The Indiana Fever picked up a real gem in NaLyssa Smith from Baylor University as the No. 2 pick in the WNBA draft.
In a year filled with dynamic players throughout women’s college basketball, Smith stood out in the crowd for her vitality and flexibility.
During her four seasons with the Bears, Smith compiled a laundry list of accomplishments ranging from a national title during her freshman year (2019) to two All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year nods. This past year, she averaged 22.1 points and 11.5 rebounds while leading the Bears to the Big 12 conference title and an appearance in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
She finished with 2,048 career points and 1,098 career rebounds.
Smith brings a strong competitive will and a unique ability of being a premier presence in the paint, while also contributing from beyond the arc. She is a 6-foot-4 power forward that can help the Fever at both ends of the floor. Furthermore, she is not heading to the Hoosier state alone as she has fellow Baylor teammate Queen Egbo coming along to provide offense and chemistry to a franchise that is in desperate need of rebuilding.
The Fever had the worst record in the WNBA last year and let go of three first-round picks. They haven’t reached the playoffs since 2016.
The pressure is present for Smith to not only become a franchise player but somewhat of a savior and the question becomes whether or not she can maintain a strong offensive presence as she has already established herself when it comes to defense.
Given that she has proven she can hit the three when necessary as well as provide power on the boards, she can help spearhead a more explosive offense that could bring the Fever back to life. Plus, she has her partner in crime in Egbo to feed off of.
The hope going forward is that Smith maintains a sense of self and doesn't let others define her on her behalf, but rather finds a gradual path toward success on her own terms. She has always dreamed of reaching the promised land of women’s basketball and now that she has arrived, this is her moment to not only solidify her place but to help potentially bring basketball greatness back to a state that knows better than most about such glory.
the rookies have landed #FeverDraft | @AnthemBCBS pic.twitter.com/YIOFHwCM70— Indiana Fever ⛹️♀️ (@IndianaFever) April 14, 2022