Katie Smith

Katie Smith (born June 4, 1974) is an American retired professional basketball player and current coach, who played most recently in the WNBA. She was the head coach for the New York Liberty for 2018 and 2019. Smith's primary position was shooting guard, although she sometimes plays small forward or point guard. She is the all-time leading scorer in women's professional basketball, having notched over 7000 points in both her ABL and WNBA career. In 2016, she was voted one of the WNBA's "Top 20 at 20." She was named head coach of the New York Liberty in October 2017. On March 31, 2018, Smith was named to the 2018 class of inductees for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.[1]

Katie Smith
Smith coaching in 2016
Personal information
Born (1974-06-04) June 4, 1974
Logan, Ohio
Listed height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Listed weight175 lb (79 kg)
Career information
High schoolLogan (Logan, Ohio)
CollegeOhio State (1992–1996)
WNBA draft1999 / Allocated
Selected by the Minnesota Lynx
Playing career1999–2013
PositionShooting guard / Small forward
Coaching career2014–present
Career history
As player:
1996–1998Columbus Quest
1999–2005Minnesota Lynx
2001–2002Lotos Gdynia
2006–2009Detroit Shock
2009Fenerbahçe Istanbul
2010Washington Mystics
2011–2013Seattle Storm
2013New York Liberty
As coach:
2014–2017New York Liberty (assistant)
2018–2019New York Liberty
Career highlights and awards
Stats at WNBA.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
Women's Basketball Hall of Fame

Early life

Smith was born in Logan, Ohio,[2] where she spent her formative years. She began playing basketball as early as the 5th grade on a boys' team and took tap dance and ballet lessons as a youngster.

She grew up in a family of student-athletes. Her father, John, Jr., played football at Ohio University (OU), and won three varsity letters in the 1960s before becoming a dentist. Her younger brother, Tom, earned three varsity letters playing football at Ohio University as well as being a member on their track and field team. Tom won the 1996 Mid-American Conference championship in the discus throw. Her older brother, John, was a member of one of 11 University of Mount Union football teams that won the NCAA Division III title. He now is the head football coach at Bexley High School.[3]

High school career

At Logan High School she was named the national Gatorade National Player of the Year during her senior year as she guided the Lady Chieftains to the Division I Ohio Girls' Basketball state championship game. Smith was named a High School All-American by the WBCA.[4] She participated in the inaugural WBCA High School All-America Game in 1992, scoring fourteen points, and earning MVP honors.[5][6]

College career

Smith attended Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio from 1992 to 1996, and helped lead the Buckeyes to a Big Ten championship and the NCAA title game her freshman year. During her career at OSU, Smith broke the Big Ten scoring record for points scored in a career, in men's or women's basketball. She earned two Big Ten Conference player of the year awards as a senior: the conference's own award and the Chicago Tribune Silver Basketball.

Smith graduated in 1996 with a degree in zoology. On January 21, 2001, Ohio State honored her as the first female Buckeye athlete to have her number retired.[7] She was also inducted into the Ohio State Varsity O Hall of Fame in October 2001.[8]

Ohio State statistics


  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
1992–93Ohio State 3257850.4%80.8%
1993–94Ohio State 2861649.3%81.9%
1994–95Ohio State 3063945.3%84.4%
1995–96Ohio State3474543.6%87.2%

Professional career


Smith played for the Columbus Quest of the ABL, helping the team to win both League championships in its only two full seasons of existence.


In 2005, she became the first American female basketball player to score 5,000 total points in a professional career.

On August 16, 2007 she became the first professional women's basketball player to score 6,000 career points (ABL and WNBA combined). At the end of her career in 2013 Katie had a total of 7,885 professional career points, including 1,433 from the ABL and 6,452 from the WNBA.

From 1999 to 2005 Smith played for the Minnesota Lynx, where her outside shooting was the central focus of the Lynx offense. On July 30, 2005, Smith was traded to the Detroit Shock along with the Lynx's 2006 second round pick, for Chandi Jones, Stacey Thomas and the Shock's 2006 first round draft pick.

In 2006, Smith became the first WNBA player to win All Star games as a member of both the Eastern and Western Conference teams. She also became the only player to earn both ABL and WNBA championship rings when the Shock won the WNBA title, defeating the Sacramento Monarchs, the same year.

Smith was the MVP of the 2008 WNBA Finals,[10] when the Detroit Shock beat the San Antonio Silver Stars 3–0.[11]

On March 16, 2010, Katie Smith signed a contract with the Washington Mystics as a free agent.[12]

On April 29, 2011, Smith was acquired by the Seattle Storm in a three-team trade with the Washington Mystics and Indiana Fever. At the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game, she was announced as one of the Top 15 players in the fifteen-year history of the WNBA as voted by fans.[13]

On September 11, 2011 Katie Smith became the third player to score 6,000 points in her WNBA career.[14]

In 2013, Smith was picked up by the New York Liberty and announced that the 2013 season would be her last.[15]


During the 2001–02 season she played for Polish Lotos Gdynia. They reached the final of EuroLeague Women. In 2009, she played for Turkish Fenerbahçe Istanbul.

