Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Katie Smith Wins Player of the Week

By Ryan Pretzer
June 26, 2007

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - It’s not just what she did, but when, that helped Shock guard Katie Smith win Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors for June 17-24.

Smith averaged 18.5 points as the Shock went 3-1 on a West Coast trip that very easily could have went 1-3. Smith scored seven of her 18 points against the Sparks in the fourth quarter Monday night, including the go-ahead 3-pointer after L.A. had erased Detroit’s 15-point lead from the first half.

Four nights later, Smith scored 11 of her 16 points in the fourth against Phoenix as the Shock rallied from 16 points down for the victory. In between, she scored a team-high 23 in a blowout of Seattle and ended the trip with 17 points against Sacramento, 13 of them coming after halftime.

“Yeah, if Katie every puts two halves together, she’d have an unbelievable week,” joked Shock head coach Bill Laimbeer. “She made big shots when it was necessary for us to win ball games and on top of that her defense was outstanding.”

Smith said the absence of All-Star forward Cheryl Ford for three of the West Coast games emboldened her and her teammates to be more assertive. “We knew we were a man down with Cheryl, and we all had the mindset to do a little bit more,” she said.

Smith has always been known for her all-around game, but she has taken it to another level this season. She averaged 4.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals this past week while shooting 41 percent from the field and 83 percent from the free-throw line.

Smith nearly pulled off a triple-double against Los Angeles, tallying nine assists and nine rebounds with her 18 points. On June 15, Smith recorded the first points-assists double-double of her career with 10 of each in a home victory over Connecticut, which visits The Palace again Wednesday.

“With Katie, she can turn it on when she wants to her, but her primary job is to keep everybody involved in the offense,” Laimbeer said. “So when she has to go score, she’s able to do that.”

Smith attributes her late-game outbursts to challenging the opponent’s defense and taking what they give her. “We all get chances - I got chances, Tweety (Deanna Nolan) got chances, Plenette (Pierson) got chances. When you get a shot, you know you have to step up and take it.”

Smith currently ranks 17th in the league in scoring (13.8 per game), fifth in assists (4.4 apg), 15th in free throw percentage (85 percent) and sixth in three-pointers made (23), but these numbers don’t hold a candle to the team’s 10-2 start - the second-best start in WNBA history through 12 games.

“She’s embraced the role that she has,” Laimbeer said. “If she scores three points in a game, sometimes that doesn’t bother her. Five, six years ago it would have, but now winning the game is all that matters.”

The Western Conference Player of the Week, San Antonio guard Becky Hammon, will visit The Palace this Sunday when the Shock host the Silver Stars (8-4).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

2007 All-Underrated team

By Dave Gladow
June 19, 2007

Donte Whitner, S, Bills -- He may have been a rookie, but he sure didn't play that way. Despite being derided for taking Whitner as high as they did in the draft (eighth overall), the Bills laughed last as Whitner instantly became the team's top defensive back in '06. The rookie notched 104 total tackles and an interception, and he'll look to improve on those numbers in 2007.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Kampman to Receive MVP Award

Driver, Kampman, Colledge, Jennings & Hawk To Receive Awards At Packers Hall Of Fame Banquet

May 31, 2007

The Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Thursday announced Donald Driver, Aaron Kampman, Daryn Colledge, A.J. Hawk and Greg Jennings all will receive awards honoring last season's accomplishments at the 37th Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, to be held the evening of July 21, 2007, in the Lambeau Field Atrium. Robert Brooks and LeRoy Butler will become the 135th and 136th members of the Hall.

Driver and Kampman will be co-honored as the team's 'Most Valuable Player.' Driver, a repeat winner of the team MVP award, went to his second Pro Bowl following a 2006 season that saw him record career-highs in catches (92) and receiving yards (1,295) to go along with eight touchdowns. He also extended his streak of games with a reception to 80, the second-longest stretch in Packers history. His fourth career 1,000-yard receiving season places him in elite company with James Lofton (5) and Sterling Sharpe (5) as one of three Packers ever with as many as four 1,000-yard seasons. Kampman enjoyed a banner year in 2006. His career-best 151/2 sacks led the NFC, while his other career-high, 113 tackles, set a new franchise record for defensive linemen. The fifth-year pro was twice honored as NFC Defensive Player of the Week, joining Reggie White as the only Packers player to win the honor twice in the same season. He also was named Pass Rusher of the Year by the NFL Alumni Association. The Pro Football Weekly All-NFC and Associated Press second-team All-Pro honoree finished his season in Hawaii participating in his first Pro Bowl.

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