Kianna Smith sees support at Louisville, leads as a co-captain

Transfer from CAL that sat out in 2019-20 becomes a leader for Louisville
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The transfer process for Kianna Smith was quick, so she didn’t get to know Jeff Walz too well before deciding to join Louisville women’s basketball after playing two seasons at CAL.

Walz and the program’s recent actions have helped to solidify Smith’s reasoning for transferring thousands of miles from home. The Louisville head coach spoke with players and released a statement on behalf of the team with the help of Smith and Dana Evans, the team’s co-captains, addressing racial injustice.

Smith says Walz and the coaching staff support student athletes in things other than basketball, which is what helped to draw her to Louisville.

“I got a good sense that him [Walz] and the other coaches were good people,” Smith said. “I think with everything that is going on, he has shown that that is true.”

With two years of eligibility left, Smith spent last season practicing with the team as she sat out due to NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-foot guard arrived at Louisville following two productive seasons at CAL.

She averaged 8.6 points and 4.8 assists and was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team in her first year of collegiate basketball. As a sophomore, Smith scored in double figures 14 times.

In two seasons at CAL, Smith made 91 3-pointers and tallied 244 assists.

Evans said Smith is a leader that younger players can look up to.

“She is a very hard worker, she puts the time in,” Evans said. “She lets you know that this is something that she loves. I think you can look forward to her being consistent, being somebody we can rely on, whether that is scoring, getting assists, anything, she can pretty much do it all.”

Walz said in a recent teleconference that Smith has great court vision and has the ability to play several different spots on the floor.

While Smith wasn’t able to play last season, she used the year to learn Louisville’s program. The captains from the 2019-20 helped to influence her role heading into next season.

“Watching their hard work last year, they just laid out a blueprint for all of us,” Smith said.