Katie Smith was born on June 4, 1974, in Logan, Ohio. She began playing basketball in fifth grade. In 1992, Smith enrolled at The Ohio State University, where she continued to play basketball. As a Buckeye, Smith garnered numerous awards. In her first season, she helped lead the Buckeyes to the NCAA championship game. This same year she was named to the Kodak All-American first team, Sports Illustrated National Freshman of the Year, Big Ten Freshman of the Year, All-Big Ten second team, the 1993 NCAA Final Four, and the East Regional All-Tournament Team. The Columbus Touchdown Club eventually honored her as the Ohio State Female Athlete of the Century. After her final season in 1996, Smith became the leading scorer in Big-Ten women's basketball history. She now ranks second in this category.
Upon graduating from college in 1996, Smith played professional basketball with the Columbus Quest in the American Basketball League (ABL). She led the Quest to the league championship in 1997 and 1998, with the ABL ceasing to exist at the end of the 1998 season. In 1999, Smith joined the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), playing for the Minnesota Lynx. In 2001, she led the league in scoring, and in 2003, Smith helped earn the Lynx franchise its first playoff spot. That same year, Smith became the first woman in professional basketball to score four thousand points.
Smith also has played for the United States Basketball Team in the Olympics, as well as in other competitions. She helped the United States win gold medals in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, the 1998 and 2002 World Championship, the 1999 U.S. Olympic Cup, the 1996 R. William Jones Cup, and the 1994 Goodwill Games. Smith also played in the 1995 World University Games, helping her team win a silver medal. Smith continues to play professional basketball. In 2005, the Lynx traded Smith to the Detroit Shock. In her free time, Smith is studying dentistry.