National team career

Smith was chosen to join the team which was invited to the 1993 U19 World Championship (then called the Junior World Championship). The team won five games and lost two, but that left them in seventh place. Smith was the second leading scorer for the team with 9.9 points per game[16]

Smith represented the US at the 1995 World University Games held in Fukuoka, Japan in August and September 1995. The team had a record of 5–1, securing the silver medal. The USA team won early and reached a record of 5–0 when the USA beat Yugoslavia. In the semi-final game, the USA faced Russia. The team was behind much of the first half but managed to tie the game at the half. The USA broke the game open in the second half and won 101–74. The gold medal match was against unbeaten Italy. The Italian team started strong, scoring 12 of the first 14 points of the contest. Sylvia Crawley scored eight consecutive points to end the first half, but that left the USA nine points behind. The USA took a small lead in the second half, but the team from Italy responded with a ten-point run, and won the game and the gold medal by a score of 73–65. Smith averaged 4.4 points per game during the event.[17]

Smith was invited to be a member of the Jones Cup team representing the US in 1996. She helped the team to a 9–0 record, and the gold medal in the event. Smith averaged 6.8 points per game.[18]

As a member of the USAB women's senior national team, Smith helped the US earn the gold medals in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics as well as the 1998 and 2002 World Championships.

Smith was named to the USA national team in 1998. The national team traveled to Berlin, Germany in July and August 1998 for the FIBA World Championships. The USA team won a close opening game against Japan 95–89, then won their next six games easily. In the semifinal game against Brazil, the USA team was behind as much as ten points in the first half, but the USA went on to win 93–79. The gold medal game was a rematch against Russia. In the first game, the USA team dominated almost from the beginning, but in the rematch, the team from Russia took the early lead and led much of the way. With under two minutes remaining, the USA was down by two points but the USA responded, then held on to win the gold medal 71–65. Smith averaged 9.3 points per game.[19]

WNBA career statistics

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
 TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 Bold  Career high League leader

Regular season

1999 Minnesota 302932.4.387.382.7662.
2000 Minnesota 323237.3.421.379.8692.
2001 Minnesota 323238.6.393.354.8953.
2002 Minnesota 313136.7.404.330.8243.
2003 Minnesota 343434.9.457.390.8814.
2004 Minnesota 232334.8.431.432.8993.
2005* Minnesota 232333.3.383.337.7892.
2005* Detroit 13930.3.374.327.7652.
2005 Total 363232.3.380.333.7822.
2006 Detroit 343433.4.407.366.9122.
2007 Detroit 343434.3.361.311.8473.
2008 Detroit 343433.9.383.360.8872.
2009 Detroit 272733.1.435.432.9182.
2010 Washington 333330.8.395.362.7642.
2011 Seattle 34325.1.395.395.8572.
2012 Seattle 343127.412.4.8382.
2013 New York 343026.6.374.315.8481.
Career 14 years, 4 teams 44840933.1.405.369.8592.


2003 Minnesota 3340.0.429.357.9174.
2005 Detroit 2233.5.269.20013.
2006 Detroit 101036.8.436.4.7352.
2007 Detroit 111135.7.341.342.7603.
2008 Detroit 9934.3.410.354.7584.
2010 Washington 2227.5.333.143.8334.
2011 Seattle 3025.3.174.286132.30.700.675.3
2012 Seattle 3337.3.455.4.6672.32101.679.3
Career 8 years, 4 teams 434034.9.381.345.7843.

Coaching career

Following the end of the Liberty's 2013 season, she was named one of the team's assistant coaches, replacing the departing Taj McWilliams-Franklin.[15] Smith was named associate head coach of the New York Liberty for the 2016 season. She was elevated to head coach in October 2017.[20] She was the head coach in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, but her contract was not renewed for 2020.[21]

Coaching record

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L WL% Finish PG PW PL PWL% Result
NYL 2018 34727.2065th in Eastern Missed Playoffs
NYL 2019 341024.2945th in Eastern Missed Playoffs
Career 681751.250000


  1. "Katie Smith, Tina Thompson Announced as Members of Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2018". WNBA.com. 31 March 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  2. "CBS Sports WNBA". CBS Broadcasting Inc. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
  3. Miller, Melissa (8 Sep 2008). "John Smith, head coach Bexley High School". ThisWeek: Community News. ThisWeek.
  4. "Past WBCA HS Coaches' All-America Teams". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Archived from the original on 2014-07-15. Retrieved 1 Jul 2014.
  5. "WBCA High School All-America Game Box Scores". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Archived from the original on 2014-07-15. Retrieved 29 Jun 2014.
  6. "WBCA High School All-America Game Team MVP's". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Archived from the original on 2014-07-15. Retrieved 29 Jun 2014.
  7. "WBK: Former Buckeye Tracey Hall to Have Number 44 Jersey Retired Feb. 15". Retrieved 2009-06-22.
  8. "Women's Varsity "O" Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2009-06-22.
  9. "Ohio State Media Guide" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  10. "Katie Smith Bio". WNBA.com. Archived from the original on 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  11. http://www.wnba.com/playoffs2008/smith_mvp_081005.html
  12. http://www.wnba.com/mystics/news/katie_smith_signs_with_mystics_2010_03_16.html
  13. http://www.wnba.com/allstar/2011/top15_072311.html
  14. https://sports.yahoo.com/wnba/news?slug=ycn-9133813
  15. Voepel, Mechelle (19 November 2013). "Katie Smith joins Liberty as assistant". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  16. "Third FIBA Women's U19/Junior World Championship -- 1993". USA Basketball. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  17. "Seventeenth World University Games -- 1993". USA Basketball. Archived from the original on 7 September 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  18. "1996 Women's R. William Jones Cup". USA Basketball. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on 7 September 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  19. "Thirteenth World Championship For Women -- 1998". USA Basketball. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  20. "New York Liberty assistant Katie Smith promoted to top job". Associated Press. October 16, 2017.
  21. "New York Liberty Announce Head Coach Katie Smith's Contract Not Renewed". OurSports Central. October 16, 2019.
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