BEST LYNX PLAYER Minneapolis 2004 - Katie Smith
The 2003 season saw both full-time denizens of the Target Center lose a first-round playoff series. For the long-suffering Wolves, this was, of course, nothing new. But for their WNBA counterparts, it was cause for celebration. After a coaching change and a revamping of the roster, the Lynx made their first playoff trip. And right there, as she has been from the beginning, was Katie Smith, the best Twin Cities athlete your average KFAN listener has never heard of. Exactly what did Smith accomplish in 2003? She started every game, finished fifth in the league in scoring, made her second All-WNBA First Team and her fourth straight All-Star appearance. Oh, and she became the first person to break the 4,000-point mark in U.S. women's professional basketball history. And then there was that playoff series, in which Smith's team-leading 23 points in game one helped lead the Lynx back from a 21-point second-half deficit for the biggest win in franchise history. With Smith inspiring another "KT 4 MVP" campaign, and Svetlana Abrasimova and new acquisition Helen Darling tailor-made for Spree-and-Sam-style supporting roles, 2004 could be a very good summer indeed.