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Charlotte Smith retires from professional basketball

December 14, 2006 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) Indiana Fever

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana Fever forward Charlotte Smith has announced her retirement from the Women's National Basketball Association. Smith, an eight-year WNBA veteran who played her final season last summer in Indiana, finished her career with 1,412 points. She will continue in her capacity as an assistant coach for the No. 2-ranked North Carolina women's basketball team.

"It was one of life's most difficult decisions, walking away from something you have known almost all your life," said Smith. "Not only is it difficult but it can present itself to be scary at times. I am blessed to have been part of the UNC women's basketball staff for five years so it makes the transition a lot easier."

"Many people have tried to convince me otherwise because they felt that 'I still have it,' and to a certain extent I can agree with them," she added with a smile. "But I know that I am ready for the next phase of my life."

Added Fever COO and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf, "Charlotte had an immediate impact on our team as a veteran player and a first-class individual. We will really miss her on the floor and in the locker room. She is a true professional and will be missed in the WNBA. She is also a tremendous coach and I wouldn't be surprised to see her on the sidelines in the WNBA very soon."

Smith played 18 games with two starts for the Fever during her final season - a season beset by injury and the untimely passing of her father. Prior to signing with the Fever last February, she played six seasons with the Charlotte Sting and one with the Washington Mystics.

Her two best pro seasons came in 2004 and 2005, starting every game in each of those years. In 2004 with the Sting, she posted career-highs of 8.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. In 2005 with the Mystics, she averaged 7.2 points and 3.8 rebounds. She is a career 40 percent shooter overall, 35 percent from 3-point range.

Smith is a former college player of the year, and led the Tar Heels to a national championship as a junior in 1994. Early in her senior season at UNC, she became just the second collegiate women's player to dunk in a game when she did so on Dec. 4, 1994. In 2002, she was named the 10th-best female athlete in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

After spending two-and-a-half seasons in the American Basketball League, Smith was the 33rd pick of the 1999 WNBA Draft by Charlotte. She started in 166 out of 237 games played during her WNBA career.

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