Smith makes most of second chance at Stanford

Editor's note: Before the Sweet 16 tips off, ESPN's Beth Mowins takes a look at one player to watch from each of the No. 2 seeds. Here, she focuses on Stanford's Brooke Smith.

Brooke Smith always knew she'd reach the Sweet 16 again. She just thought she'd be wearing a different uniform when the time came.

Back home in northern California after an unsatisfying year at Duke, Smith's in her first season at Stanford. She was part of the Blue Devils' run all the way to the Final Four two seasons ago. But after spending more time on the bench than she wanted, Smith headed home and later enrolled at Stanford.

After sitting out last season per NCAA transfer rules, Smith is making the most of her second chance, and she has been a guiding force for the Cardinal. And so far in the NCAA Tournament, the 6-foot-3 junior is playing her best basketball of the season.

Smith put up impressive numbers in an opening-round win over Santa Clara. She scored 19 points, and notched career highs with 12 rebounds and five blocks. She was solid again in the second round, helping Stanford get past Utah.

Smith, who scored 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting, is awfully tough to stop when she gets close to the basket. That's because she has perfected the one shot that is very difficult to defend: the hook. And although you don't see many women consistently score on a hook shot, Brooke's hook is the best in the business.

The hook shot has helped Smith score 13 points per game. She is the second-leading scorer on the team behind Pac-10 Player of the Year Candice Wiggins. She is the perfect complement to the Cardinal's perimeter scorers, shooting 61 percent from the field to rank among the top 10 in the country this season in field-goal percentage.

When you shoot the ball that well, you don't need many second chances.

Beth Mowins is a regular contributor to ESPN.com's women's basketball coverage.