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UF Women’s Basketball: Smith Announces Return for 2021-22 Campaign

Photo by Isabella Marley

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY SAM STOLTE

Women’s basketball standout Kiki Smith to utilize extra year of eligibility, return to Florida

University of Florida women’s basketball senior Kiki Smith announced Monday that she will utilize her extra year of eligibility and return to the Gators for the 2021-22 campaign.

Smith, who put together an all-around sensational season with the Gators in 2020-21, became the first player in program history to lead the team in points (490), rebounds (173), and assists (95) in a single season.

The Maryland native finished the campaign with an impressive stat line of 18.8 points per game, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists, and her game got even stronger as the season progressed. Smith averaged 19.3 points per game in SEC contests, the fourth-highest mark in the talent-rich league.

In October, the NCAA’s Division I council voted to provide eligibility relief to winter sport student-athletes.

The lone Florida player to start in all 26 contests, Smith was a model of consistency; scoring in double figures 25 times and eclipsing the 20-point plateau in 11 contests. Smith also collected a team-best seven double-doubles.

In the stretch run of the season, Smith’s play began to turn heads. The floor general scored 20 or more points in nine of her final 14 games played, and her production in her final seven games was nothing short of extraordinary. Smith scored over 30 points twice, registered her 1,000th career point, and led the Gators to SEC Tournament and WNIT wins. Against Auburn on March 3, Smith went for a career-best 36 points, totaling the second-highest point total in an SEC Tournament game in program history and the ninth-most in the event’s history overall.

Smith and teammate Lavender Briggs combined to form one of the nation’s most potent 1-2 scoring punches, totaling 38.3 points per game on average. The dynamic duo finished the season with the highest scoring average between two players in Florida history.

Since arriving in Gainesville for the 2018-19 season, Smith’s presence has been a constant for the Gators. The 5-foot-10 left-handed guard has appeared in 87 games, starting 86 of them, after transferring in from ASA College, a junior college in New York. Smith’s name has found its way into the program’s record books on many occasions as she ranks 24th all-time in scoring (1,069), 14th in assists (299), and 18th in steals (148).

The Gators, who qualified for their first postseason in five years, are expected to return nine players from last season’s team including six who started 10 or more games. Florida’s top three scorers are all expected to be back in 2020-21.