Tangela Smith Anxious to Get Acquainted with New Home, Teammates

Smith played her last four seasons with the Phoenix Mercury, winning two championships in the process
David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images

The recent snow storm to sweep across the country affected a total of 29 states, with conditions ranging from heavy snow and ice to…heavier snow and ice. One of those states in the path of the blizzard was Indiana, which as of Feb. 2, is the new home for Tangela Smith.

Smith, who holds the WNBA record for most career games played with a total of 415, is not exactly a stranger to such conditions. It’s not like a Chicago native who played her college days in Iowa needs a lesson in snowfall. Heck, Smith could probably write a book on it, especially given her additional overseas seasons in Russia, Poland and Italy. But for the past four years she sported a Mercury jersey, and manning a snow blower isn’t exactly at the top of many people’s to-do list in Phoenix.

“That was my first time using it, I didn’t know what to do,” she laughed. “My step-father had to tell me. I had to actually pull the thing like a lawnmower. I couldn’t get it started at first.”

Smith brings a versatile inside-out game that she expects will mesh well with Indiana’s system, one that is often perceived as having a defense-first mentality. Having played against them a number of times, Smith admits that perception is not always reality.

Home Sweet Home
Photo Credit: Tangela Smith
“People think of Phoenix as always running and running and running, but every time we played Indiana we were tired because they run too,” she said. “I like that aspect of it because they get up and down the court, and I like to run.”

Although Smith has just recently packed her bags and three-year-old dog Jade for a trip to Poland to play with CCC Polkowice, Indiana is where her WNBA career will take an ironic turn. Two years ago, the Mercury and Fever faced off in an exciting five-game series in which Phoenix claimed its second franchise championship. Players like Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas, who were once on the opposing end of the court, will now line up beside Smith when the 2011 seasons tips off.

“I’m very, very excited. I can’t wait until the season starts,” said Smith. “I’ve always wanted to play with Tamika Catchings. She’s like, the greatest basketball player. She has so much passion and heart.”

Oddly enough, this isn't the first time the two will play together. Catchings and Smith played on AAU teams in the Chicago area during high school, and even then Smith remembers her new teammate making a lasting impression.

“She was always just a hard worker,” recalled Smith. “Just playing 100 percent all the time.”

The two will reunite once again when Indiana’s 2011 season tips off on Saturday, June 4, as the Fever plays host to the Chicago Sky.

Unless the Indiana weather somehow defies the laws of nature at that time, Smith can rest easy and pack away that dreaded snow blower.