Dallas Wings Samuelson Sisters Q&A: Talking WNBA Hoops - And 'The Tootsie Slide'

Dorothy Gentry

Twenty minutes.

That’s all the time it took for WNBA players – and sisters - Karlie and Katie Lou Samuelson to perfect their Tik Tok challenge performance of Drake’s hit “Tootsie Slide.”

“I saw something similar with someone doing it with ball-handling, so we just changed it up and made it our own,” said Katie Lou, the younger of the two basketball-playing sisters. “It took us about 20 minutes to get it down.”

The Tik Tok performance was an instant hit, now with more than 600 retweets and over 93,000 views.

“We were surprised,” Karlie said of the response the performance, filmed in the driveway of their parents' Huntington Beach, California home, is receiving. “It was just a fun video we were doing and then people ended up really loving it. We actually love watching other people’s videos, too, so it’s all been fun.”

The Samuelson sisters, one of three sets of sisters in the WNBA, are both members of the Dallas Wings. Karlie, 24, was signed in August of last season after a rash of injuries decimated the team, and then re-signed in February during free agency. Prior to being signed by the Wings, Karlie, who went undrafted in 2017, appeared in 23 games for the Los Angeles Sparks over the past two seasons, averaging 5.2 minutes a game for her career. She played collegiately at Stanford from 2013-2017, helping the Cardinals go the Final Four in 2017. She is tied for first in program history for made three-pointers.

The Chicago Sky traded Katie Lou, 22, and a first-round 2021 pick to the Wings in exchange for forward Azurá Stevens. Katie Lou was the fourth overall pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft after playing four years at UConn. Her 382 made career three-pointers ranks second in program history. She appeared in 10 games for Team USA in the last year, averaging 6.6 points per game in 15.1 minutes played and was named to the Team USA 3x3 training camp roster alongside Wings guard Allisha Gray.

The sisters, sheltering-in-place at their parents house, took a break to talk with me about staying prepared for the season, their favorite binge-worthy shows, Friday’s WNBA draft (see our Wings draft primer here), their excitement about the possibility of playing basketball together and more.

How have you been staying prepared for training camp and the season during this pandemic?

Karlie: Well it’s hard because everything is closed; can’t really shoot or go to an indoor gym so we’ve been going on runs, doing circuit training and things like that. It’s difficult not knowing when the season is going to start but we have to stay prepared.

Katie: Karlie is really good at creating workouts and giving me exercise plans to do so I’ve been going off her lead and following her workouts and just doing as much as I can as normal.

How else have you been spending your time at home? Come clean. Any Netflix binges you’re caught up in?

Katie: I am watching How to Get Away With Murder. I love her. (Viola Davis’ lead character, criminal defense attorney Annalise Keating)

Karlie: I started Grey’s Anatomy and I’m on Season 8. Next, I really want to start Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere. We are also spending time together with family, playing board games – Scattergories is our family game – and lots of puzzles, Tik Tok and more. This is the first time I’ve been home since August. It’s a silver lining (out of COVID-19) to be able to be with family.

The WNBA Draft is Friday and, of course, it’s virtual due to COVID-19. Thoughts?

Katie: I am happy they are making the most out of this situation. For me, draft day a year ago was so much fun and amazing to be a part of. It’s a special time.

I am excited to see where some of my old teammates end up and I’m happy as well to get new teammates as a whole with Dallas, not just in the draft. This is new for me and I’m excited to meet everyone and play with them.

Speaking of playing in Dallas, your thoughts on having the opportunity to be on the same team this season?

Karlie: We haven’t played together since high school; I’ve been waiting and waiting and now we have a chance to play together. We know each other’s game so well. We’ll also be a support system for each other. We are so close, and we’ll bring a sisterhood to the team.

Katie: I think Karlie, for me, has been the most helpful in both my college and pro career. She watches my games and gives me feedback and tells me ways to get better. It will be really great to have her there.

When and where are you happiest?

Karlie: At home, being with my family no matter where it is. Outside of home, Philz’s Coffee, right across the Pier.

Katie: Disneyland, the happiest place on earth. My older sister and I used to go there all the time. I love it.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Karlie: Outside of basketball it’s graduating from Stanford and getting my master’s degree (coaching and exercise science). Also making a WNBA roster; it’s really hard to make the League.

Katie: I’m excited to be working on my master’s degree as well but also winning a national championship and overall doing what we did at UConn. It was a lot of hard work.

Which living person do you most admire?

Karlie: We’d both say our really close family friend, Lauren Sylwanowicz, who’s an ER doctor in California. She is one of the reasons we started playing basketball. She’s taking triple shifts now (helping fight the pandemic) and she’s really inspiring. We admire her a lot.

And finally ...

Karlie: I hope everyone is staying safe out there and continuing to practice social distancing. We all want to get back to playing and watching basketball but there are bigger things going on right now. If you’re able to stay home, do it.

Katie: I just want the Dallas fans to know I’m excited to get to know them and to play for the team.

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