02/25/04 — Former Cougar shining at MOC

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Former Cougar shining at MOC

Published in Sports on February 25, 2004 1:55 PM

MOC Sports Information

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive College women's basketball player Brandy Smith intends to pursue a career in athletics after graduation, first as a coach and perhaps eventually as an athletics director. But don't be too surprised if you also hear her on the radio someday.

Smith, a senior guard from Goldsboro and a graduate of Goldsboro High School, plays her final regular season home game Thursday as the Mount Olive basketball teams celebrate Senior Night in a doubleheader against Coker. The women's game tips off at 5:30 p.m. at College Hall.

Mount Olive reached the 10-win mark this season for the first time since 1995-96. The Trojans have a chance to play a Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Tournament game at home for the first time since joining NCAA Division II. Smith feels the program has made a turnaround this year and is heading in the right direction.

"We've struggled for a few years, but it feels great seeing the program turn around during my senior year," said Smith. "A lot of great things are happening for the team and I feel good for the program and the players."

Smith herself added a new dimension to her game during the season. Along with her roles as a playmaker and a defender, Smith has emerged as a major scoring threat this season, recording seven double-figure performances in her last 111 games, including a career-high 20 points against Anderson.

"I don't know where it came from," Smith said about her scoring spurt.

"One game, I don't know what happened. I had a good game and my confidence increased. I realized I could make an impact offensively and defensively, anything I can do to help the team." Smith says confidence is the key if the Trojans want to close the season on a high note and make an impact in the CVAC Tournament, which begins Monday.

She points to last week's game at Queens, in which Mount Olive rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit for a 62-59 victory.

"We learned we can come back from a deficit," said Smith. "The comeback really helped our confidence a lot and you can see on our faces that we have confidence in ourselves." Smith hopes that confidence can carry into the CVAC Tournament.

"That game gave us confidence in knowing we can win," said Smith. "The confidence is there now and hopefully, it can carry over into the tournament. Nobody can take away what we've worked so hard for all season and I think it'll show up at the tournament."

When you attend a Mount Olive women's basketball game, as well as other athletics events, you'll see Smith perform yet another role. Smith sings the National Anthem prior to each home women's basketball game, and always receives a rousing ovation, not only from Trojan fans, but even from the opposing team. "I've been singing since I was a little girl," said Smith, who sings with her church choir. "I've been blessed with a gift from God and I use it when I can. I've never had any training. It's a gift from God and I'm grateful for it."

While her career focus is in athletics, Smith admits she hasn't necessarily ruled out some involvement in music. She jokes that her friends are telling her she should try to get on a certain television show.

"A lot of people have asked if I've sent tapes to 'American Idol,'" said Smith. "My friends and I will be watching the show and they'll say, 'You can sing better than her!' I've considered pursuing a career in singing after college. If it's meant to be, it happens, but I won't give up everything for it."

A sports management major with a concentration in athletics administration, Smith will graduate with a 3.1 grade point average. She says time management is the key to balancing academics and athletics, a skill she learned long before college.

"Time management started in high school for me," said Smith. "Academics has always been important to me and I want to do well in the classroom.

"Academics always comes first. I had to prioritize and make sacrifices, but it paid off. It's paying off now and I believe it'll pay off for my future."