Tangela Smith is entering her ninth WNBA season and second with the Sting in 2006. After spending her first seven seasons with Sacramento, the 6-4 forward joined Charlotte via a trade with the Monarchs on March 3, 2005, and instantly stepped in as the Sting's top offensive threat last year.
In her first 31 games in Charlotte, she started and played in 31 games while leading the team with 13.6 points and 34.3 minutes. Smith also proved to be a versatile threat for the Sting, averaging 1.65 steals, 1.3 assists and 1.03 blocks. Still, for Smith it's not the numbers that show up in her statistics that matter most -- it's the ones that show up in the win-loss column, and she knows the Sting have to improve on their 6-28 showing from a year ago.
Smith spent part of her offseason playing in Korea, but returned home early to get extra work in with Head Coach Muggsy Bogues and teammates Allison Feaster and Helen Darling. Like the rest of the Sting, Smith is expecting better things in Charlotte in 2006 as the Sting enter their 10th anniversary season.
Smith stopped by CharlotteSting.com on Wednesday, and chatted live with fans. Check out what Tangela had to say about the incoming rookies, Muggsy and much more.
jo - san francisco: Just being back from Korea are you feeling at the top of your game?
Tangela Smith: Actually, I'm getting there. I came back from Korea a little early, because of a slight injury. It's nothing serious, but I'm getting right back into the flow and feeling good.
Christina portsmouth: how do you like playing with the new rookies Monique and Tye'sha? Are you enjoying yourself in the WNBA? What’s its like in practice?
Tangela Smith: I love it, they challenge us every day. Mo is a great athlete and Tye is a terrific competitor. We really go at it. Plus, they are open to our help. We're having great practices and everything is going great. Also our other rookie is doing well and all three have great attitudes.
Paul (NC): Tell us what the experience was like playing in Korea?
Tangela Smith: It was interesting, I was the only American on our team, the only foreigner. I also don't speak the language, so I had a translator with me the whole team. My teammates were great and I really enjoyed it. Overall it was interesting and fun.
Matt (Sandusky, OH): Since his arrival late last season, what has head coach Muggsy Bogues brought to the team in order to lead the Sting to the playoffs this season?
Tangela Smith: Muggsy is a great coach. He is a player-coach who knows what we're going through and understands us from that aspect of the game. As a point guard who pushed the ball a lot, he has us doing that now. He is a great motivator and he always pushes us to do our best.
How do you think the 24-second clock will affect you as a WNBA player? Will it be more difficult to use your strengths or bring out any weaknesses to a greater extent?
Tangela Smith: That's a good question. It fits right into what Muggsy wants to do. Since it's a shorter clock, we need to get out and put up shots inside those 24 seconds. That has been an adjustment for me, but I'm excited about making personal adjustments to help us win as a team.
Nina : In your 8 plus years in the league how has the game changed?
Tangela Smith: OK. It's grown every year. The players coming in each year, are better and better. And when you account for the great players already in the league… it makes for a big mix. The biggest difference is that the players coming in are better and better every year, making us a better, more exciting, more competitive league...every season.
Melania (Huntersville): What do you like best about living in Charlotte?
Tangela Smith: The sweet tea! Ha-ha (Laughing). I love the Southern atmosphere, everyone has a smile on their face and says Hello and Goodbye to everybody else. I'm from Chicago, but I have family from the South and I've always loved that about the South and I'm really enjoying it now in Charlotte.
Nicole (CA): How do you feel about Latoya Bonds as a contributor? Do you feel that she deserves more mention than she gets in light of some of the other rookies?
Tangela Smith: Yes I do, absolutely. She will be the sleeper this year. Nobody knows about her, although I'm telling everybody now! People better really watch out for her, she is the sleeper this year. Once we start, she will be getting lots more attention.
Kelly (Charlotte): With the WNBA going into it's 10th year, what impact do you think the league has had?
Tangela Smith: Like I said before, we are growing every year and that means fans too. If you look at college, where girls like Candace Parker are bringing the game to a new level. And we have Lisa Leslie in the WNBA, getting that first dunk. Those are big moments and things are really moving forward for us and that helps all young girls who love the game. We are really moving forward.
M-delle,Rosedale: What do you do while you aren't playing?
Tangela Smith: I love to have fun. We go bowling and to movies. Anything that has to do with fun. Our team hangs out together all the time, we are very close. We'll get together and have a barbecue. It's all about fun. Also I have a new hobby, I like to go fishing now! Ha-ha (Laughing).
Tiffany(Chicago): Hey Tan! This is your #1 fan. First, I would like say that you are an amazing player to watch. I love watching you play. What are your expectations this year with the sting. How will it feel to finally come back home? I can’t wait to see you. Thanks!
Tangela Smith: Hi Tiffany! I think I know who that is! This is my ninth year in the league and each year I try to improve. I hope to move back to the three-point line and make an impact there and also improve my defensive ability. I've never made an All-Star team and that would be a great goal to achieve, but most importantly I want to do whatever I can to help our team win games, make the playoffs and challenge for the championship.
Tangela Smith: Thanks to all the fans who logged on and asked questions. I hope you'll continue to support the WNBA and the Charlotte Sting. Thanks again.