TAHLEQUAH — She is in the midst of her best professional season to date. Her averages are up across the board.
But Ivory Latta’s journey to this point in her career has been a long and winding road — one that includes trips all over the globe.
“Through all my ups and downs, professional basketball has been great to me,” said the 5-foot-6, 143-pound Tulsa Shock guard after the team completed a practice at Sequoayh’s Place Where They Play on Thursday. “I’ve seen a lot of places...I’ve traveled the world. The game of basketball has taken me lots of places.”
For the Shock (3-15) this season, Latta is posting career-high averages in points (14.1), rebounds (2.2) and 3-point percentage (.367).
It wasn’t quite the same in 2007, when she was drafted by the Detroit Shock 11th overall after completing a stellar career at North Carolina — where she led the Tar Heels to the NCAA tournament every season, including two trips to the national semifinals.
“Being a top player in North Carolina and coming into the league with Detriot my first year, it went to one through 13 [on a WNBA roster] being good,” said Latta, who averaged 16.6 points per game during her four years at North Carolina. “I just had to sit back and take on a different role. It was a learning experience for me.”
Her first year in the WNBA, Latta only played seven minutes a game and averaged three points. That led her to a stint in Israel, where she played for Elizur Holon and posted 23.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.
“It was a great experience. I loved it,” Latta said of her time in Israel. “...That’s the main thing for a WNBA player. Once we get done with the WNBA season, I’d say about 85 percent of the whole WNBA goes overseas and just continues during the offseason.”