Top 20: Katie Douglas, no. 20
The definitive ranking of the WNBA’s best players.
by Ben York / @bjyork
Some of you won’t care, and we’re about 99 percent positive we’ll get a few of the traditional “what is the WNBA?” comments we usually do. But this is long overdue – SLAMonline’s first ever in-depth player rankings for the WNBA.
Why just the top 20 and not the top 50? Simple. There are 18 fewer teams in the WNBA than the NBA and roster sizes are limited to 11 players. Thus, the NBA has hundreds of more players than the WNBA does – and this list needs and deserves to be competitive.
This list is based solely on projected performance in the 2011 season. Traditional player statistics are taken into account but being a successful and effective player in The W is so much more than that. It’s what each player means to the team – in terms of responsibility, leadership, management and all-around game.
We know you’ll see players you think should be on the list but aren’t. Conversely, you’ll also see players on the list that you’ll vehemently disagree with. Maybe you agree with the entire top 20. Just be sure to let us know in the comment section. – Ed.
No. 20 – Katie Douglas
“Acquiring Katie Douglas is another big milestone for our franchise,” said Indiana Fever Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf in 2008. Fever fans certainly agree and can attest to the immense impact she’s made to Indiana in just three years.
Douglas was picked up to help Tamika Catchings get the Fever to the next level – the WNBA Finals. And since adding Katie Douglas, the Fever has made it to the conference semi-finals twice and the WNBA Finals once (in 2009).
In fact, in Game 1 of the 2009 WNBA Finals in Phoenix, Douglas showed exactly why the Fever traded for her. A brilliant performance on the biggest of stages, Douglas scored 30 points on 12-21 shooting including four 3-pt field goals in the Fever’s overtime loss to the Mercury, 120-116. The game was an instant classic and widely regarded as one of the greatest WNBA Finals games of all-time.
But more than her scoring, it was her aggressiveness on the defensive end that rallied the Fever to force overtime – and this type of all-around play isn’t anything new to those who have been following Douglas since her days in college at Purdue helping lead the Boilermakers to a NCAA Women’s Division I Championship in 1999.
Douglas can do a little bit of everything on the court, and it usually depends on what head coach Lin Dunn asks of her. Alongside teammate and fellow all-star Tamika Catchings, they comprise a ruthless defensive duo that causes teams fits on a nightly basis.
Her 3-pt shooting has always been sick with a career average of 36 percent beyond the arc to accompany her career 42 percent shooting percentage. She’s been a member of the all-defensive team four times, an all-star four times, and ranks 5th all-time in 3-pt field goals made.
When she’s hot, there’s no one in the league that can stop her. She hit three or more 3-pt FG’s in 12 games in 2010. That’s pretty amazing since she only averaged about 11 shot attempts per game. This unselfish nature has allowed Douglas to be a fan-favorite in Indiana and the perfect fit for Lin Dunn’s system.
As long as she and Tamika Catchings are together in Indiana, the Fever is a legitimate threat in the East.