Southsider Voice correspondent
The pro basketball career of Katie Douglas will go full circle this season as the Indiana Fever veteran returns to the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, which drafted her in the first round in 2001 (the franchise was known then as the Orlando Miracle). Douglas was an unrestricted free agent who had played six years with the Fever since being traded by Connecticut in 2008.
According to the Sun, Douglas signed a two-year contract with an option for a third year. Douglas had been in negotiations with the Sun, the Fever and other unidentified WNBA teams.
“I am definitely excited to be rejoining the Connecticut Sun,” Douglas said in a statement released by the Sun. “I had a great five years there playing in front of some of the best fans in the WNBA.”
As a Fever player in her hometown, Douglas helped bring home the 2012 WNBA championship to Indianapolis. She suffered an ankle injury then and dealt with a recurring back injury in 2013. She underwent back surgery in September.
Douglas, 35, leaves the Fever as the franchise’s No. 2 scorer. She was the first Fever player to surpass the milestones of 500 3-pointers and 500 steals.
“Katie called me this morning (Monday) to tell me her decision,” said Fever President/General Manager Kelly Krauskopf. “We had a great conversation, and we talked about both of us needing to do what was best for both parties.”
Fever coach Lin Dunn praised Douglas for her years as a Fever but quickly added that Indiana would be “moving forward and reloading with young, talented players.”
A 13-year star, Douglas ranks fifth all-time in threes (663), ninth in scoring (5,142 points) and 17th in assists (1,006). She is a four-time All-Star and a four-time All-WNBA selection.
Douglas led the Sun to two WNBA Finals and four Eastern Conference Finals.
A Southside icon, she was an Indiana All-Star from Perry Meridian High School and later helped lead Purdue to the 1999 NCAA national championship.
She said her most memorable return to Perry Meridian took place Nov. 9, 2012, after finally attaining the goal of being on a WNBA championship team. The day was proclaimed Katie Douglas Day by Mayor Greg Ballard. The Falcons were 78-17 during her four-year varsity career. Her Indiana All-Star jersey hangs in the hallway of Perry’s gym.
Mike Armstrong, her high school coach, said, “She was a tireless worker. ... She has been an inspiration to all the girls who have ever played basketball at Perry Meridian.”
As well as being a spokesperson for the WNBA, Douglas is also a prominent speaker on behalf of the battle against breast cancer. Her parents died of cancer.
Among her many honors, she treasures being the inaugural recipient of the Jimmy V Comeback of the Year Award in 2001 for her perseverance through personal tragedy.
Reflecting upon her career, Douglas said, “I’m very blessed by God to be able to do what I do.”
Training camp opens April 27; Douglas and the Sun play the Fever May 29 and July 10 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.