jenna Smith to his staff as an assistant coach.
“I could not be more thrilled to be able to announce Jenna Smith as our new assistant coach for Sycamore Women’s Basketball,” Wells said. “The experience that Jenna brings to our program is immeasurable. She reached the highest level of our sport and I can’t wait for her to begin working with our student-athletes.”
Smith graduated in 2010 from Illinois where she set the school record for most career blocked shots. In 2010, Smith was a second round draft pick of the Washington Mystics and also spent time with the Indiana Fever before playing professionally in Israel.
“I can’t wait to get started with Sycamore Women’s Basketball,” Smith commented. “It has been a life-long dream of mine to become a college coach after my playing days were over and I can’t thank Joey Wells and the Indiana State administration enough for making those dreams come true.”
In 2010, Smith was named to the State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year Watch List – one of 25 nationally to receive the honor. In 2008, Smith was named an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American and owns the Illinois freshman rebounding record of 233. She was named All-Big Ten by both the coaches and media in 2007-08 & 2008-09.
During her junior year, she played and started in all 31 games at Illinois and finished third in the Big Ten in scoring (18.5 ppg) and blocked shots (2.0) and sixth in rebounding (8.6). Smith reached double figures scoring in 39 consecutive games, which was the fifth longest streak in the nation and in 67 of her first 68 games played with the Illini.
She set the Illinois career blocked shots record against Minnesota during her junior year and posted 10 double-doubles that season, including eight during Big Ten play. She became a 1,000-Point scorer during the season opener of her junior campaign and passed the 1,500 point milestone during the Big Ten Tournament later that year. Smith would be named to the All-Big Ten Tournament Team twice during her career.
As a sophomore, she posted 59 blocked shots to break a 25-year old Illinois single season record. She also led the Big Ten with 16 double-doubles and scored a career-best 32 points against Southern Illinois early in the season. She led the Illini to a berth in the Big Ten Conference Tournament Championship Game.
Smith made a big splash as a freshman in 2006-07 when she started 22 games at center and was named honorable mention all-conference as well as to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. She led all Big Ten freshmen in rebounding overall (7.8 rpg) and in conference (8.5).
She came to Illinois after being named Minnesota’s Ms. Basketball and the Associated Press Player of the Year after leading Kennedy HS to a 30-2 record and a runner-up finish in the Class 4A State Tournament as a senior. She holds the Minnesota career record for most blocked shots.
Following her collegiate career, Smith was drafted by the Washington Mystics in the second round of the WNBA Draft. She also spent time with the Indiana Fever as well as B.C. Habikaa in Israel where she posted a double-double average including a mark of 19.8 points per game. She ranked fourth in the Israeli League in rebounding and sixth in scoring.
Photo Courtesy ISU Athletics
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