Athlete of the Week (Jan. 29-Feb. 3): Mary Smith

Mary Smith has been named the Daily Journal’s Athlete of the Week for the week of Monday, Jan. 29.

Smith is a senior for the Temple Christian girls basketball team who averaged 23 points in two wins last week. She poured in a team-high 24 points against Columbus Christian on Monday and then scored 22 points against Scotland Christian the next day.

“I just go out there and do what I have to do to win,” Smith said.

Smith’s dominant performances last week weren’t much of surprise to the Lady Tigers, as the senior guard is their leader in both points per game (19.3) and rebounds per game (7.5) this season. Her ability to contribute in all facets of the game have been one of the main reasons the team is now in position to clinch its another conference championship.

Temple is undefeated on the season, boasting a 16-0 overall record and an 11-0 record in conference play. It had the opportunity to sweep the regular season with a win in its final game — versus Grace Christian — on Tuesday.

“It would be huge (if we finished undefeated). I really can’t comprehend it, but it’s exciting,” she added.

In her four years, Smith has helped the girls compile a 74-8 record, capture four regular-season and two tournament titles. She’s first in the conference in free-throw attempts (121) and second in both scoring and field-goal percentage (36.0).

After she graduates, the eldest will leave the program in the hands of her younger sisters Rachel and Anna Smith. Rachel, a junior, nets 13.8 points per game while Anna, a freshman, scores just under 12 points an outing. The three sisters are the only Lady Tigers who average double figures.

“Mary is a pleasure to coach. She’s always encouraging younger players and willing to help bench players improve their games,” head coach Broderick Hair said. “She has a great attiude, a team leader and all the other players look up to her.”