April 25, 2011
STOCKTON, Calif. - Pacific women's basketball coach Lynne Roberts announced that forward Ashley "AJ" Smith and guard Kelli Lewis will join the Tigers for the 2011-12 season. Smith, a 6-1 post from Eugene, Oregon, and Lewis, 5-8 guard from Santa Clarita, Calif. will each have two years of eligibility remaining.
"AJ and Kelli both had fantastic careers in junior college and we feel fortunate to have the opportunity to have them in our program next year," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "The addition of Kelli and AJ to our already strong incoming class of three student-athletes we signed in November gives us much reason to be excited about the future of our program. These are five fantastic players and students that we can't wait to get on campus in the fall."
In 30 games as a sophomore at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, Smith averaged 23.5 points per game, while shooting 47 percent from the field. She also grabbed 11.0 rebounds per game while recording 66 steals and rejecting 28 shots. While playing for the Lady Titans, she led the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges in scoring and was second in rebounding and helped lead the team to a fourth-place finish in the playoffs.
She attended Willamette High School in Willamette, Oregon, where she helped the Wolverines to two state championships in her four years on varsity. Smith was also was awarded as Oregon School Activities Association 5A Co-Player of the year, while leading her team to a 27-0 record during the 2008-09 season.
Smith began her collegiate career at Idaho State, but transferred to Lane after one season, averaging 11.3 minutes in 28 games off the bench for the Bengals.
"AJ is a strong player that can score outside and inside and I anticipate her being able to step in and contribute right away," Roberts said. "She has the ability to post up strong in the paint and she also has a great three-point shot. That balance she has with her game can create a lot of match-up problems and make us difficult to defend. We have been watching and getting to know AJ through the recruiting process since early December and are extremely happy she's decided to be a Tiger. She not only fits in well with our style of play, she also really fits in with our team and University community."
Lewis as named First Team All-State by the California Community College Association last year at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif., helping the Cougars to a 24-8 record and their 13th conference championship and 22-5 record in her freshman campaign, which also resulted in a Western State Conference championship.
She paced the team in scoring with 14.7 points per game while shoot 40.3 percent (152-of-377) from the field and 38.5 percent (90-of-234) from behind the three-point line. The first-team all-conference pick also handed out 4.7 assists per game and pulled down 3.1 rebounds per game in 2010-11. Lewis drained a school-record nine three-pointers against West Los Angeles in a game on January 5.
"Kelli is such a great addition to our program," Roberts said. "The more we got to know Kelli and who she is through the recruiting process, the more we wanted her to be a Pacific Tiger. She is a dedicated student-athlete with concrete goals in her life that she is pursuing with tremendous dedication. She is a solid teammate and program player. But beyond the great person is a fantastic basketball player. With Kelli's basketball smarts, ability to score, and competitiveness I anticipate her to step in and contribute right away."
The duo rounds out the Pacific incoming class for 2011-12, as they will join freshmen guards Claire Conricode (Bothel, Wash.), Hailie Eackles (Sunnyvale, Calif.), and Kristina Johnson (Santa Monica, Calif.) as newcomers for the Tigers next season.