Smear makes her mark with threes

Yale senior, hampered by injuries, holds records

Colleges

Postcards

February 19, 2003|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

As the curtain descends on Maria Smear's once-promising basketball career at Yale University, one thing is certain.

The senior shooting guard's ability to shoot three-pointers won't soon be forgotten around Yale and the Ivy League.

"She sure could hit the threes no matter what injuries she had," said Yale coach Amy Backus yesterday as she thought about what might have been for Smear. "It's unfortunate that she didn't have a chance to take her game to the next level. I give her a lot of credit this season for accepting her limited role on the team due to her leg problems and other injuries."

Backus said Smear, 5 feet 11 and a St. Mary's alumna, has been able to play only eight to 10 minutes in recent games while recovering from a concussion that had followed a sprained ankle.

Amid the injuries, Smear had two wisdom teeth pulled.

However, the major setback to her career was a stress fracture in her right leg that limited her junior season to six games.

"Maria has still had problems with that leg this season," said Backus. "It's a shame because she worked so hard after her sophomore year to improve her defense. In fact, the concussion came from her taking a charge. She has outstanding court sense, and just her presence on the floor more often would have helped our younger players this season. We needed her."

Smear said yesterday that her movement on the court since the stress fracture has been so restricted that "about all I can do is just stand there and shoot threes."

"It's been a tough thing to deal with," she said. "I've learned to do other things for my teammates to make up for my lack of mobility."

With Smear averaging just 16.5 minutes, 5.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in 13 games this season, Yale has struggled to a 4-17 overall record and 1-7 in the Ivy. She started eight games.

But two home games last weekend were typical of the way the season has gone for Yale and Smear.

The Bulldogs lost a triple-overtime, 94-92 decision to Princeton on Saturday night after losing in overtime Friday night to Penn, 71-65.

Smear played a total of 18 minutes in those two games, going 0-for-5 from the field with two rebounds and one steal.

Even though she was 0-for-4 on three-pointers last weekend, Smear is shooting 43.2 percent from beyond the arc this season and holds school records for three-pointers attempted in a game (13), made in a game (seven), attempted in a season (162) and made in a season (62).

She was an All-Ivy rookie team selection as a freshman, second-team All-Ivy pick as a sophomore when she was ranked 23rd in the nation in three-point percentage (40.8), scored a career-high 26 points against Cornell her sophomore season, and averaged 11.4 points through her junior season.

Another Jordan

Freshman Siena College guard Antoine Jordan (Randallstown) put on a nice show for his Baltimore-area fans last Tuesday night at Loyola College, scoring 13 points and grabbing seven rebounds in a 75-58 victory over the Greyhounds in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game.

Jordan, 6-4, is averaging 8.9 points and 5.2 rebounds. He started 10 games for the Saints (14-9, 8-6) and is averaging 25.3 minutes.

He shoots threes at 39.1 percent (27 of 69) and leads the team in steals with 39. Jordan also has 45 assists and four blocks.

Osborne a force

St. Francis (Pa.) sophomore center Jason Osborne (Towson Catholic) has been a major factor since becoming eligible to play in December after transferring from Dayton last spring.

Osborne, 6-7, 245 pounds, is averaging 10.1 points and 4.6 rebounds, which is third and second on the team, respectively.

Osborne is shooting 50 percent from the field, has 12 blocks and 10 steals in 16 games but he has been hurt by 38 turnovers.

Days strong

Senior forward Corey Days (Boys' Latin) has helped lead Trinity (Conn.) College to a 15-8 record overall and 5-4 in the Division III New England Small Colleges Athletic Conference.

Days, 6-5, has started 21 of 23 games, is fourth in scoring (9.5 points a game), second in rebounding (6.4), is the runaway leader on the team in blocks (49), is second in shooting percentage from the field (52.5), and he has 22 steals.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at bfree706@hotmail.com or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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