Kiara Smith drafted 36th overall by the Connecticut Sun in the 2022 WNBA Draft

Graham Hall
Gator Sports
Florida Gators guard Kiara Smith (1) drives to the basket during the second half against the Missouri Tigers on Feb. 27 in Gainesville.

Florida women’s basketball guard Kiara "Kiki" Smith was selected 36th overall by the Connecticut Sun with the 12th pick in the third round of the 2022 WNBA Draft, held Monday night at New York’s Spring Studios. 

During the 2021-22 season, her sixth season of eligibility, Smith led the Gators both on and off the court as Florida overcame the departure of former coach Cam Newbauer and became one of the SEC’s most impressive teams under Kelly Rae Finley.

Smith led the Gators in multiple statistical categories, including points (14.6), minutes per game (33.9), rebounds (5.5) and assists (4.6), before suffering a season-ending knee injury in Florida’s one-point victory over Vanderbilt in the second round of the SEC Tournament.

NCAA Championships:'Nothing compares to college gymnastics': Championship atmosphere awaits Gators in Texas

UF softball:No. 7 Gators avoid sweep, top No. 5 Crimson Tide 12-7 in series finale

With Smith pushing the team from the sideline rather than on the court, the Gators suffered a first-round exit in the NCAA Tournament at the hands of UCF – a disappointing conclusion given the team’s memorable season. 

Once considered to be a potential top-10 pick in the draft, Smith’s stock took a hit in the build-up to Monday’s draft due to injury concerns and her lack of availability for the upcoming season.

The condensed 2022 season runs from May 6 until Aug. 14 – nearly a month shorter than the typical WNBA season as a result of the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Australia scheduled to begin Sept. 22.

Despite being expected to miss the rest of the year, the potential Smith displayed during her three seasons in Gainesville clearly made her worth the risk of a selection in the WNBA Draft.