Q&A: Katie Douglas

Douglas uses international play to improve her game
May 30, 2012

While born and raised in Indianapolis, Katie Douglas spends over half the year playing basketball internationally. After returning from Russia this year and scoring 21 points to help the Fever to a season-opening win over the Atlanta Dream, Douglas sat down to talk with FeverBasketball.comís Marissa Johnson.

FeverBasketball.com: Why do you and the majority of WNBA players play basketball internationally during the off-season?

Katie Douglas: ďThere are a couple of reasons; to fine tune your game, to stay in shape, to get better and to play against the worldís best. We have a great league over here with the WNBA, but the off-season is a very long time. Playing over there is about practicing and getting in games. Itís also just a great experience on and off the court and helps you mature as a player and as a person.Ē

FB: What is the biggest difference between playing in the WNBA and playing internationally?

KD: ďI think itís hard to compare the two. But if I had to pick something, I would say that over there itís about preparation. We prepare a lot more. We donít have a compressed schedule; the season is six to seven months long. It becomes more about tactic. Itís a lot about thinking through the game. The games are faster and more physical. They get the ball in like they do in soccer, timeouts are short, the refs let you get up and down the court and the games are always over in 90 minutes.Ē

FB: How do you adjust going between the two, especially jumping right into the preseason, after returning from Russia this year?

KD: ďThat first week youíre jet-lagged, trying to just push yourself through it, so there is definitely an adjustment period. The biggest thing is staying focused. Overseas a lot of times you are waiting for translators to tell you whatís going on, because practices are in foreign languages. Sometimes when I first get back, I have to tell myself I understand whatís going on and need to focus. So it takes a little bit to get back in sync, but Iíve been here for so long that it just takes a few days, and then Iím back.Ē

FB: Do you immerse yourself in the culture, wherever you may be playing?

KD: ďAbsolutely. I definitely try to. I think my first years in Greece, I was a little shy and reserved. I wanted to go to American restaurants and be around American people. But, I got out of that real quick after the first few months. Every time I go somewhere new I try to immerse myself in that culture, try to speak a few words of the language and learn how they do things because itís different in every country. I am definitely big on learning and taking advantage of living outside of the United States. ď

FB: Youíve played in Greece, Spain, Turkey and Russia. Do you have a favorite place?

KD: ďMy favorite place is Athens, Greece. Itís my second home, my home away from America. Itís a beautiful country and somewhere Iím always happy to go home to.Ē

FB: Playing all year long can take a toll on your body, so how do you stay in basketball form without getting burnt out?

KD: ďWhen I have an off-day, I take it. This will be my 12th year playing back-to-back-to-back. †When I was younger I used to be in the gym every day trying to get better, but now I take the day off. Anytime I get off, I take off. Thatís really my secret. I think mental fatigue is a big part of it. You get mentally tired, so sometimes I try and get as far away from the game as possible. I also just try and surround myself with a good group of people that keep me fresh and keep me positive. Iím really blessed that Iíve been able to stay healthy and play this long.Ē

FB: Going into your 12th season, you are arguably in the best shape of your career. How are you able to maintain and improve every year?
KD: ďThe credit definitely goes to playing overseas. I was playing in Russia this year and I have learned to cook for myself and eat healthier, which is really important for me. To play year round, the diet and lifestyle you maintain is so important.Ē

FB: How will the fact that you played a lot of point-guard in Russia this past year, impact your game here?

KD: ďIt was just out of necessity. We had a lot of injuries to our point guard, and by the end of the season I was handling the ball more. Itís something that Iíve done on and off my whole life; collegiately and professionally. Itís something different but that I donít mind doing. I think it just helps my game. I got more comfortable handling the ball a lot and when situations arise this summer, Iíll be ready for that.Ē

FB: Will your role on the court change at all as a result of Tamika Catchingsí move to the four position?

KD: ďItís changed a little bit. Tamika and I had such chemistry with both of us on the wings, so now that sheís running different spots on the floor we just have to generate a different kind of chemistry. Now weíre going to be in a lot of things together, where before we were setting things up for each other. We have to set each other up in different ways. Itís going to take some time for us to find our spots and where each other will be.Ē

FB: What is it about this team that makes it an early Eastern Conference favorite?

KD: ďI donít know that we should be Eastern Conference favorites. Atlanta is the defending champion and with the early predictions we donít pay too much attention anyway. There is a long road before we get there. We got off to the right start, but we have a long journey ahead of us. But, we do know what we are and what weíre about.Ē