Coach profile: Anne Smith
Lady Wave basketball’s head coach Anne Smith is aiming for her team to join those from Fallon who have won state titles this school year.
Smith has taught physical education and sports at Churchill County High School since 1998. Smith was the former coach of the junior varsity team and varsity assistant coach under Chelle Dalagar before she retired.
The Wave has advanced to regionals every year under Smith’s tutelage, but this season marks the first time in six years since she was an assistant the Lady Wave has a chance at winning a state title.
“I think we’ve always had a very strong womens basketball program so I don’t think that has changed,” Smith said on how she thinks the girls’ basketball program has changed in her years. “I think it’s always been strong and well taken care of and the previous coaches have done a good job as well. It’s tough to come in as a coach because those past have been so successful. To try to emulate what they’ve done, (Patty) Daum, Delager, I have a lot of respect for them so that’s a tough act to follow to come in after strong coaches like that.”
Seeing several class years of team come and go, when asked how Smith believes she has changed as a coach, she said she believe she continually changes because she is constantly learning.
“I know I’m a different coach than I was my first year because I’ve learned from other mentors, and of course, game situations teach you a lot,” Smith said. “I learn from my players, too, and every team is different. So I think that I’ve constantly changed and I don’t anticipate that will change as I learn from my experiences.”
Smith has a team which is arguably quicker in transitions from defense to offense than in years prior, part of the essentials of the Lady Wave’s formerly undefeated season until their loss to Lowry on Saturday.
Part of what arguably gave Fallon so many extra chances on the court as well is their reputed full-court press defense and offense that Smith said she has been working with her players for the past three years.
“We’ve done it a while and we expect our younger teams to do it as well, so by the time they’re on the varsity they’ve already had several years of running a full court press and have an idea about it,” Smith said. “It’s not really anything new. We’ve been doing it for a while. But I do think the more they run it the better they get at it, so over the years it just gets better and better and my players get tougher and tougher.”
This year’s Lady Wave team has boasted several intermittent stat leaders in the Northern D1-A rankings, including freshman Leilani Otuafi, ranked third in steals per game and fifth in assists per game, as well as Caitlyn Welch, ranked fourth in steals per game.
Despite the cumulative success and the state title on the line, Smith said this has not changed her approach to the team in a significant way from any other year that she has been coach.
“As far as my expectations go, I’ve always tried to expect a lot from my teams both on and off the court so I don’t think hat has changed,” Smith said. “In years past we’ve been close to making it to the state playoffs as well and so I don’t think my expectations have changed. Of course this team there is a different style of play year to year, one team to the next, so my expectations of course change with every team. But as far as just my expectations themselves, I still expect a lot.”
Though the end of the season is drawing near, win or lose, looking back Smith said she wouldn’t change a thing, neither for her players this year or next because of how she and her team have grown from both wins and loses.
“This has been a fantastic season and of course a lot of fun for all of us,” Smith said. “Injuries have been at a minimum, effort has been outstanding, it’s just been a fabulous year. It will be a year that coaches compare future teams to. This has been a great year.”