SMITH PUTTING IN POINTS AT RECORD RATES
Katherine the Great
By John Gardella
Smith is the league's leading scorer, pumping in 25.4 points per game. She has made more three-pointers (51) than any other player. She recently scored a WNBA record 46 points (eclipsing Cynthia Cooper's mark of 44 set in 1997) in an overtime loss against the Sparks, less than a month after pouring in 40 against Detroit. She has had only four games where she failed to score at least 20. A scorer of longstanding, she averaged 20.2 points last season, ranking second behind Sheryl Swoopes (20.7 ppg) and finished her career at Ohio State with 2,578 points.
Yep, Smith can score some. And for the second straight year, Smith earned a spot on the Western Conference All-Star team. "It's an honor because of all the talent that's in the league," Smith said. "There are a lot of people who probably are deserving of an All-Star bid that don't make it. So I take it in stride. It's a compliment that the coaches voted me in."
But Smith is willing to sacrifice some baskets for a few more victories. The Lynx is 6-10 and trails Portland by 2 1/2 games for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. More than winning a scoring title, Smith's goal this season is to get the Lynx into the postseason.
"Is it realistic? Yeah if we get ourselves on a roll, but we have to take care of business," Smith said. "We can't depend on somebody else losing games."
On Tuesday, the Lynx ended a five-game skid by defeating the Portland Fire 73-52. Smith, who had only one field goal and five points in the first half, hit three consecutive three-pointers in the second half, spurring a 16-4 run that turned a 35-all tie into a 51-39 Lynx lead. The 2000 Olympian finished with a game-high 28 points and added six rebounds and four assists.
"Some of the games that I have played well I've struggled shooting the ball," Smith said. "And got going in the second half. I have little spurts. But I feel confident that I can score in a variety of ways, whether it's getting to the free throw line, on the block or shooting the ball. It's a confidence of knowing that you can pretty much do whatever you want and hopefully knock down some shots."
Smith has knocked down her share; hence her second invitation to the All-Star Game.