Coming into her first season with the Stags, redshirt Casey Smith ‘17 has made a tremendous impact on the team that has exceeded expectations thus far. Smith, who transferred to Fairfield after a year playing for St. Joseph’s University, has helped her team become one of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s top competitors this winter.

After a year of playing for St. Joe’s, Smith ultimately decided that she wanted to be closer to home. Native to Danbury, Conn., when looking for schools to play for, she had remembered her last phone call with Head Coach Joe Frager.

“Fairfield was actually my number two choice when I was recruited, so when I thought back to that last phone call I made to Coach Frager, and I said ‘Hey Coach, I committed to St. Joe’s,’ and he said, ‘All right, sorry you have to go that way but they’re a great program and if anything ever comes up, we’ll be here always,’” said Smith.

Like Frager said, the Stags were still here for her when she made the decision to transfer to a school closer to home. After coming to play for Fairfield after her freshman year at St. Joe’s, Smith was forced to sit out one season due to National Collegiate Athletic Association regulations. Although the wait was tiring, the year on the bench proved to be extremely beneficial to her basketball career with the team.

“It was difficult sitting out,” said Smith. “But, during practice, I just simulated what a game would be like and I tried to get my head right so when the time was to come this year, I’d be ready.”

In her first couple of weeks playing for the program, the 6-foot-2-inch forward has become one of the top point scorers on the team, right behind her captain, Kristin Schatzlein ‘16. Smith has started in 19 games averaging about 30 minutes per game. She has made 98 of the 212 shots she’s taken and has even gone on to make 38 of her 53 free throw attempts. She’s been a driving force for her team, yet her fellow Stags are not the only ones to notice.

Since her time on the team, Smith has received a number of honors. In her first eight games with the team, Smith posted 94 points for the team, more than any other Stag rookie in over 15 years. She is even on pace to become the highest scoring rookie in Fairfield women’s basketball program history. She’s been named MAAC Rookie of the Week three times, two of which times were consecutive. Even further, Smith was just recently given the honor of Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week for New England, making her the first Stag this season to receive this honor.

“This is really eye-opening. Sometimes I don’t think I have such a good game, but it turns out I do,” said Smith. “It really means a lot to me because I’ve sat out for so long and it’s nice to get recognized after I’ve been under the radar since high school.”

With Smith making a huge impact every game, scoring a majority of the points for the team, the Stags have been quite successful. The team is currently 6-4 in the MAAC and has even been able to take down nine-time defending MAAC Champion Marist College. As the season continues, the women’s basketball team looks to do much more with Smith’s great play.

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