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Lynx add Naismith Hall of Famer, 2-time WNBA champion Katie Smith to coaching staff

Lynx add Naismith Hall of Famer, 2-time WNBA champion Katie Smith to coaching staff Photo: KSTP

Updated: January 14, 2020 12:13 PM

Minnesota Lynx Head Coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve on Tuesday announced the hiring of former Lynx great and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Katie Smith as a the lead assistant coach.

"We are so happy that Katie Smith is returning to the Minnesota Lynx," said Reeve. "Katie is a Lynx legend and will once again be a tremendous asset to the Lynx organization."

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"I couldn't be more excited to be returning to the place I called home and began my WNBA career," said Smith. "I'm thrilled to be joining this successful, first-class organization. Coach Reeve has established herself as one of the all-time great coaches in our sport, and with my added experience, joining her group and what she's built in Minnesota was a no-brainer for me."

Smith served as the head coach of the New York Liberty for the 2018 and 2019 seasons after spending three years as a member of Bill Laimbeer's staff with the Liberty, where she was elevated to Associate Head Coach prior to the 2016 season.

Smith, a Logan, Ohio native, played in a total of 482 regular season games with five different teams (Minnesota, Detroit, Washington, Seattle, New York) and averaged 13.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. She helped guide the Lynx to their first-ever playoff appearance in 2003, averaging 18.2 points (on a career-high 45.7% from the field, including 39.0% from long distance), a career-high 4.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while being named to the All-WNBA First Team for the second time in her career (also 2001).

Smith was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (Springfield, Mass.) in September 2018 and was also inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame (Knoxville, Tenn.) in June 2018.

Her pro career began in the American Basketball League, where she won the league's only two championships in 1996-97 and 1997-98 as a member of the Columbus Quest. Smith racked up 7,885 career points between the ABL (1,433) and WNBA (6,452), a combined total that trails only Diana Taurasi (8,575) for the most ever in U.S. women's pro basketball. Smith sank 1,089 three-pointers in her career (183 ABL, 906 WNBA), the latter total ranking second in league history behind Taurasi (1,103).

She also won WNBA championships in 2006 and 2008 with Detroit, where she played under then-Shock-assistant Reeve, and earned Finals MVP honors in 2008. She was a seven-time All-Star (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009) and was the first player in WNBA history to win All-Star games with both conferences.

Smith was also a decorated member of the United States Women's National Team, earning gold at three straight Olympics (2000, 2004, 2008) and gold at the 1998 and 2002 FIBA World Championships for Women.

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