11 Questions with Tangela Smith:
Silly and Durable with World-Class Pet Traveler

February 4, 2011
With 415 games under her belt since she entered the WNBA in 1998, Tangela Smith has appeared in more games than any player in league history. She is fifth in league history in scoring, fourth in blocked shots, sixth in rebounds and 14th in steals. She signed with a Fever team this week that already boasts All-Stars Tamika Catchings, Katie Douglas and Tammy Sutton-Brown.

Smith has been a model of durability, appearing in every game of every season for nine of the past 11 years. On an evening before traveling overseas for a playing stint in Poland, Smith spent time answering questions for FeverBasketball.com.

FeverBasketball.com: You come to the Fever having already played in more games than any player in WNBA history. What are some secrets to your durability?
Tangela Smith: “I don't know if I have any secrets but I guess you could say that over the years I have really learned to listen to my body and take the necessary time to rest when I can, and eat healthy. I've also been blessed to have had wonderful trainers who really helped me keep my body in good condition.”

FB: You added a very dependable 3-point shot to your repertoire in recent years. How has this helped your game? Do you think it has helped extend your career?
TS: “Every off-season I try to work on something new that can make me more versatile and also harder to defend. I don't know when it happened but I do know that I spent more time just working on extending my shot out further and further, and I believe it really did help me to become a better all-around player. Being a post player that has some range really opens up the floor for great perimeter players to be able to do what they need to do, without having to worry about being double-teamed all the time.”

FB: What were some of the specific factors that led to your signing a contract with the Fever?
TS: “I wanted to be closer to home because I'm really big on family, but at the same time I also wanted to join a winning organization that I knew had a great chance of winning a championship. I feel like Indiana was the best fit for me.”

FB: You are from nearby Chicago and you have had some big moments in Indianapolis, even prior to the WNBA. Can you look back and identify a couple of most memorable moments in Indy?
TS: “Oh, wow, I would have to really look back!! :-) But I can remember the Big Ten Tournaments being held in Indy and winning the tournament with the University of Iowa!!! Go Hawkeyes!! I believe that’s a great memory!”

FB: What are any memories that you take from the 2009 WNBA title that you won against the Fever?
TS: “Awww, man, do I really have to answer this question? lol The best memory from 2009 was definitely hitting those two crucial 3's at the very end of the game that sealed the victory and led to me winning my second title.”

FB: Looking back to your college days at Iowa, one of your chief rivals was Purdue. You faced Stephanie White and Katie Douglas both at Purdue and again in the WNBA. Can you give us an opponents’ view of how to play and defend each of them?
TS: “You have to guard both Stephanie and Katie honest and straight up. They can both shoot really well and get to the basket. The best thing is to try to contain them because you probably will not be able to stop them from doing what they want to do. You definitely have to limit their touches.”

FB: Similarly, you played with Tammy Sutton-Brown for two years in Charlotte. Talk about Tammy as a player and a teammate.
TS: “I enjoyed playing with Tammy in Charlotte. She is an awesome person and player. She dominates on the low-block and has a very strong presence on the court. The deeper in the paint she gets, the harder it is to defend her. She also has great shot-blocking ability!!”

FB: How would your teammates describe you as a player and teammate?
TS: “Hmmmm, let me see. I have been described as an athletic, versatile post that can run the floor well, shoot from the outside and post up. I've also been described as an experienced vet and a leader. On a lighter note I can be very silly and playful.”

FB: If you were an opposing coach, how do you think you would instruct your players to guard Tangela Smith?
TS: “I would say let her shoot!!! Hahaha, naw, just kidding. Well, I really don't want to reveal any weaknesses that I may have just in case my opponents are reading!” *wink*

FB: What are any hobbies or favorite activities off the court?
TS: “Playing cards, bowling, shopping, reading. Pretty much anything that is fun. I'm the best at Phase 10 (card game)!! No one can beat me!” lol

FB: You are playing in Poland this winter and reports have it that you’re taking your dog. What type of dog do you own? What is his or her name, and will the dog be joining you in Indianapolis?
TS: “My dog's name is Jade and she is a Silky Terrier. She will definitely be going with me to Poland and Indy. She is a world class traveler!”