Rip City MVP returns for 2022 NBL1 North season

Written by Greg Dawkins. Photos by JDR Creative.

The University of Sunshine Coast Basketball Club has welcomed back last season's team MVP Carlie Smith for the 2022 NBL1 North season. The 186cm forward will play alongside 2020 league MVP and Australian Opal Maddy Rocci for the first time in the Rip City women's team.

The inside-outside scoring threat from both players could prove difficult for opposing defences. It could prove to be the best combination since Saturday and Sunday. “I can’t wait to play alongside Rocci,” Smith said. “I think we will compliment each other really well on the court and I’m excited to play a fast-paced style that will be both exciting to watch and a winning formula.”

The former WNBL player and Australian 3-on-3 representative will also play a crucial mentor role at the club. “I’m really looking forward to playing this season with a younger team,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to taking on the opportunity to be a leader amongst the group and help develop the talent we have here on the Sunshine Coast.”

Smith, who averaged 18.23 points and 12.84 rebounds per game last season, played out of position at centre at times in a league that has its fair share of strong dominant centres. “I am excited to be able to have the opportunity to play out on the perimeter again this season like I have in the past for clubs and as a junior,” Smith said.

“I am also looking forward to continuing to utilise my versatility in the four spot where I can score inside and rebound as well. I think this will give us good defensive flexibility to give other teams multiple looks as well.” USC’s NBL1 season starts in April with the first six rounds on the road due to Suncorp Super Netball but Rip City’s run home will be mostly at home. Rip City are looking forward to the first home game on the 11th June vs Southern District Spartans. The finals will be played in August-September after a 15-round regular season.

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