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Washington Mystics guard Katie Smith undecided about returning next season

In a nearly empty locker room following the Washington Mystics' 101-77 loss to the Atlanta Dream in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Katie Smith was one of the last to leave. Perhaps the reason she lingered was because it could have been her last time inside a locker room as a professional player.

When asked if she would be wearing a Mystics uniform next season, Smith said, "I don't know. Honestly, I've got a lot to think about."

Would she retire or go to another team?

"Maybe both, I don't know," she said, matter-of-factly with no trace of emotion. "Honestly, both are being thought of. It's definitely a possibility that I might not play again. A lot of thoughts. Just trying to figure it out."

Smith, 36, signed with Washington as a free agent in March because she thought the Mystics were a team that could win. Washington did win during the regular season, setting a franchise record with 22 victories and finishing first in the Eastern Conference. But once again, the Mystics came up short in the playoffs.

"I don't think I'll make a choice right this moment," she said. "I'll see where I'm at, see what I want, see if I want to do it again."

What would keep her from coming back?

"Just not wanting to do it again," she said. "The grind of every day, getting up for it. I still feel like I can play, but I don't know. We'll see just kind of the way I feel. I'm just ready to move on. I've had a lot of fun doing what I do."

Smith has enjoyed an incredibly accomplished career. When her two seasons in the now-defunct ABL are included with her 12 seasons in the WNBA, Smith has scored more points than any other professional women's player. She has been a WNBA all-star five times and was selected the WNBA finals MVP in 2008. She's won two ABL championships, two WNBA titles and three Olympic gold medals.

For someone who started playing basketball when she was in fifth grade, Smith has done just about all she can with basketball. She never imagined she would still be playing basketball at her age.

"I've had every chance to get every ounce of basketball out of me that I've wanted," Smith said. "That also makes you feel good, because somebody's not saying you're done. I guess in that sense too it feels good because you're the one [making the decision]. I've played as long as I've ever wanted."

Mystics General Manager Angela Taylor said she expects to see Smith back next season, playing for Washington.

"I was joking with her the other day," Taylor said. "I think Katie could probably play another six years. . . . She's still a very potent player, still a very valuable player that anybody can have on their roster."

By Kathy Orton  |  August 28, 2010; 12:02 AM ET
Categories:  WNBA playoffs  
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