- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Katie Smith’s career is coming to a close
Question of the Day
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Katie Smith has always been a gritty player throughout her illustrious basketball career.
With the New York Liberty on the brink of elimination from the playoff chase, Smith wasn’t about to let the team go down quietly _ even with star Cappie Pondexter out. The league’s second all-time leading scorer put forth a vintage effort against Phoenix, scoring a season-high 17 points Tuesday night. It just wasn’t enough as New York fell 80-76 and dropped out of the postseason race.
Smith quietly announced early this summer that she would be retiring at the end of the season. The Liberty honored the 15-year veteran, who was playing her first season with the team, before New York’s final home game.
“I think what we will miss most about Katie is her drive to win and the fact she’s a fierce competitor,” WNBA President Laurel Richie said.
The Liberty put together a video tribute showing highlights of Smith’s career from her playing days in high school to her college days at Ohio State. It finished up with some of her best moments from the now-defunct ABL and WNBA.
Smith said before the game she wasn’t going to cry watching the video. She came close, but held her ground, instead joking afterward to the crowd that the biggest thing she learned watching it was that she “had a lot of different hair styles over the years.”
The team also presented her with a framed USA basketball jersey and a photo collage of her playing career.
“She’s an all-time professional,” New York Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer said. “She’s just been that hard-nosed player that takes care of her body. She’s played so many years because of that. She’s gone from prolific scorer to outstanding defender and team leader. I can’t say enough about her.”
“She’s been a pillar of this league like Lisa Leslie,” said teammate Delisha Milton-Jones, who will now be the longest tenured player in the league. “The work she put in is unparalleled. She hasn’t gotten the credit she deserves for what she’s done for this league on and off the court. She’s the consummate pro and you couldn’t have asked for a better role model.”
Laimbeer ran the first play for Smith against Phoenix, getting her a jumper from the wing. It got the 39-year-old star going as she had nine points in the first quarter. She also drew the assignment of guarding Diana Taurasi on defense. She held her longtime USA basketball teammate to just 4-of-13 shooting.
“She will be missed,” Taurasi said. “She was my mentor on USA basketball when I first started playing on the national team and has been a winner at every level.”
Smith isn’t sure what she’s going to do next season. She’s hoping to get into coaching either at the college or WNBA level.
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- EPSTEIN: All IRS roads lead to the archivist
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- Inside the Beltway: Republican posse rides out to fire Harry Reid
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- KUHNER: Will Russia-Ukraine be Europe's next war?
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq