Jennifer Smith - Women's Basketball Coach (2024)

Head CoachJennifer Smith
Entering 17thseason at Lock Haven:172-260 at Lock Haven
19thseason overall:196-293overall

Since taking over the Lock Havenwomen’s basketball program, head coach Jennifer Smith has rebuilt the team into a contender.

Overall, Smith enters season No. 17at Lock (2024-25) as the head coach. Smith is the program's all-time coaching wins leader after breaking the previous record during an historic 2023-24 season.

She was hired in July 2007 and faced the daunting task of rebuilding the program. She’s done that and looks for more in the future.

- The 2023-24 season by the numbers:
After leading the Bald Eagles to a record-breaking season and a trip to the NCAA DII Tournament, Smithwas named a finalist for the 2023-24 Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II Coach of the Year.

Smith guided the Bald Eagles to an historic season in 2023-24, which finished with the program's first NCAA Tournament Atlantic Region Semifinal appearance in over three decades.

The Bald Eagles finished with a program-record 29 victories, a PSAC East regular season title, a 21-1 conference mark and the first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1991. Lock Haven's run of 19 consecutive victories from earlier this season was also a program-record. Lock Haven's four loses all came at the hands of NCAA Tournament teams.

The Bald Eagles also reached the NCAA DII WBCA and CSC National Rankings for the first time in program history.

On Wednesday, Jan. 31, Smith became the all-time winningest head coach in Lock Haven Bald Eagle women's basketball history with 162 career victories. She surpassed Frank Scarfo's (1986-97) previous record of 161 and will enter next season 172 Lock Haven coaching wins.

Following the regular season,Alana Robinson(First Team, Defensive Player of the Year),Jenadia Jordan(First Team) andRhlyn Rouse(Freshman of the Year, Second Team) were honored as members of the All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Teams. Robinson was also named a Second Team All-Atlantic Region Forward.

- The 2022-23 season by the numbers:
In 2022-23the Bald Eagles took another step forward after yet another PSAC Quarterfinal appearance.

Under Coach Smith in 2022-23, the Bald Eagles secured a spot in the PSAC postseason tournament for the fourth consecutive season.

The Bald Eagles are coming off an 11-17 overall record and 9-13 mark in the PSAC East, which earned them the sixth seed in the 2022-23 conference tournament. The Haven fell in the first round to the No. 3 seed Kutztown University, 68-60.

Lock Haven's defense ranked fourth in the PSAC as they held opposing offenses to under 60 points per game and 39 percent shooting for the field.

The Bald Eagles upset 15th-ranked California (Pa.), 70-62, inside Thomas Fieldhouse on Dec. 3.

Leading the charge wasAlana Robinson, who was named PSAC Eastern Division Freshman of the Year,while landing on the all-conference second team.

The Bald Eagle forward is just the second PSAC Freshman of the Year in Lock Haven women's basketball history since Rachel Ebeling brought home the award in 1996-97. Robinson made her mark early and set the LHU single-season record for blocks with 53, surpassing the previous record of 46 held by Shameka Lee since 2006. Her season tally also placed her second-best in the PSAC.

- The 2021-22season by the numbers:

Despite a season plagued by injuries, Coach Smith took the Bald Eagles all the way back to the PSAC quarterfinals for the second time in three years and their third straight trip to the conference playoffs. Highlighting the postseason run was a 64-34 playoff dismantling of Shippensburg in the opening round of the PSAC tournament.

The Haven capped the season at 14-13 overall and 10-12 in the PSAC. Following the season,Ahnera ParkerandJaynelle Robinsonwere selected to the 2022 All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division Second Team. Both Parker and Robinson find themselves all over the LHU Record Book in rebounds, blocks and scoring.

Under Smith's guidance, the Bald Eagles are also a leader in the classroom as the team notched an LHU second-best3.338 GPA over the 2021-22 academic year. The team also placed 11 on the PSAC Scholar-Athlete list, which requires a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 upon completion of the academic year.

