Lansing native Alisia Smith transfers to MSU from Penn State


Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Charlotte Steinberg, Women's Basketball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING — Alisia Smith, a 6-foot-3 forward and native of Lansing, Michigan, is leaving Penn State to join her teammate Jayla James and coach Suzy Merchant’s Michigan State women’s basketball team. Smith averaged 9.5 points and 7.1 in 2019-20 for the Nittany Lions. 

The junior also had five double-doubles and 11 double-digit scoring games. Unfortunately, the starter for 23 games went down with a season-ending injury that hurt Penn State for the remainder of the season.

“We are excited to have Alisia join the Spartan Family,” Merchant said. “Her skill set will add experience and versatility to our post position. She is tremendous in transition, a hard worker, and a fantastic rebounder. We are thrilled to bring Alisia back home to finish her career and can’t wait to have the opportunity to be part of her basketball journey.”

Smith went to Waverly High School before attending Penn State. She earned All-State honors and first-team All-Capital Area Activities Conference as a senior. According to Lansing State Journal reporter Brian Calloway in January 2017, Waverly’s Smith was announced as a McDonald’s All-American game nominee.

Now Michigan State is loaded at the forward position, a luxury the Spartans didn’t have last season. For next season, Merchant now has the opportunity to mix and match lineups and see which forward could give Michigan State the best chance to win games. Smith joins Kendall Bostic (Kokomo, Indiana) and Matilda Ekh (Västerås, Sweden), as well as transfer Jayla James (Upper Marlboro, Maryland).

MSU’s four commits for the 2020-21 season will give much-needed depth and spacing for offensive plays. Bostic gives Michigan State the post presence, Ekh has great size but also has an outside shot, and James gives a little bit of everything with driving and shooting. Not to mention the Spartans will also have Tory Ozment, Mardrekia Cook, and Cydni Dodd back for veteran leadership.

The Spartans will most definitely look much different when they step on the court in the Breslin Center. Coach Merchant and her staff are looking to revamp the lineup and improve the game plan in the post.

Charlotte Steinberg is a beat reporter for Impact 89FM WDBM who primarily covers women’s basketball. Follow her on Twitter at @sportstalksbycs.