JoAnna Smith looking to shoot down unbeaten Supercats
The Powerade Frankston Blues Womenare seeking their first win of the season when they host the unbeaten Geelong Supercats in NBL1 round 3 on Friday night, and it was a challenge that sharpshooting import JoAnna Smith believes that her young side was capable of.
“We are all excited for tomorrow,” enthused Smith in speaking on the challenge ahead. “We know that they have a strong team, but we are going to be loud!
“We are going to be energetic, flying around all over the place! We are a small team until Richards [Shereesha] and Wilkins [Courtney] get here. We are going to run, play some tough D, and leave it all out there [on the court].”
The Blues had their chances against the Tigers last week to come away with a road win, yet the Supercats promise to be an even tougher assignment this week.
Geelong boast a very deep roster, headlined by 2018 FIBA World Cup silver medallist Ezi Magebegor who was this week selected at pick 12 by the Seattle Storm in the WNBA Draft. She is joined by fellow WNBL stars Sarah Blicavs, Zitina Aokuso and Jazmin Shelley. The star quartet accounted for 71 of Geelong’s 94 points in their last start win against Knox and proved to much to handle for the Raiders. After returning from a knee reconstruction in the latter half of the WNBL season, Blicavs appears to be regaining her form quickly, leading all scorers with 25 points against the Raiders. While the Supercats have a number of weapons that will require quelling, Smith was confident that the youthful Blues roster could cause an upset.
“The game against Waverley was my first game since April last year in Turkey, that was over a year ago! I was still a little rusty. Last week [against the Tigers] I felt good. To see that first shot go in, it brought me confidence. Against Melbourne, I picked it up a level. Tomorrow hopefully I will be well adjusted!
After a tough shooting night in her debut with the Blues against Waverley in which she went just 3-12 from the field for 7 points, Smith exploded for a team-high 26 points on a much-improved 10-18 shooting that included a sizzling 5 three-pointers. While the Blues let a golden opportunity against the Tigers slip, Smith was confident the best was yet to come for her team.
“The Melbourne game was a step in the right direction for me and the team, and I’m excited for tomorrow.”
Smith who played her first professional seaso in Turkey more than a year ago was enjoying being back on the court, but also in helping nurture the next set of Frankston junior stars alongside her good friend and former Buffalo teammate Steph Reid.
“After my rookie year, there were no serious job opportunities about, and the market was very slow. I told my new agent in January that I wanted to go to Australia to play before heading back to Europe. Steph mentioned that her team was looking for a player, and I was like ‘OMG!’ I found a break and came on over.
“I arrived in February and things just could not be better. I’ve been coaching the kids [with Steph] via the Regional Academy Term 1 Programs and now with the school holiday programs. It’s been real fun and it’s a great community here.”
With Reid entering round 3 as the team’s leading scorer in averaging 20 points across the first two games, and Saraid Taylor delivering an impressive double-double against the Tigers, a fit and firing Smith is exactly what the Blues need, especially against the red-hot Geelong on Friday night.
The Powerade Frankston Blues host the Geelong Supercats in round 3 of the 2019 NBL1 season at home this Friday, 12 April 2019 as part of a double-header with the men. The women’s game tips off at 5:30pm at Frankston Basketball Stadium, which will also be streamed LIVE on the NBL’s YouTube channel accessible via the game center link below.