Katie Smith and Brian Agler’s relationship between player and coach dates back to their days as members of the Columbus Quest in the American Basketball League. The two would go on to win only two championships in the ABL. After the league folded Smith and Agler joined the WNBA as a part of the expansion team the Minnesota Lynx in 1999.
The two would be in Minnesota together until Agler was relieved of his coaching duties in 2002. After compiling a 47–67 record during his three-year stint with the team. The Lynx would name Heidi VanDerveer as interim coach for the rest of the 2002 season. Smith would play three more seasons in a Lynx uniform before being traded to the Detriot Shock on July 30, 2005, with the Lynx’s 2006 second-round pick in exchange for Chandi Jones, Stacey Thomas, and the Shock’s 2006 first-round draft pick.
The following season Smith would make history by becoming the first WNBA player to win All-Star games as a member of both the Eastern and Western Conference teams. Later that year, she would make history again by becoming the only player to win a championship in the WNBA and ABL. Two years later the Detriot Shock would win another championship and Smith was named Finals MVP.
Smith and Agler would join forces again in Seattle as members of the Seattle Storm. After a three-team with the Washington Mystics and Indiana Fever in April of 2011. Smith would spend two seasons in a Storm’s uniform before moving on New York.
Now a head coach in New York, Smith shared what she learned from her former coach. After an 87- 64 loss in Arlington Texas, on Thursday night.
“I had a blast! BA taught me a lot.First of all, his defense is what I learned most. How to guard anybody and anything. And also enjoying it. He used to kill us [with] all kind of defensive drills. Tanisha (Wright) would say the same thing.
That’s where I learned how to guard anything and everything and anybody. And it was fun and you enjoyed it. So it made me take a lot of pride in that. And then offensively, just the little things. He just challenged us. He competed every day. He was demanding, but I loved it. But I learned a lot. But defensively is where I definitely…everything I pretty much do or the mindset is what I learned from him.”
Brian Agler would respond by praising Smith for the job that she has done at the helm for the New York Liberty.
“Katie is doing a really go job with this team (Liberty). It is not an easy team they have soem great players and to balance all the talent, and try to keep everyone happy is not the easiest things to do. So, that is a challenge for her. So, we are not even talking about x’s and o’s, Katie herself was one of the great competitors I have been around. She was also one of the most versatile defenders I have been around. She takes a lot of pride on that end. I can’t evalute her teams play tonight, but I know they are disappointed considering the competitor she is, but they are right there to getting into the playoffs. If they could have got a win tonight they would be a half a game out the playoffs.
They are still there and have enough talent on their team and like most teams in the league there are things they have to get better at. She is smart enough to figure those things out, she doesn’t need me to tell her what those things are, but I know she is going to value the defensive end because that was the kind of player she was. I do know she is the type of competitor she is that Katie will work hard to get this team into the playoffs.”
The Dallas Wings face the Las Vegas Aces on Saturday at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.