- The 2019-20 season by the numbers:

In 2019-2020 Smith made history again. Smith led the Bald Eagles to their second consecutive winning season and to a second consecutive Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Playoff bout. This was the second time Smith managed this feat with the team, since reaching the PSAC playoffs in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. Those two seasons were the first time back-to-back playoff seasons had been accomplished since the 1990-91 seasons. Smith and her team have now been to the playoffs in four of the last five seasons.

Yet the team’s successes were not just highlighted by their record, this season Smith and her defensive schematic had newfound success. In fact, the squadron set a new a school record in opponent shooting percentage by limiting opponents to a meager .365. They also allowed just 63.1 points per game and were ranked the sixth best defense in the PSAC.

That success translated to the glass as the Bald Eagles racked up an astounding 1,159 total rebounds, good for second best in the PSAC. And when they needed her, Rileigh Devine was there to take the pitch out as she shot her way over the 1,000 career point mark and ended her career at LHU first all-time with 203 career made three pointers.

- The 2018-19 season by the numbers:

Highlighting the 2018-19 season was LHU’s playoff win and Smith’s 100thvictory at Lock Haven.

For Smith, the win over East Stroudsburg on February 13 marked her 100th at LHU. Overall, the 15 wins last season pushed Smith to 103 at Lock Haven, as she became just the second head women's basketball coach in school history to go over 100 wins at The Haven. She now has 127 career collegiate wins overall.

When the Bald Eagles won their First Round PSAC Tournament game over ESU, it marked the Bald Eagles first PSAC postseason win in 28 years. Prior to the win, LHU's last playoff win came in 1991. LHU eventually fell in the quarterfinals, marking the Bald Eagles first quarterfinal appearance since the 1990-91 season.

LHU finished the season at 15-14 and the 15 wins served as the most in a single season since the Bald Eagles won 17 during a 17-9 season in 2005-06. Lock Haven entered the PSAC Tournament as the No. 4 seed. It was quite the jump and season, after the PSAC Eastern Division coaches slotted the Bald Eagles at No. 7 in the preseason poll.

Early in the season, the Bald Eagles hit a six-game win streak on the way to their 7-1 start. The sensational start led to Lock Haven's first regional ranking in 28 seasons. The six-game win streak marked Lock Haven's longest since a seven-game win streak during the 2005-06 season. The next longest win streak was nine straight wins during the 1989-90 season after Lock Haven opened the season 9-0. The 7-1 start to the season therefore marked the best start to a season since the aforementioned 9-0 start back in 1989-90.

The Bald Eagles used balanced scoring all season and in the end, two players finished in double-figures. All-Conference pick Ahnera Parker led Lock Haven (13.4 pts./game) and Rileigh Devine chipped in with 12.2. Four players netted an average over 8.2.

Parker was named to the All-PSAC East Second Team and sharp-shooter Devine finished the season with 70 3-pointers. The 70 3's for Devine mark the all-time single-season school record. For her career, the junior has 139 made career 3-pointers, which leaves her just three away from tying the all-time school record for made 3's in a career (142).

A closer look at the Smith profile:

Previous to last season, Smith had already led the Bald Eagles to prominence within league, reaching the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) playoffs in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. This was the first time back to back playoff seasons had been accomplished since the 1990-91 seasons.

The 2017-18 season was marked by a big home win versus Millersville, the eventual PSAC runner-up and wins over PSAC rivals Bloomsburg, Cheyney, and Shippensburg.

Standing out for the Bald Eagles was sophom*ore guard Rileigh Devine who led the team in points per game with 10.9 and averaged two made 3-pointers per game while shooting 33% from beyond the arc. Also freshman guard Bink Redman finished the season averaging seven points per game and a team high 5.4 RPG. She led the team in rebounds per game, assists per game (2.4), blocks (0.7) and steals per game (1.2).

The 2016-17 season was hindered by four season-ending injuries, but the young team was able to pick up major wins over perennial PSAC powers: Gannon, West Chester and Millersville. The team finished in sixth place, losing the playoff tie-breaker to Millersville. LHU won three of its last five games as the Bald Eagles fought until the end for that final playoff spot.

