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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Douglas eager to make impact on second stint with Connecitcut Sun

When the news hit that Katie Douglas would be returning to play for the Connecticut Sun there were a couple of issues that came to mind.

First, is did Douglas leave the Sun because she wanted to be close to home so that's why she landed with the Indiana Fever and second, how is she physically after missing all but four games last season.

Well, Douglas spoke with the media on a conference call on Tuesday and she addressed both of those questions.

Let's start with her choice to sign with the Sun, a team she played for from 2003-2007 and averaging 16.4 and 17.0 points per game in her final two seasons before expressing to the Sun hierarchy of her desire to play for her home state Indiana squad.

"It was surprising for many but maybe not for my inner circle and myself. I have always maintained a great relationship with Chris (Sienko, the Connecticut Sun general manager), Mitchell (Etess, CEO of the Sun) and the guys back in Connecticut," Douglas said. I felt like this is my first opportunity in a long time to be a free agent. I just had to compare the situations and felt like Connecticut at this time in my career is a better fit and a better situation.

"I left because I wanted to go back home. At that time in my career I was playing overseas, WNBA, overseas, WNBA and unfortunately I got hurt in the conference finals . I wasn't able o go overseas that year and I wasn't overseas at all (this year). It was a combination of things, They wanted me to re-sign and I was on the fence of whether I wanted to go home. We were in kind of a rebuilding mode. At that point in my career I was at the peak of my career and I didn't want to try to rebuild, I wanted to try to win. It was that, it was the constant grind of being overseas and in the WNBA and never feeling like I had a 'break' so I felt like at least if I got to be at home in the summers to play and compete with an equal Eastern Conference team that I would be a little more at peace and feel a little bit more at ease with the lifestyle that I was living. I made this decision based on my career and for basketball reasons. I have been here for six summers, I have been here for almost two offseasons and I am comfortable. My family is very supportive. Of course my family and my friends would have loved if I stayed and finished my career (in Indiana) but they totally understand the decision I made and they were supportive of it."

As Douglas said, she did not play overseas in either of the last two years and she said she is ready to go full speed ahead with the Sun.

"I feel great," Douglas said. "I definitely have taken this time  in this offseason and totally dedicated it to my health and my body back, not just my back but everything making sure everything is firing and everything feels good s I can be successful this summer and for years (to come)."

Since Douglas left town, the Sun have struggled to find a small forward who can hit consistently from the perimeter. If Douglas is healthy, she certainly brings that to the table. With the Sun having the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, suddenly former WNBA MVP could have the sweet-shooting Douglas on one side of her and Chiney Ogwumike playing the other forward position.

"I have had many conversations with Anne (Donovan) and Chris as far as the needs that they (are looking to) fill and I feel like I am a played and person who can help them fill that void that they were looking for," Douglas said. "If you need me to take some 3s and make some 3s, I feel like I am capable of doing that. I feel like it is a good fit. I really look forward to playing with Tina and whoever they acquire with the No. 1 pick and just having a dominant inside presence, it is going to make my life and everybody else's life out there that much more easy, that much more fluid and fun to play with.

"They bring an enormous amount of upside, they are young players with a lot of bounce and a lot of energy. Connecticut has always remained one of our top rivals and gave us an enormous amount of trouble at times and enormous amount of competition so to be teaming up with the likes of (Allison) Hightower, Tina Charles, the No. 1 pick, Kelsey Griffin it is just exciting for me to be a part of their team and to have them as teammates now. It is definitely nice not to have to come up with a game plan of how to guard Tina Charles and have Tina Charles on my team. Just the amount of attention she creates, I just know what that means for a guard and it is nice to know that is the type of player that you are going to be playing alongside of."

The Sun will have a different look as Kara Lawson was traded for Alex Bentley, Mistie Bass was signed by Phoenix and Asjha Jones will not play this season due to a torn Achilles. The Sun recently re-signed Hightower and Kalana Greene and signed former first-round pick Kelley Cain to a training camp roster. It is going to be interesting to see if any other changes are in order for the Sun and also the dynamics with so many of the veterans gone from the last couple of Connecticut Sun squads.


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