Liberty Sign Katie Smith
How did you find your way to the New York Liberty?
I was a free agent and I had a good connection with Bill Laimbeer and Kristin Bernert from all of our past ties to the Detroit Shock. My experience with them in Detroit was a positive one. I also am excited to play with players I know and have played with before. Kara Braxton, Plenette Pierson and I played together in Detroit. Iíve played with Cappie Pondexter on USA teams. The familiarity helped my decision.
What do you believe you can bring to the team?
Toughness. I can knock down shots. I will bring a bit of everything from offense to defense. Iím just going to go out there and compete and play hard. Iíll be focusing on shooting, complementing others and setting good screens.
As a veteran and a champion, what does it take to win a championship?
It takes teamwork and toughness. That toughness is both mental and physical. Championship teams might have a ďgo-toĒ player but the other players have to be able to ďget theirs,Ē too. In the playoffs the game becomes a half court game. You have to be able to get your own shot. Defensively you have to guard one on one, but you also have to have each othersí back.
From what I understand, this may be your final season as a player in the WNBA. Are you sure?
(Laughs) Iím pretty positive. Iím getting up there in life. The goal is obviously playoffs and beyond. I want this final season to be a competitive one. I want to play with love, give my all, and have fun.
What moment in your career are you proudest of?
There are too many moments to point out just one. What I enjoy are the experiences. I enjoy the traveling we do to different places on road trips. I love the relationships I built with teammates who became like family and friends. I will always remember that.
You played for Bill Laimbeer in Detroit and won two championships in 2006 and 2008 with him. What can you expect from Laimbeer?
Heís going to be about defense. He will challenge everyone to lock down on defense individually and as a team. Heís the type of coach to make players work for what they get and will spread toughness to the squad. Offensively, coach Laimbeer wants to move the ball around and get people the shots they need.
Is coach Laimbeerís tough attitude contagious?
Yes. In practice he is no nonsense; heís a real straight shooter. He is as competitive as a player on the court- he wants to win. That is easy to pick up on. Plus we have a couple players that already have some edge to them. I fit right in with how he coaches and what he expects from us. Iím comfortable with that.
How can you and Cappie Pondexter work together on the court?
It will start with Cappie. But I will hopefully be ready to knock down the shots she creates for her teammates when the other team is paying attention to her. We have to make her life easier by hitting shots. We also have to get her the ball by pushing the ball and setting screens. We have to be options and set her up.
What are you up to right now?
I am currently in Ohio where I live and work as a graduate assistant for the Ohio State womenís basketball team. Iím staying in shape by playing pickup with the guys at the rec center and working out smart without wrecking myself. When Iím not working out or coaching the team, I am taking classes. Iím in my second year of graduate school. Iím studying to be a registered dietician. Iím also interested in becoming a coach. Iím starting to get ready to take that jump to the other side. That will be hard; Iíve been playing all my life so moving into a new phase is nerve-wracking but also exciting.
You can play many positions on the court from point guard to post. Where are you most comfortable?
Any of them, depends on whatís needed. I had fun running the point guard role in Detroit. I am also happy to play inside against a smaller guard. Iím versatile, my attitude is: put me wherever you need me.
How familiar are you with New York? What is the first thing you will do in the Big Apple?
Iím not that familiar at all. I havenít spent a long period of time in New York. Iíve never been to a Broadway play. Iím not sure what I will do first but I do love new restaurants. Iím going to try new places and enjoy everything this city has to offer this summer. Overall Iím extremely excited to come out to New York and be with the New York Liberty.