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Katie Smith hit the title-clinching shot for Detroit.
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
By Brian Martin, WNBA.com
Katie Smith brings a trophy home for Detroit. Should we have expected anything different?
The last time Smith was in her Shock uniform, she led Detroit to a sweep of the San Antonio Silver Stars in the 2008 WNBA Finals, earning MVP honors along the way.
This time, Smith hit the half-court shot that proved to be with the title clincher for Team Detroit in the Haier Shooting Stars competition to kick off NBA All-Star Saturday Night.
However, Detroit didn't collect the trophy without surviving a scare from the home team from Phoenix, who had a chance to post a pefect round after hitting their first five shots of the final round.
In the end, it always comes down to the half-court shot and that proved to be Phoenix's downfall. They needed 22 attempts to hit the half-court shot, while Smith hit it on Detroit's seventh attempt. When Dan Majerle finally hit the half-court shot for Phoenix, the clock read 1:15, which was nearly 17 seconds slower than Detroit's winning time of 58.4 seconds.
"This was hard. We had to sweat this one out," Smith said after the competition, her first time in the event. "It was a blast to be here with these guys and represent Detroit."
Team Detroit, which consisted of Smith, Bill Laimbeer and Aaron Afflalo, advanced to the finals by putting up the second fastest time in the first round at 59.3 seconds. Phoenix, with Tangela Smith, Majerle and Leandro Barbosa, had the best time of the opening round, posting a 53.3 second mark, but they couldn't match it when it counted.
"We were so close, but man, that half-court shot," Tangela Smith said after the event. "It would have been great if we could have hit one of those half-court shots we took, but you have to give Detroit their props, they did a good job and Katie hit a great shot. She's a shooter and that's what shooters do."
One of the keys to Detroit's win was a move made by Laimbeer when he moved himself to take the shots at stations one and four and allowed Smith to take the the 3-pointer at station three.
"I wasn't going to get in the way of the greatest 3-point shooter in the history of womens' basketball," he said. "For Katie, this is a lot of hardware. She's collecting a lot with the gold medal, the WNBA championship and MVP and now she has another one to add to it."
But Katie isn't going to be able to take the trophy with her when she leaves Phoenix this weekend.
"I'm going to Turkey, so I'm not taking it," she said with a laugh.
She may not take the trophy with her, but there is no doubt that this one belongs to Katie Smith.