The last time the Indiana Fever saw Indianapolis native Katie Douglas, they were battling her Connecticut Sun in one of the most competitive WNBA playoff series in league history — a series the Fever won despite Douglas’ 27 points in the deciding game.
Indiana met up with Douglas once again Tuesday afternoon. This time, though, she came to Conseco Fieldhouse with a Fever jersey in hand. In a blockbuster trade, Indiana acquired the shooting guard from Connecticut in exchange for starting forward Tamika Whitmore and the 12th pick in the 2008 WNBA draft.
“Last year, after Indiana beat us, I came back to Indianapolis and I can’t tell you how many people asked me when I was going to come play for the Fever,” Douglas said.
Douglas began her basketball career at Perry Meridian where she was honored as an Indiana All-Star her senior year. She moved on to West Lafayette, helping Purdue win the 1999 national championship and leading them back to the championship game in 2001, where they would fall to in-state rivals Notre Dame 68-66. From there she was drafted 10th in the WNBA draft by the Orlando Miracle and averaged seven ppg her rookie season.
Two years later the Orlando franchise relocated to Connecticut and became the Sun. In 2004 the Sun made the first of two consecutive WNBA Finals appearances, losing first to the Seattle Storm and then to the Sacramento Monarchs in 2005. In 2006, Douglas earned her first spot in the league’s All-Star game and walked away as the game’s MVP. Her growth into a league superstar continued in 2007 as she posted career bests in scoring (17.3), rebounds (4.8), assists (3.7) and steals (1.9).
“The thing with Katie is, it’s not that No. 1 we’re getting a hometown player. No. 1 is we’re getting one of the league’s great guards,” head coach Lin Dunn said, who recruited Douglas to Purdue before leaving to coach in the now defunct American Basketball League in 1996. “It’s a great day for all the true Hoosiers everywhere who have followed Katie just as I have through high school and college and into the WNBA.”
Dunn praised the many skills Douglas will bring to the team. “She can score. She can create for others. And she is a wonderful, tremendous defender. I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about Tully Bevilaqua, Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas playing together.” Over the years, the Fever have found many talented teammates for Catchings, but never such a threat as Douglas. The new partnership between Catchings and Douglas could become such an unstoppable tandem they might elevate each other to league MVP status. “Douglas and Catchings are two names you are going to hear quite a bit,” General Manager Kelly Krauskopf said.
Like many WNBA players, Douglas has spent the winter playing professionally overseas.
She said when the news of the trade came, “It didn’t really sink in until I landed late last night from Spain and got here and said, ‘Man, this is really going to happen.’
“I feel extremely blessed to be a part of this organization,” Douglas said. “It’s an exciting day for me as well as for them. I look forward to playing with coach Dunn finally. I remember her recruiting me when I was a little 16-year-old from Perry Meridian. I look forward to working with her and I feel like this is one of the elite franchises in the WNBA. And I think we can do a lot of things.”