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  InterBasket > Player Profiles > Katie Smith, Usa   Ibn Notes: In 1993, Ohio State freshman Katie Smith was named Kodak All-American first team, Sports Illustrated National Freshman of the Year, Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and All-Big Ten second team as she led Ohio State to the NCAA title game.  Unfortunately, Smith's 28 points weren't enough to defeat the Texas Tech Red Raiders and a NCAA Championship game-record 47 points from Sheryl Swoopes.  Smith would be named to the 1993 NCAA Final Four and East Regional All-Tournament Team.

As a senior, in 1996, Katie Smith was a member of the WBCA College All-Star Team that lost 92-57 to the the great 1996 Women's Olympic Basketball Team that was composed of Olympic and professional greats and superstar women's players that went undefeated with a 60-0 record.  That team featured future ABL and WNBA stars Swoopes, Teresa Edwards, Lisa Leslie, Katrina McClain, Ruthie Bolton, Dawn Staley, Jennifer Azzi, Nikki McCray as well as Carla McGhee, Venus Lacy, Rebecca Lobo, and Katy Steding.

Taking her bumps and bruises, Katie Smith joined the Columbus Quest of the American Basketball League. There she would join Valerie Still, Tonya Edwards, Shannon Johnson, Nikki McCray and Sonja Tate to win two ABL championships in the only two full seasons that the league existed defeating Dawn Staley, Adrienne Goodson, Taj McWilliams and the Richmond Rage in 1996-97 and in 1997-98, they repeated as champs against Yolanda Griffith, Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil (36 points in the clincher) and the Long Beach Stingrays.

Those two seasons would be the only two full seasons that the ABL existed.  Katie was selected to follow Brian Angler, who left the ABL prior to their shutting down, to the WNBA expansion team the Minnesota Lynx.  With mostly all the elite American players playing in a domestic league now, Katie Smith still stood out - leading the WNBA in scoring in 2001 with a 23.1 point per game average. Katie Smith averaged 18 points her first five years in the WNBA, allowing her to become the professional (ABL/WNBA) women's player to reach the 5000 points plateau the quickest.  She was also named to the all-star team all five years she has spent in Minnesota and was named the the All-WNBA Second Team in 2000 and 2002.  With the addition of Teresa Edwards in 2003, Katie and the Minnesota Lynx came up across eventual champs Los Angeles Sparks.

In 2005, Katie was traded to the Detroit Shock... leading the team to the WNBA title in 2006 against the defending champs, the Sacramento Monarchs led by fellow-ABL alum Yolanda Griffith.  Though Deanna Nolan was named 2006 Finals MVP, it was the veteran Smith, who shot 42% from three-point range and averaged 17pts in the five games, that provided the leadership, consistency, and more importantly, hit the big shots for Detroit.  "This (championship) is special," said Smith, who scored in double figures in four of the five games of the series. "When you are younger, you think you'll get chance after chance after chance, but now I know that's not how it works."

Katie Smith Profile

Name: Katherine May Smith
Nickname: N/A
Born: June 4, 1974
Status: Active
Origin: Lancaster, Ohio (grew up in Logan, Ohio, USA)
Height: 5-11/1,80m
Weight: 180lbs/86,1kg
Schools: Ohio State University
Drafted: 1996, Third Round, 21st overall in the Inaugural ABL Draft by the Columbus Quest; Allocated to the expansion Minnesota Lynx after the ABL ceased operations in 1988
Languages: English
Website: InterBasket
Teams (jersey): US National Team, Columbus Quest, Minnesota Lynx, Lotos VBW Clima (Gdynia, Poland), Detroit Shock (#30, WNBA)
Ibn Notes:

"I've come along at a great time for women's athletics. I came out of college, and two [pro] leagues had started. The publicity I got as a freshman, that was the first time it really hit me what women's basketball could be. It has grown immensely. You feel like you're a part of it, but you also want to continue the legacy of all the people before you. Like Teresa Edwards I had a chance to play with her. She's one of the best ever. It's important to never forget where this game came from. To give the mindset to the younger generation: Don't take it for granted. Don't just expect this is going to be here forever and it will keep growing and growing. You have to keep this thing moving." -- Katie Smith in 2006, after winning he first WNBA title
Katie Smith Links From our forum: History of the ABL, the American Basketball League, WNBA All-Decade Team, Women's Basketball Forum, WNBA Forum  Articles and other resources: Quest Claims ABL Title (New York Times, 1997), For Katie Smith, Half the fun is getting here (ESPN, 2006), Katie Smith Photo Gallery (Yahoo!), Quest for Fans (CNNSI), Columbus Quest Repeat as ABL Champs (Jet, 1998), Introducing the New 'Player's League' (Washington Post, 1998), One-on-One with Gary Cavalli, co-founder and CEO of the ABL (Women's Hoops Blog, 2004)