Senior Lysa Mealing was named the 2016-17 PSAC Eastern Division Defensive Player of the Year and also earned All-Conference honors after landing on the All-PSAC East Second Team. Mealing finished with a league-best 12.7 rebounds. It marked the second straight season where Mealing led the PSAC in rebounding and she finished ranked second in DII. The squad led the PSAC in three statistical categories: rebounding offense, defensive rebounds and field goal percentage defense.

The 2015-16 season was highlighted by junior, Lysa Mealing, leading all of NCAA Division II in rebounds per game (13.7). She totaled 343 boards on the year which set a new season school record. She also broke the single-game rebound record with 25 in an overtime win versus Kutztown University. The team finished first in the PSAC in rebounding margin, second in field goal percentage defense, and third in 3-point field goal percentage defense while ending the season with an 11-16 overall mark, before falling to a strong Millersville squad in the first round of playoffs.

Smith led LHU on a sensational run during the 2014-15 season. Lock Haven made its first PSAC playoff appearance in 24 years and finished the season with an overall record of 11-16 (10-12 in conference play). The Bald Eagles downed Smith’s alma mater - Millersville University - for the first time in ten years. The team also was clutch down the stretch as the Bald Eagles won four of their last five games to finish tied for fourth in the PSAC Eastern Division.

During Smith’s tenure at LHU two players have reached the 1,000 career point milestone. Only 13 players overall have hit that mark in the program’s history.

Off the court, the Bald Eagles have been very active in the Lock Haven community, helping with projects such as the YMCA Easter Egg Hunt, YMCA Healthy Kids Day 5K race, YMCA youth basketball clinic, YMCA after-school program, Liberty Baptist Church youth basketball league, Fraternal Order of Eagles blood drive, Salvation Army Kettle campaign and AAUW book sale.

The Bald Eagles have been successful in the classroom as well as on the court. Under Smith’s tutelage, the program has had 31 student-athletes earn Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) scholar-athlete honors for their extraordinary academic efforts. In order to achieve PSAC Scholar-Athlete status, a student-athlete must maintain a 3.25 cumulative grade point average while competing in an intercollegiate varsity sport.

Prior to LHU, Smith spent two years as head coach at NCAA Division II, Goldey-Beacom College, located in Wilmington, Delaware. In just two seasons with GBC she was able to turn the program around leading the Lightning to their most wins in school history in 2006-07.

The team went 18-11 overall and 14-8 in Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference play. The 18 wins set a school record for overall wins in a single season and the 14 conference wins also marked a single-season high. During the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, she guided the Goldey-Beacom Lightning to the third most improved overall record in all of Division II women’s basketball. While at Goldey-Beacom, Smith also served as the school’s sports information director.

Coach Smith served as an assistant coach at Millersville University from 2002-2004. Her duties included guard development, recruiting, scouting, camps and extensive help with offensive schemes.

Before stepping into coaching, Smith played for the Lady Marauders from 1998-2002 and was a four-year varsity letterwinner. At Millersville, she broke school records for most games played in a career and most three-pointers made in a game. Smith earned the 2002 Elwood J. Finley award as top senior female student-athlete. She served as team captain in 2002, while earning team MVP and offensive player MVP awards. During Smith’s playing career, her team advanced to three NCAA Division II National Tournament appearances and earned PSAC East titles in 2000 and 2002. In 2009 she was named to the Millersville All-75th team that commemorated the greatest players in school history.

Of note, Smith was also a NCAA D-II track and field All-American in the javelin in 2000.

Smith graduated from Millersville in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in speech communication and an athletic coaching minor. She earned a master’s of education in sports management and administration in 2004.

Smith is an active member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and participated in the 2009 NCAA Leadership Academy, the 2009 NCAA Women’s Coaching Academy and the 2015 Center for Coaching Excellence. She has also served on the Division II Regional Advisory Committee and the WBCA Coach of the Year Committee.

Smith is married, has threechildren and resides in Bellefonte, Pa.

*Updated May 10, 2024

Jennifer Smith - Women's Basketball Coach (2024)


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Level:Division I
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