Former Alaska Player of the Year Engel makes sparkling return from injury

Van Williams | Alaska Sports Hall of FameAlaska Sports Hall of Fame

The game didn’t count because it was an exhibition, but it still mattered to Keiahnna Engel of Anchorage and Kristin Smeaton of Dillingham.

The Alaska sophomore guards squared off when NCAA Division I Boise State University beat NAIA Southern Oregon University 95-58 in Idaho.

Bragging rights went to Engel, who started the game and finished with 16 points, eight steals, six rebounds and five assists. The former Alaska player of the year missed all of last season with a knee injury. This was her first game back.

Engel, a Dimond High graduate, played 22 minutes and made 6 of 14 shots. Her previous career high was 14 points.

Smeaton, of Dillingham High fame, came off the bench to score seven points and dish off three assists in 14 minutes.

She was coming off a 13-point performance two nights earlier in a win over California Maritime. Southern Oregon had already played two official games going into the exhibition game against Boise State.

It was the first time Smeaton reached double figures in 17 collegiate games.

Van Williams, a 20-year local sports writer and the former sports editor of the Anchorage Daily News, writes about the athletic exploits of Alaskans for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. He can be reached at