It didn’t take long for Lauren Smith to make an impact and get noticed at Wright State.
The sophomore transfer from Denison picked up three wins as the women’s tennis team split a pair of matches on the first weekend of spring competition, a performance that earned her the Horizon League Player of the Week honor.
“She was excited to find out she had won the award,” Raiders coach Sean McCaffrey said. “And it certainly helped with her confidence. The last few days of practice you can just see it. She was already one of the most focused women we have, so that only helped.”
Saturday against No. 35-ranked Akron, Smith beat Marta Briega 7-5, 6-1 in No. 6 singles. And on Sunday in a 5-2 victory against IUPUI, Smith beat Julie Brockman 6-3, 6-3 at No. 5 singles and teamed with Tori Turner for a 6-3 triumph at No. 2 doubles.
Combined with the fall results, Smith leads the Raiders with seven singles victories and her six wins at doubles are tied for the team high.
“I’m encouraged that the Horizon League didn’t just give (the weekly award) to somebody playing at the No. 1 or No. 2 position in singles,” McCaffrey said. “It shows that every single spot is just as important, and that’s refreshing to see. And it’s a great honor for Lauren.”
Smith and the Raiders return to action Saturday against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
Women’s basketball: Kim Demmings tied her season high Saturday with 31 points in a 79-65 victory at Valparaiso in the team’s only game in a 10-day span.
The victory moved the Raiders to 14-5 overall and 3-1 in the Horizon League, one game behind first-place Youngstown State.
Demmings, a junior guard, was 7 of 21 from the floor and 12 of 17 from the free-throw line while also pulling down eight rebounds. Ivory James (15 points), Tay’ler Mingo (10) and KC Elkins (10) also scored in double figures, while Tayler Stanton had a team-high nine rebounds.
WSU is in the middle of a three-game road swing at Milwaukee (Thursday night), Green Bay (Saturday afternoon) and Illinois-Chicago (Feb. 1) that will set up a rare weekday afternoon contest against the league-leading Penguins on Wednesday, Feb. 5.
Grant feature: Wright State athletic director Bob Grant is featured in the winter 2014 issue of Champion magazine, which is an NCAA publication.
The article focuses on Grant’s Twitter practice of tweeting “#uhyeah” any time one of the school’s athletic teams wins. In the article he explains what the phrase means: “Of course we had success. We’re Wright State.”
Grant also gives out T-shirts with the #uhyeah saying on the back for individuals who earn accolades from the Horizon League or other entities.
“I’ve got around 270 student-athletes that are 18-22 years of age,” Grant said in the article. “What is important to me is their satisfaction, their buy-in and their trust.”
Softball stakes: The WSU softball team will hold a Monte Carlo Night and Texas Hold ’Em tournament from 6-10:30 p.m. Feb 1 at the Nutter Center’s C.J. McLin Gymnasium.
The event will include raffles, door prizes and a silent auction featuring concert tickets, WSU apparel and sports memorabilia. And there also will be TVs so fans can watch the Wright State men’s basketball game at Green Bay that evening at 7.
Tickets are $25 if purchased from a softball player or at the front desk of the athletics department, or $30 at the door, and the price includes all food, drinks and a raffle ticket. Kids 12 and younger get in for $15.
For more information about the event or the Texas Hold ’Em tournament, contact assistant coach DJ DeLong at 937-775-2865 or email@example.com.