Have You Seen Her? Katie Douglas

A reigning three-time member of the WNBA's All-Defensive First Team, Katie Douglas is one of the WNBA's fiercest competitors. After a 5-10 start to her Sun's 2007 season, Douglas led her squad back into playoff position, but Connecticut fell to Indiana in the first round of the playoffs. And Douglas is set to enter her eighth WNBA season still in search of that elusive first title.

But this intense Indiana native isn't giving up yet. The former Purdue star sat down recently with WNBA.com to discuss her motivation that keeps her going out there, giving her best.

Q. So, Katie, when did you start playing basketball?

A. "I started playing at six or seven. Growing up in Indiana, basketball is everything. I had older brothers who were involved in sports. And everyone in Indiana has a basketball hoop in their driveway or some other means to play, so it was what was instilled in me when I was growing up."

Q. When did you start playing competitively?

A. "We were about seven when we started leagues and stuff. And then obviously going to middle school, I didn't miss a beat. I didn't only play basketball, I played volleyball and softball up until high school when I decided I should stick with basketball and put all my energy and effort into that. I knew that I wanted to try and obtain a college scholarship. But I played since I was a young age. I got involved in AAU and all those great programs in Indiana. That is probably a huge reason why I am here today."

Q. Were there any people you saw as major influences in your life in a basketball sense while you were growing up?

A. "Obviously my parents were huge in getting me to and from different games and tournaments. They always encouraged me and never put pressure on me. It was always fun when I was growing up. It was never 'Katie, you have to play well because so and so is watching.' They were extremely proud but humble at the same time. I definitely learned from them and took most of my values from them.

"Obviously there were a couple coaches who pushed me to bring my game up each and every year and make me a better player. There have been a lot of people along the way. It definitely has not been a one-woman show by any means."

Q. Was there ever a time when you considered giving up basketball?

A. "Yes, there was one distinct time. I was a junior in college. I had already lost my father to pancreatic cancer when I was 18 and a senior in high school, and then my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer. It was just one of those things… I didn't feel like I could leave my family at that point. After my mom passed away my junior year, I felt like I wasn't going to make it through my senior year. I just felt like I needed to be home, but obviously my family felt otherwise and persuaded me to continue and to go back and fight and finish out my senior year. There were definitely a couple months where I thought maybe I wouldn't play my senior year. I didn't feel I had that kind of passion anymore."

Q. How do you keep that necessary passion from season to season?

A. "When you can't keep it, you have to retire and give it up. But I found ways to keep it. I love to challenge myself to become a better player each and every year. I think that is where a lot of my passion, dedication and motivation drives from… maybe being a little bit of a perfectionist and just always trying to be better. Like I said, if I ever get to a point where I don't have that motivation and passion, I definitely know it will be time to give it up."

Q. So what is it that makes you get out of bed in the morning to go for a run or to the gym to work out?

A. "I know there is an extreme amount of competition for my job. That makes me get up when I am tired or sore… or when I just don't feel like doing it, because I know that there is somebody out there trying to take my job. That is how competitive it is. When there are only 13-14 teams, there are so many good players without jobs, so you definitely have to be on top of your game. So that definitely motivates me, when I think about what other people are doing."

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