Smith a game-time decision
Smith is a game-time decision for tonight’s game against the Phoenix Mercury, head coach Rick Mahorn said following the team’s morning shootaround Tuesday. She had played in a franchise-record 142 consecutive games before back pain forced her to miss Saturday’s overtime defeat at San Antonio.
Smith, who had never missed a game since joining the Detroit Shock in July 2005, said Monday she has felt some numbness in her legs as a result of the back pain.
“She didn’t play last game, we had a chance to win,” Mahorn said. The Shock led 79-77 until Silver Stars forward Sophia Young’s jumper tied the game with 2.3 seconds left in regulation. “We would love to have Katie, but treating injuries are the priority for the players if they’re hurting.”
Smith - who accounts for nearly half of Detroit’s 3-pointer production by herself (57 of 120) - would be sorely missed against Phoenix, the WNBA’s highest scoring offense. Smith had 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc, in a 97-90 overtime loss at Phoenix July 18.
The Mercury have been averaging 91.0 points over their last 10 games, 11 more than the Shock (79.4).
If Smith can not play, expect Nikki Teasley, who will sign a contract for the remainder of the season Tuesday morning, to get her second start after minimal action in her first four games.
“I’ve started my whole career so I didn’t feel it was that much pressure to go in and do what I’ve done my whole career,” said Teasley, a two-time All-Star and onetime league assists leader. “It’s very unfortunate we have a player hurting like Katie who means so much to the team, but that’s why we’re a team.”
Teasley hit two 3-pointers and had a game-high five assists in the first half Saturday as the Shock built a 47-35 halftime lead. The Shock shot 50 percent from the floor and had 14 assists on 18 field goals. In the second half, however, Teasley had just two points and no assists after halftime as the Silver Stars rallied.