UK's Smith out for season with torn ACL

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky freshman point guard Amber Smith (Winter Haven, Fla.) suffered an ACL and lateral meniscus tear in her right knee on Sunday in the first half of UK’s game vs. No. 2 Tennessee. Smith is expected to undergo season-ending surgery in the next few weeks.

“We are very sorry for Amber Smith,” UK Coach Matthew Mitchell said. “It’s such a tough injury and we were really pleased with how she was playing. Her contribution to this team was incredible. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and we know she is in good hands with our training and medical staff. Our focus now will be on her recovery and rehabilitation. Our team will need to pull together and find a way to compensate for this tremendous loss.”

Smith played 18 minutes of the first half vs. the Lady Vols before going down with a knee injury after attempting a last-second layup with :00.5 seconds remaining on the clock. She finished with four rebounds, two points, two assists and two steals.

The 5-5 point guard entered the Wildcats’ starting lineup on Dec. 4 vs. William & Mary for the injured veteran point guard Carly Ormerod, who is sidelined indefinitely with sesamoiditis and turf toe. Smith flourished in her starting role by averaging 6.7 points and 3.4 rebounds in 21 games, including 9.4 points (second on the team) and 5.5 rebounds (second on the team) in Southeastern Conference play. She was named the SEC Freshman of the Week after averaging 7.5 points and 3.0 assists in two games vs. Old Dominion and South Alabama.

Smith, who leads the team in assists (58) and steals (33), was instrumental in the Wildcats’ 47-44 upset of No. 17/14 Georgia last week as she scored a team-high 12 points, including nailing two free throws with :06 seconds remaining in the game to seal the victory. She also added seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in the victory. Smith has scored in double-figures six times this season, including three of the last five games.