The University of Maine women’s basketball team had a big void to fill when 5-foot-11 forward and two-time All-America East second teamer Maeve Carroll left after registering 1,000 points, 783 rebounds and 291 assists in her 137-game career.
Sophomore forward Adi Smith has certainly done a nice job filling her shoes.
The 6-foot Smith, who averaged just 7.1 minutes of playing time per game a year ago, came three assists away from a rare triple-double in Thursday night’s 57-51 loss to Fordham as she registered 22 points and 11 rebounds to go with 7 assists.
The 22 points and 7 assists were career-highs.
She has now posted three double-doubles in her last five games.
Through 10 games, Smith is third in America East in rebounds with an average of 8 per game and fourth in assists with 3.7. She is fifth in field goal percentage at 46 percent (40-for-87) and is 15th in scoring at 9.8 points per outing.
She has been receiving 27.6 minutes of playing time per game.
“She is doing a lot of really good things for us,” said UMaine head coach Amy Vachon. “She is filling the stat sheet. She plays hard. She’s really coachable.”
Smith said she is much more confident than she was at the start of the season thanks to her increased playing time, especially before the start of America East conference play.
“She didn’t get a lot of minutes last year and she didn’t have her confidence because she wasn’t getting minutes. The more you play, the more confident you get,” Vachon said.
“She has figured out what she can do and what she can’t do.”
Smith knew she would step into a more prominent role this year and that with the help of her veteran teammates, she has been able to get into the offense.
She said she has worked on “seeing everything in the offense and being patient in the post.”
Smith was dominant in the post against Fordham, hitting 11 of her 18 shots with a variety of power moves around the basket. She scored with both hands. She also hit a few short-range jump shots and wants to expand her shooting range.
“I’ve definitely gotten more consistent at it. In our offense the mid-range jumper is open a lot more,” Smith said. “I’ve worked on it.”
The aggressive Smith is virtually always going up against taller players. But that hasn’t prevented her from grabbing at least seven rebounds in seven of UMaine’s 10 games, and 10 or more in four.
“I’m always the smallest. I just play smart with my rebounding and try not get in foul trouble,” Smith said.
She hasn’t fouled out this season and has only been in foul trouble twice, finishing with four fouls.
“She is a very good player,” said Fordham senior guard Anna DeWolfe, the former Greely High School star from Cumberland. “She is really tough inside.”
Smith, a Reston, Virginia, native, was a first team All-State player and captain at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia, where she averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals during the 2019-20 season.
Smith and her 3-7 Black Bears will look to snap a four-game losing streak when they entertain former UMaine point guard and 1,000-point scorer Missy Traversi and her 2-6 Army West Point team on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Memorial Gym in Orono.
It will be Military Appreciation Day.
Smith said she is looking for her team to go on a winning run soon and finish games well.
“We have fixed all these little things we struggled with at the beginning of the season,” Smith said.
“Now we have to bring it all together.”
UMaine missed its last nine shots in the loss to Fordham, going the final 5:38 without scoring.