June 11, 2024 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: Alanna Smith powers Minnesota Lynx hot start, eyes Australia gold

Smith talks making it in the WNBA, Opals at the Olympics and more

On today’s episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, Minnesota Lynx forward Alanna Smith joins host Howard Megdal to talk about the Lynx’s strong start to the 2024 WNBA season. First, they discussed her journey to the league. Smith was drafted No. 8 overall to the Phoenix Mercury in 2019, where she stayed until 2021. In the three seasons since, Smith has played on three teams, including the Lynx, where she plays now.

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“I just feel like the WNBA in general is a really hard league to crack as a young basketball player,” Smith said. “Not only because [of] just the size of it, there’s not that many teams, so not that many spots. But the talent in the league is crazy, you know, and so when you’re trying to kind of make your way onto a roster, you’re competing with some of the best basketball players in the world. And then when you do make it onto a roster, yeah, the minutes that you’re getting may or may not be coming just because, like I said, the talent on every team is just out of this world.”


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Smith also spoke about her experience with the Chicago Sky in 2022, and how the opportunity to play significant minutes really allowed her to find her groove in the league.

“I had kind of thought to myself that after I’d been cut from Indiana the year before, that maybe the WNBA wasn’t for me, and that I could still enjoy and play basketball elsewhere,” Smith explained. “And then I got a call from James Wade at the time, asking me to come and play for Chicago. And in my mind, I’d already been like, ‘Nah, I don’t think I want to play in the WNBA anymore. I don’t want to I don’t want to do it again.’ But James convinced me to come in. And it was one of the best decisions I made in terms of my WNBA career. And just I think the opportunity to kind of fell in my lap.”

“We unfortunately had a lot of injuries early on, and that kind of allowed a spot open for me to play a lot of minutes and start and I think that’s all it took for me, it was just the opportunity to play and show what I could do. A lot of people ask me how my game [has] improved so much. And I always tell them, I’ve been doing the same thing, I just haven’t had the chance to play and show you guys that this is what I can do. And so I got that opportunity in Chicago, and for that I’m super, super grateful,” she continued.


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Here at The Next, in addition to the 24/7/365 written content our staff provides, we also host the daily Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast. Join us Monday through Saturday each week as we discuss all things WNBA, collegiate basketball, basketball history and much more. Listen wherever you find podcasts or watch on YouTube.


Tune in to hear Smith talk about her experience playing overseas basketball, how her Australian Opals are approaching the 2024 Paris Olympics, and more. Make sure to subscribe to the Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast to keep learning about the WNBA, women’s college basketball, basketball history and much more!

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