[Marissa Coleman, Alana Beard and coach Julie Plank pose with Katie Smith (second left). Photo: CD Brown for DC UrbanSports.]
I think it's going to be great for the team", says Mystics' guard Alana Beard, on obtaining the 11-year veteran guard, Katie Smith. "She is a pioneer in this league, and to have her on our team with her credentials and her leadership is going to be great for us."
Smith began her pro basketball career in 1997 playing for Columbus Quest of the American Basketball League (ABL)where she helped lead the team to an ABL Championship in 1998. Smith played for the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx in 1999 where her impressive career found her with the then WNBA single-season average (23.1), for most points scored (739), and three-point field goal attempts (240).
"It's Katie Smith. What more can you say?", added Mystics guard, Marisa Coleman. "She's everything that players like me and other players want to be. The places that she's been are where we're striving to go. She's been an Olympian, she's won championships, she's done everything there is to do at this professional level. Just her experience and her toughness that she's going to bring to the team is going to be remarkable. I honestly believe that's going to be the push that we need to get over that hill."
The three-time Olympian was a member of three USA Basketball Women’s National teams that captured gold medals in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics and received high praise and remarks from Mystics GM, Angela Taylor.
"Katie is probably one of the most versatile point guards in the WNBA", explained Taylor. "She can play the point guard. She can play the one, two, three, or four. She posts up smaller guards, she can handle the ball. She can make her teammates better. She can take it to be basket, she's physical, she's competitive. The list goes on and on."
Smith says, "It's a mind set of every time I get out there on the floor, I want to win. And whatever it takes [whether] scoring or defense, let's do it."
What does the Smith think of the opportunity to play for the Washington Mystics?
"They have the pieces and the talent to get where they want to be. When you watch them play, it's unselfish, they want to do whatever to win a ball game, and for me that's where I want to fit in. That's the way I want to play", Smith revealed to us.
Taylor recalls Smith from playing at Stanford in 1993. I know we would have won the championship that year if we had her on our team in '93. Now, it's a blessing to have her as a part of the Mystics organization, because I think we're going to win a WNBA Championship with her as part of it."
Taylor says Smith will help the team out on the perimeter, and help relieve teammate Lindsey Harding.
The organization continues to improve their roster for the 2010 season, having also re-signed restricted free agent Guard Kristin Haynie. Washington acquired Haynie with the sixth pick in the dispersal draft on December 14, 2009.
Taylor likens improving the Mystics' roster and the role that she plays in helping to do so to that of a chess match.
"You're only good as your last move, and the next move. This is a phenomenal, phenomenal personnel move. But now we need to move forward to continue to get our roster better, whatever that may be." That includes, Taylor said, having veteran players in the gym working out everyday, and also looking at free agency.
"We're interested in any free agent that can come in and help us out."
On this year's Women's NCAA tournament Taylor indicated there are a lot of players the Mystics like. "We've watched them from day one this season, and we'll continue to watch them and evaluate them as they continue through the tournament."
Acquiring players in this year's draft will also help. The Mystics have the number sixth pick overall in this year's WNBA draft.
"There are about eight players that we think will land in our box", added Taylor.
We'll be watching to see who those players will be.