Determination is the word that comes to mind when I think about Karlie Samuelson. Consistency, and steady, are the words that come to mind when I think of Katie Lou Samuelson. Unfortunately, stability isn’t a word that Karlie or Katie Lou have been able to feel in their WNBA tenures, but they’ve been the definition of stay ready. This offseason the Mystics signed Karlie and it was a priority for them, and that may have been my favorite signing this offseason. The Fever also signed Katie Lou this offseason, which was a phenomenal pickup for various reasons. 

Most WNBA fans are familiar with Katie Lou, big time high school recruit out of Mater Dei, four years at UConn, and then drafted number four overall to the Chicago Sky in 2019. Lou’s WNBA career has been far from easy, her rookie season saw no starts, and just seven minutes per game. Second season she was traded to Dallas, and started four games, playing 20 minutes per game. She was traded once again, this time for the number one overall pick, to the Storm trying to win another championship. She started 24 of 27 games next to Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird, and Jewell Loyd. She was an important piece, not just as a shooter, but as a defender with her 6’3 frame. She shot career-highs from the field (45.6%) and from three (35%). Still, with the offensive talent around her, she attempted less than 3 three-pointers per game. She was traded again, this time to the Sparks, for another former college teammate in Gabby Williams. 

It’s her most successful season to this point of her career; starting 29 out of 32 games, reaching a career high in points (9.7), steals, shot 35% from three on five attempts, and in free throw percentage at 83%. It wasn’t just the increase in shot output, it was her showing her versatility and the different positions she can play and defend. She showed her worth and what she brings to the table as a switchable defender and reliable three-point shooter. She’s great at reading what the defense is doing on screens, times cuts well, and has a quick release that not many players can truly contest.

Katie Lou Samuelson Highlight Mix! (Vol. 1) 2022 Season | WNBA Hoops

Karlie’s WNBA journey hasn’t been any easier. After a successful college career at Stanford, following the footsteps of oldest sister Bonnie, she went undrafted in the 2017 draft. She would be picked up by the Sparks for the pre-season, she then fractured her foot and was waived. She was re-signed in 2018 with minimal playing time in 20 games but always made the most of her time. In 2019, she was waived during training camp but would be picked up and waived again. She played seven total games that year between Dallas and LA. The Wings picked her up before training camp and she was waived again. The Sparks signed her again in 2021, but was released again, and picked up by the Storm where she would be teammates with Katie Lou for the second time in the W. She played 14 total games between LA and Seattle. She signed a hardship contract with the Mercury in 2022, playing just one game. 

2023 was by far her most successful WNBA season of her career, playing for, you guessed it, the Sparks. Karlie started 23 of 34 games; she achieved career highs in points (7.7), rebounds, field goal percentage (46%), three-point percentage (42%, 4th in the W), and free throw percentage (94%). She didn’t shoot enough of those to qualify for league leaders but she made 48 out of 51. Karlie has always been a player you’d love to have on your team, she’s a hard worker and is always committed to doing whatever the team needs and can shoot the lights out. While Karlie’s WNBA career has been full of ups and downs, her professional career has still been phenomenal. She is coming off the EuroCup championship where she was named the Finals MVP. She’s won multiple championships overseas, and been a key piece to those wins as well. 

Karlie Samuelson Highlight Mix! (Vol. 1) 2023 Season | WNBA Hoops

Katie Lou didn’t play last season after giving birth to her daughter Aliya, but she was able to see her sister have the best season of her career. They are both each other’s biggest supporters and it’s always refreshing to see. Karlie’s 18th contract is her first full-season contract, just think about that. The perseverance and determination it takes to constantly be told not this time, and not give up? How could you not root for someone like her? 

The Fever desperately needed three-point shooting last season and Katie Lou brings that and as I mentioned earlier the versatility and ability to play multiple positions. Playing next to talents like Aliyah Boston, Caitlin Clark, Kelsey Mitchell, and NaLyssa Smith with the attention she can demand opens up space and opportunity for everyone if she can shoot the ball at a high clip. Karlie brings so many different things to the team; she’s going to battle defensively, she can create off the dribble and make quick decisions while staying within the offense, space the floor, and be a leader on and off the court. Being next to Ariel Atkins, Brittany Sykes, and Shakira Austin helps everyone, including herself. The Samuelson sisters are invaluable to any team they play for, and will both play big parts in their respective teams this season.