Dishin & Swishin 6/21/12 podcast: Katie Smith helping Seattle move up in the standings, Mike Thibault has the Sun on top

Katie Smith

Welcome to another Dishin & Swishin podcast!

Katie Smith has accumulated over 6,000 points and with two on Friday will have 2,500 rebounds. She holds thee record for the most three-pointers in WNBA history, and is second in the league in minutes played. Her favorite career statistic, however, is the two championships she won with the Detroit Shock, along with her two ABL championships with the Columbus Quest.

The Seattle Storm struggled out of the gate this season, winning only three of their first ten games. Two of those games were at home. The Storm has played Los Angeles and Minnesota three times, not exactly a great schedule for a team without their biggest star (Lauren Jackson) and trying to adjust to new important contributors (Ann Wauters, Tina Thompson and Shekinna Stricklen).

However the Storm has won two in a row, and in both of those games Smith, inserted in the starting lineup after the team dropped their first three, has played more than 30 minutes. Not terribly surprising that a player with the versatility, defensive intensity and offensive skills of Smith, despite her shall we say “veteran status,” would be an important part of the success.

Mike Thibault. Photo: Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images.

Smith returns to Dishin & Swishin this week, and discussed the Storm; the adjustments being made throughout the early part of the season; the evolution of the league; helping out at Ohio State this past season with guards Samantha Prahalis and Tayler Hill; the ABL; the Minnesota Lynx past and present; the Detroit Shock and more. Always open and honest, one of the greatest in women’s basketball history is a great listen.

While Seattle is attempting to get into playoff position after a slow start, the Connecticut Sun are on top of the Eastern Conference at 9-2, with an undefeated 8-0 conference record. The Sun schedule has been the inverse of Seattle’s, with only three games away from Mohegan Sun thus far, but coach Mike Thibault’s team has taken care of business at home.

The franchise is celebrating its tenth season in Connecticut and Thibault is the only coach they have ever had. He is the longest tenured coach in the WNBA today. A developer of talent from his days in men’s basketball, he has the patience and confidence in his younger players to allow them opportunities to play themselves into or out of roles with the team.

Over the years that includes players like Le’Coe Willingham, Jessica Brungo, and Candice Futrell, and today’s group, including Kalana Greene, Danielle McCray, and Allison Hightower. It is those players contributing alongside stars Tina Charles, Asjha Jones and Kara Lawson that have the Sun playing at such a high level.

Prior to Tuesday’s game versus Indiana, Thibault sat down and discussed the 2012 Connecticut Sun and his decision to forego roster changes coming into the season, the decision to move Renee Montgomery to sixth man status from the starting lineup, the Detroit Shock and the lack of rivalries in the league today, the growth and changes in the WNBA over his ten-year career, and some of the difficulties lying ahead for his team.

One veteran player, one veteran coach. Both have seen a lot, both have won and lost. Their perspectives are different, but in many ways the same.

Enjoy this week’s podcast.

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