Rio's Smith earns All-MSC honors
March 2, 2011By Mark Williams of University of Rio Grande
Frankfort, Ky. ---- University of Rio Grande senior guard Jenna Smith was named to the All-Mid-South Conference women's basketball team on Wednesday night at the MSC Banquet at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History. Three other RedStorm players were tabbed honorable mention All-MSC.
Smith, a 5-8 sharpshooter from Bellefontaine, OH, led Rio Grande in scoring this season at 18.4 points per game. Smith also leads the MSC and the NAIA in made three-pointers with 107. Smith also averaged 4.0 rebounds and handed out 78 assists this season.
It was the second consecutive season that Smith earned the All-MSC honor.
Senior forward Leah Kendro (Strongsville, OH), senior point guard Bre Davis (Marietta, OH) and junior guard Kaylee Helton (Lucasville, OH) were named honorable mention All-MSC.
Kendro is the team's second leading scorer at 16.9 points per game. She also pulls down 4.4 rebounds per outing. Kendro was an All-MSC selection last season.
Davis delivered another outstanding season, posting 10.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. She is one of the top distributors in the league and the NAIA with 163 assists for the season.
Helton is the team's third leading scorer at 15.4 points per game and is the team's leading rebounder at 6.7 per contest. She, along with Smith and Kendro all eclipsed the 1,000-career point total this season.
Smith, Kendro and Davis were also MSC All-Academic team award winners as well. Fellow seniors Ashley Saunders (Amanda, OH) and guard Brandi Unger (Peebles, OH) and sophomore guard Iliana Gonzalez (Arecibo, PR) were also selected to the MSC All-Academic team.
Rio Grande head coach David Smalley felt good for Smith in earning All-MSC honors again this season. "We're excited for Jenna Smith, we're really proud of her being chosen for one of the 10 all-conference awards," Smalley said. "Bre Davis, we were a little frustrated last year that Bre didn't get anything and Bre has worked extremely hard and to me is one of, if not the best point guard in the conference."
"We're proud of her for achieving honorable mention," Smalley added. "Kaylee Helton has had a great year, scored her 1,000th point this year. She got some respect from some of the coaches to garner honorable mention as well and then Leah Kendro, who was all-conference last year, had a great year and was awarded with honorable mention."
"Had we had a better overall record and finished higher, then we may have gotten a little more respect, maybe some of those honorable mentions would have been all-conference," Smalley said. "I'm extremely proud of them, pleased with our team awards and proud of our players for focusing and keeping that consistency in the classroom and on the court."
Rio Grande completed the regular season with an overall record of 18-12 and went 9-9 in the MSC, finishing in 5th place for the second straight year.
There were 46 members on the all-academic team. To qualify for the MSC All-Academic team a student-athlete must be a sophomore, junior or senior and carry a minimum 3.25 grade point average.
"The academic awards that the University of Rio Grande came through with, we had six players and all five of our seniors (were on the team)," said Smalley. "They had anywhere from a 3.28 up to a 3.8 cumulative GPA and that's just phenomenal."
"To me it's staggering that they keep that type of focus in the classroom and still do what they have done on the basketball court," Smalley added. "We're extremely proud of those young ladies."
Rio Grande is the No. 5 seed at the MSC Tournament and will face No. 4 seed Cumberlands on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. at the Frankfort Convention Center. Stretch Internet and iHigh.com will have play-by-play coverage beginning at 1:55 p.m.
"Right now everybody is undefeated and there's no reason why we can't turn those (MSC) awards into motivation and go out and play extremely well against Cumberlands and then the winner of Campbellsville and St. Catharine (on Saturday)," Smalley said. "Hopefully that will be the catalyst that we need to get us through this tournament."