Seattle Storm forward Katie Lou Samuelson was one of the inaugural selections for the women’s basketball three-on-three tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
All seemed well for her to compete for gold until she tested positive for COVID-19, thus forcing her out of the Olympics and being replaced by Las Vegas Aces guard Jackie Young. The Americans would go on to win gold in the competition's Olympic debut.
With the virus behind her, Samuelson is ready to begin the second half of the season with her team as they’ll be participating in the inaugural Commissioner's Cup championship game against the Connecticut Sun on Thursday.
"I've been doing a lot more every single day, feeling better," Samuelson said in Monday's media availability. "I'm excited to start playing again."
Samuelson is in her first season with Storm (16-5) and felt the brunt of not being able to not only represent her country, but compete on a team she helped qualify for the Olympics.
"The biggest thing for me was being OK with feeling upset, feeling angry," Samuelson said. "Knowing that was part of what's going to happen with something of this magnitude. And just knowing that you can always reframe every single day to make something out of it, rather than a negative experience every day. "I'm just happy to get going again in games. It's been a really long couple of weeks, so it's nice to have something to focus on." As for her experience with COVID, Samuelson did have symptoms.
"I did get sick, I was needing to take the steps to get better and make sure I was 100 percent," she said. "These past few days, I've gotten some good work in. The biggest thing is getting my lungs back and getting my body feeling like I can play for a long time again. It will be nice to get a couple more practices before this game Thursday. "Nothing mimics a game exactly, so it will be interesting to see those first couple of minutes how my wind is. And just how I feel. Just the adrenaline and excitement of playing again will be a lot and help me get through it." Samuelson is now healthy and ready to help the Storm defeat the Sun later this week and finish the season strong heading into the playoffs.
"Just the way that she has approached her day-to-day -- she's just put her heart and mind and soul into us right now," Storm coach Noelle Quinn said Monday. "If you think about what she went through, think of the toll it can take on someone. She understands we need her to be at her best. I commend her and appreciate what she's showing. She took good care of herself at home, and when she was able to be back on the court with us, she's looked amazing."