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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Mackenzie Smith joins the 1,000-point club

The Hawk News
Junior guard Mackenzie Smith looks for an open teammate against Dayton, Feb. 14. PHOTO: MADELINE WILLIAMS ’26/THE HAWK

There have been no shortage of milestones for St. Joe’s this season, and junior Mackenzie Smith added to the list Feb. 14 when she scored her 1,000th career point.

Smith entered the game against Dayton just five points shy of 1,000. After a layup in the opening seconds put her three points away, she found herself at the line with the chance for a three-point play with 4 minutes, 50 seconds left in the first quarter.

“When I ended up being one point away, the layup I made, I wasn’t actually expecting to go in, and I didn’t know it until [my teammates] all embraced me, sort of pushing me around,” she said. “So it was a really cool experience to feel their support for me and their love for me.”

Smith is the 30th player in program history and the third Hawk this season to reach this milestone, joining teammates Chloe Welch and Talya Brugler.

“I’m extremely grateful to be one of 30. It’s a huge accomplishment that I’ve never expected in my life,” Smith said. “We didn’t really keep track of those things at home, so just from everyone else’s point of view, I feel like it’s a huge accomplishment to have achieved in my junior year.”

Head Coach Cindy Griffin described Smith, who is averaging 12.3 points and leads the team in three-point percentage (42.9%), as “a consistent contributor, both on and off the court” for St. Joe’s.

“You see what she does in the box scores for us with between scoring, rebounding, assisting,” Griffin said. “She’s obviously one of our most explosive players in the gym, probably one of our best one-on-one players and she’s a triple-threat scorer. She can shoot the three, she’s got a beautiful pull-up and doesn’t mind contact around the basket. You can see her getting to the free-throw line, which has been great and what you want from a player.”

But it’s much simpler than that.

“She’s an everyday player,” Griffin said. “She’s an everyday person. She shows up every day. She’s very consistent with her approach and her competitiveness.”

“She’s first on the floor. She takes a lot of charges. She sacrifices her body day in and day out for the good of the team, and she’s not afraid to take the hard shot,” Griffin said. “She’s also not afraid to have a tough conversation, which I think is part of the leadership roles that she and the rest of our juniors learned how to navigate.”

For Smith, being an everyday player means showing up day in and day out, no matter the circumstances, which helps make her a tougher player.

“I think it helps on the adversity side of things,” Smith said. “If we lose a couple bad plays or we lose or something, it helps you become stronger with your mindset. You kind of just have to push through those moments.”

Smith is no stranger to having to push to get what she wants.

“I grew up in a very, very small town, in Nova Scotia, Canada,” Smith said. “So being from that, I’ve always had to work for the things that I’ve wanted. And I think I’ve always had that mindset of ‘nothing’s ever handed to you. It’s always earned.’ So I think that has been my mindset for everything I do in life. I think that’s kind of applied to this group as a whole too. I feel like we embody that.”

While the group embodies the “everyday player” trait, Brugler said Smith helps push them to get to this point.

“She’s always pushing her teammates to be better to help the team overall,” Brugler said. “She’s a vocal leader, but she also leads by example and she does a really good job bringing people together and motivating them to continue working hard.”

Smith says her teammates motivate her in return. The Hawks (24-2) are in the midst of a historic season.

“It pushes me to want to be the best that I can possibly be,” Smith said. “We’re in such a competitive environment, and I’m a competitive person myself, and just to see all the hard work that my teammates and my coaches put in on a daily basis really pushes me.”

This article was first published by the Philadelphia Inquirer Feb. 18 as part of the Inquirer’s college correspondent program.

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Mia Messina
Mia Messina, Sports Editor
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