YPSILANTI, Mich. – Winning a gold medal in Beijing, a WNBA championship and the league finals MVP award.
How does it feel, Katie Smith?
“I mean, it’s been OK,” she said to laughter in the interview room Sunday after the forward led the Detroit Shock to their third WNBA crown in six seasons.
The 76-60 win completed a three-game sweep of the San Antonio Silver Stars and came less than two months after the 34-year-old started for the gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic team.
“It’s been fun. It’s just been a lot of fun,” she said.
Smith, who scored a team-high 18 points, was lifted from the game with time running out as coach Bill Laimbeer emptied his bench to the ear-splitting delight of the crowd.
A few minutes later, she was sprinting back on to the court with her teammates to celebrate yet another championship as confetti rained down.
Detroit became the second team in league history to win a third championship. Only the Houston Comets, who won the first four (1997-2000), have more. Los Angeles (2001, 2002) is the only other team with more than one.
It was an especially sweet win for the Shock, who let the 2007 title slip away, losing Game 5 at The Palace to the Phoenix Mercury.
“Last year was brutal. Last year was discouraging and we lost the championship, and I thought about moving on,” Laimbeer said. “At some point, I’ll move on, but I don’t necessarily think it is right now.”
Detroit swept the league’s best regular-season team, winning the clincher at Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center, a venue forced upon it because of a scheduling conflict.
“It was our floor and our rims and our baskets,” Laimbeer said. “We understand the situation, and we’ll make the most of it. I thought we had a lot of fans in there that had never been a part of this before.”
The Shock won their 2003 championship at The Palace and their ’06 title at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena, also a substitute venue because of a logistical conflict.
For their part, the Shock players couldn’t have cared less.
“We’re already trying to figure out where we’re going to play next year,” said guard Deanna Nolan, the 2006 finals MVP who scored 12 points on Sunday.
Jankovic wins title
STUTTGART , Germany – New No. 1 Jelena Jankovic won her second title in two weeks, defeating Nadia Petrova of Russia 6-4, 6-3 Sunday in the final of the Porsche Grand Prix.
The 23-year-old Serb also won the China Open last week and the Italian Open earlier this year.
“I am really proud of myself,” she said. “I am playing with a lot of confidence and I played some good tennis this week.”
Jankovic was assured of taking the top ranking Monday from Serena Williams regardless of the outcome of the final. She already held the No. 1 spot for one week in August.
“I feel that every day I am getting better and better. I am really working on my game, I want to reach my full potential,” Jankovic said.