Douglas Discusses Her Decorated WNBA Career
By Tom Rietmann | July 17, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS -- Katie Douglas jokingly calls it the "million-dollar question."
But for Douglas, who was asked recently how much longer she wants to play professional basketball, the future isn't really a matter of money.
The Indiana Fever veteran views her pro career through the prism of passion for the game. And Douglas, 33 years old and in her 12th WNBA season, says she still harbors a burning desire to play and compete and win team championships.
“I kind of just go contract to contract," said Douglas, who is signed with the Fever through 2013 and has committed to play in Poland next winter. “I've been like that for a couple of years, just saying I'm going to fulfill my contracts and once they are up, we'll see.
"My body feels great. My mind feels great. I still love playing. I know there will be a time when I won't love it. When that time is, I'll let people know."
Douglas took some time last week to discuss her highly successful pro career, especially the last four-plus seasons, which have been spent in her hometown of Indianapolis.
The former Perry Meridian High School and Purdue star talked about her diet, her resilience and how she prides herself on making team contributions even at times when her fluid, left-handed jumper isn't falling. And she talked about the Fever's month-long Olympic Games break, including her plans for this week's layoff from practices and team activities.
For Douglas, like many players in the WNBA, basketball isn't a seasonal sport. It consumes virtually every month on the calendar. For 11 years, she has played in the WNBA in the spring and summer, and overseas in the fall and winter.
"I'm kind of a creature of routine and habit," said Douglas, who planned to travel this week to a home she and her husband have in Florida. "I've thought about taking a break, but when I get a break like this 10-day one, I kind of start getting antsy and kind of bored. I'm not sure if I had a (longer) break what I would do with myself."
The 6-foot Douglas still plays with the enthusiasm of a rookie. The shooting guard has started every game this season for the 10-7 Fever. She has started 336 regular-season games in her WNBA career and has played in a total of 361. She also has started and played in 49 playoff games.
Douglas has remained virtually free of serious injuries since coming out of Purdue in 2001.
"I've learned that when you become a professional, you really have to take care of your body,” she said. “I feel like I've done a really good job. I altered my diet early in my career. That has helped. A little luck helps, too."
As for the diet, Douglas said she "just went lean."
"I stopped eating red meat and pork," she continued. "I eat only chicken and turkey and throw in some seafood. I cook for myself and that's big. I don't eat out very often. I like to manage my own food and what's going in my body. I eat tons of fruit, tons of vegetables."
Douglas is averaging 15.1 points for this year's Fever club, second only to Tamika Catchings' 18.2. But there have been the ups and downs experienced by all shooters.
In Indiana's rousing 84-82 victory over New York last week, Douglas scored eight of her 20 points in the fourth quarter as she and Catchings combined for 16 of the Fever's final 18. However, two days later, Douglas struggled through a 3-of-14 shooting night from the field in a 77-74 loss to Los Angeles.
Douglas knows shooting is an inconsistent science.
"It can be fatigue," she said. “Some of it's mental, some of it's physical. Some of it's mechanics. For me, I don't really think about it, to be honest. I just kind of let things happen, let things work. I know that whenever it happens, I'll work out of it, like shooters always do."
But on nights when shots miss the mark, Douglas typically helps her team in other ways. She has grabbed 65 rebounds this season, tied for second on the team. She has 26 steals (second) and 45 assists (third).
Early in her WNBA career, which began in Orlando (2001-02) and continued in Connecticut (2003-07) before the move to Indianapolis, Douglas learned the importance of showing an array of talents.
"I watched several players and was able to know you have to be multifaceted in this league," she said. "When your shots are not falling, you need to be able to play D, you need to be able to rebound, and you need to be able to pass or set screens or do whatever it takes. Definitely, I feel that I'm a player who can do many different things out there even when you're not having a good offensive night."
Douglas' free throw shooting this season -- .873 (48-of-55) -- is the best of her pro career. Last year, she finished with a .671 mark (47-of-70), which was the worst of her career. When she played in Russia last winter, she made key adjustments.
"I came up with a new (pre-shot) routine,” she said. “I dribble five times instead of two like before. I don't spin the ball anymore, just dribble. (There is a) different foot position so I can be more comfortable."
Douglas is a four-time WNBA All-Star and a five-time pick for the All-Defensive team. She ranks among the league's all-time best in points, 3-pointers and steals. She is closing in on career milestones of 5,000 points and 1,000 assists.
Douglas was asked last week how she would like to be remembered whenever her WNBA career ends.
"Be remembered?" she said, pausing. "I think as a competitor and a winner. And hopefully, I'll be a champion. Hopefully, we will have won a championship. I think those are three things I'd want to be remembered for."