College basketball: Greenfield’s Samantha Smith reflects on eventful freshman season at Babson College

  • Greenfield’s Samantha Smith cheers on her team during action earlier this season at Amherst College. Smith recently wrapped up her freshman basketball season at Babson College. FILE PHOTO/JON ENDOW

  • Greenfield’s Samantha Smith dribbles the ball during action earlier this season at Amherst College. Smith recently wrapped up her freshman basketball season at Babson College. FILE PHOTO/JON ENDOW

  • Greenfield’s Samantha Smith looks for an open teammate during action earlier this season at Amherst College. Smith recently wrapped up her freshman basketball season at Babson College. FILE PHOTO/JON ENDOW

Staff Writer
Published: 3/23/2020 5:09:12 PM
Modified: 3/23/2020 5:16:48 PM

Learning a how to contribute off the bench in limited minutes was only the first challenge for Samantha Smith.

The Greenfield High School graduate recently finished her freshman season playing basketball at Babson College. Around the midpoint of her season with the Beavers, a familiar problem began to persist.

The same left knee that she had injured in high school began to whimper. Toward the end of the season, it was yelling and Smith had the knee looked at again.

“It’s been bothering me since high school and it got worse,” Smith said. “We weren’t really sure about the meniscus at the time. Sometimes it can heal on its own. Sometimes it can get caught and get worse.”

Smith gutted it out and finished the season, averaging 4.1 points and 2.9 rebounds while seeing 11 minutes per game.

Just before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Smith had arthroscopic surgery to clean up her meniscus.

“It was partially torn,” Smith said. “When they went in there, they realized they had a lot of cleaning up to do. I was lucky I was able to get the surgery. They went in and fixed it. I am looking forward to playing without that being on my mind.”

Recovery time is 4-6 weeks for Smith, who said she is rehabbing with a trainer remotely.

“She emails me workouts and is available on FaceTime,” Smith said.

During her season coming off the bench, Smith tried to do as much as she could to help the team.

“My coaches are really good about communicating the little things,” Smith said. “I think that’s something I need to work on. Keeping my hands up, communicating, rebounding, just the smaller things.”

Babson (18-8, 10-0) plowed through their league slate, winning a share of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season championship.

It was Babson’s fifth consecutive regular season crown.

The Beavers rode a 10-game winning streak into the conference tournament.

“We came together as a team,” Smith said. “We stopped playing the individual game. We started playing as a unit.”

Babson held a one-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but fell in the semifinals to No. 4 MIT, 78-72.

“I think I learned that the one team that can really beat us is ourselves,” Smith said. “We talked about that a lot. In high school, there are good teams and there are bad teams. In college, everyone has an equal chance every day.”

It was the second year in a row that the Beavers lost to MIT in the conference tournament.

During the regular season, the Beavers took down MIT, 65-59, in Cambridge on Jan. 18. Smith scored 12 points on 6-of-8 from the floor with five rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes.

“It was the first game where I really felt like I contributed everything I had,” Smith said. “It was the first game where I felt like I had made a big, big difference.”

Smith played nine minutes in the rematch, scoring two points with three rebounds.

With a season under her belt and a soon to be healthy knee, Smith is ready for an increased role next season with four seniors graduating.

“The expectation for me is going to be a lot higher,” Smith said. “I am one of the only big forwards left. The freshman group that we had this year was really strong. Understanding what the game was about in college and already being there before will help us a lot next year. We will be stronger.”

Smith scored in double figures four times for the Beavers. Her 12 points against MIT were a season high.


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