Last season, Jill Barta was the focal point of the Gonzaga offense. Laura Stockton was the point guard who led the offense. But Chandler Smith was the glue that kept the entire operation together. We often talk about the ultimate glue guys in college basketball; Chandler Smith is the ultimate glue girl for the Gonzaga women.
If you don’t know Smith’s story, she was a top 75 recruit out of Brewster High School (WA) and chose Nebraska over Gonzaga. Her freshman season at Nebraska was riddled by injuries and inconsistent playing time. She transferred to Gonzaga the following season. After her redshirt sophomore campaign, Smith was inserted into the starting lineup last season and did a little bit of everything for the Zags.
Smith is the most versatile player on the roster. The 6’0” senior is listed as a guard, but is most comfortable as a wing. With her versatility, she can play point guard in a pinch and played at the “4” in certain lineups last season.
Smith started all 33 games, led the team in minutes played, and stuffed every category of the stat sheet. She finished the season averaging 9.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.9 steals per contest. She had three double-doubles and had a game where she was one point away from a triple-double. Her 1.9 steals ranked 5th in the WCC. She earned second team All-WCC honors last year and should become a first team player this season.
Smith and Zykera Rice will probably be leaned on the most to fill the offensive production left behind by Jill Barta’s departure. The biggest improvement Smith can make is efficiency on the offensive end. She only shot 37.5% last season from the field and under 30% from the 3-point line. If you’ve ever watched her play, you would think those numbers are really low because she seems to be everywhere.
If Smith has an uptick in those shooting numbers and continues to pound the glass and be a hawk on defense, there’s reason to believe she can challenge for WCC Player of the Year.