Smith Receives Hall Of Fame Nod

By Jeff Rapp, February 13th, 2018

Even with Kelsey Mitchell’s current assault on the record books and becoming a career 3,000-point scorer, many fans of Ohio State women’s basketball still consider Katie Smith to be the program’s GOAT – greatest of all-time.

A versatile, athletic and tough 5-11 guard, Smith was a phenom when she arrived to campus from Logan, Ohio, in 1992 and left as a legend after helping to revolutionize the sport, taking the Buckeyes to the 1993 NCAA championship game and setting a bevy of program records and conference records.

After dominating the Big Ten in the mid-1990s, Smith went on to a lengthy and fulfilling career which saw her becoming the highest scoring player in the history of women’s professional basketball.

With all that in mind, it is no surprise that Smith just was named a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2018 class.

She, along with six other former players and coaches, were announced as this year’s inductees during halftime of Monday’s Louisville-Connecticut game, which was broadcast nationally on ESPN2. Smith is the first member of the Hall from Ohio State.

Joining her in the 2018 class are Ceal Barry (coach), Rose Marie Battaglia (veteran, contributor), Chris Dailey (contributor, assistant coach), Mickie DeMoss (contributor, assistant coach), Chamique Holdsclaw (player) and Tina Thompson (player).

In addition, the Hall will recognize the Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL) for its contributions to the game with a display at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, entitled “Trailblazers of the Game.” The WBL will join eight other teams and organizations that have been so recognized.

Smith is very familiar with the different professional leagues. She played for two seasons with the Columbus Quest and led that organization to a pair of titles in the only two years of existence of the American Basketball League (ABL).

She played 15 seasons in the WNBA, winning two championships with the Detroit Shock and becoming the league’s fifth-leading scorer all-time with 6,452 points. She was named 2008 WNBA Finals MVP.

Smith also won three Olympic gold medals as a member of Team USA in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

Highly accomplished at all levels of basketball, Smith is still tied to the game she loves. After retiring from her playing career in 2013, she became an assistant coach for former Detroit Pistons center Bill Laimbeer with the WNBA’s New York Liberty. This past offseason, she was promoted to head coach.

The entire 2018 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame class will be recognized during the Final Four, which will be held at Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus on March 30 and April 1.

Smith, no doubt, will receive the most rousing applause of all the inductees-to-be.

She was an All-American at Ohio in 1993 and ’96 and also was named Big Ten Player of the Year following her senior season in scarlet and gray. She left school as the conference’s all-time leading scorer, a mark Mitchell now holds.

Smith was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001. She also is a member of the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.

“Unbelievable player, one of the best to ever do it; one of the great competitors,” current Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said. “You watch her play, she’s so competitive. I think that’s what really separated her from a lot of people throughout the history of the game. (She) means a lot to women’s basketball, but is unbelievably impactful to Ohio State.”

The 2018 Induction will mark the 20th anniversary of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, which held its grand opening and inaugural induction in 1999. The Class of 2018 will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame receiving their coveted Eastman Trophy and Baron Championship Induction Ring on June 9 in Knoxville, Tenn.

With the induction of the Class of 2018, the Hall of Fame has honored 164 inductees.