Kara Marie Lawson (born February 14, 1981) is the head coach of the Duke Blue Devils women's basketball team. She is a former American professional women's basketball player in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and a basketball television analyst for ESPN and the Washington Wizards. Lawson primarily played as a shooting guard. She won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, a championship with the Sacramento Monarchs in the 2005 WNBA Finals, and coached the United States women's national 3x3 team to gold in the 2020 Summer Olympics. Lawson retired from the WNBA in 2015 to focus on her broadcasting career. She began her coaching career as an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics of the NBA in 2019.
|Duke Blue Devils|
|League||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|Born||February 14, 1981|
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
|Listed height||175 cm (5 ft 9 in)|
|Listed weight||68 kg (150 lb)|
|High school||West Springfield|
|WNBA draft||2003: 1st round, 5th overall pick|
|Selected by the Detroit Shock|
|2019–2020||Boston Celtics (assistant)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at WNBA.com|
Player career edit
High school edit
Lawson attended Sidwell Friends School her freshman year, then went to West Springfield High School, where she played on the girls' basketball and soccer teams. Lawson was named a WBCA All-American in 1999. Her high school record was 83-2 and won 2 state championships in her sophomore and senior years with a perfect 30-0 record. She participated in the 1999 WBCA High School All-America Game, where she scored twenty points, and earned MVP honors.
College career edit
Lawson attended the University of Tennessee (UT) and played for the Lady Vols basketball team, coached by Pat Summitt. She enrolled in UT's College of Business, and graduated in 2003 with a degree in finance. Lawson received the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award from the Women's Basketball Coaches Association as the best senior player under 5 ft 8 in (1.7 m). In 2018, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam named Lawson to the board of trustees of the University of Tennessee, the governing body of the UT system. In 2003, Lawson was named an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education.
On April 24, 2003, Lawson was selected as the fifth overall pick by the Detroit Shock in the first round of the 2003 WNBA draft. But five days later, the Shock traded Lawson to the Sacramento Monarchs in exchange for Kedra Holland-Corn and a 2004 second-round draft pick. Two years later, Lawson would be a key member of the Monarchs 2005 championship team.
Lawson was a free agent when the Sacramento Monarchs folded prior to the 2010 WNBA season, but later signed a three-year contract with the Connecticut Sun. On March 12, 2014, Lawson was traded to the Washington Mystics for Alex Bentley, who was originally traded to Washington through the Atlanta Dream.
US national team edit
Lawson was selected to be a member of the United States national team at the 2001 World University Games held in Beijing, China. After winning the opening game easily, the USA team faced Canada and lost a close game 68–67. Needing a win to remain in medal contention, Lawson scored 25 points to help the USA team defeat Japan, and earn a spot in the quarterfinals. The USA team fell behind by 12 points against undefeated Russia, but came back to win the game by eleven points. The next game was against the unbeaten host team China, and the USA team won 89–78. The USA team won their next two games to set up the gold medal game; a rematch against the host team. China would stay close early, but the USA team prevailed and won the gold medal with a score of 87–67. Lawson was the third leading scorer on the team with 12.0 points per game and led the team in assists and steal with 16 assists and 12 steals over the course of the event.
On July 10, 2008, Lawson was selected to represent the United States with the USA women's national basketball team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. She helped the United States capture the gold medal, and led the team in points (15) during the gold medal game against Australia, going a perfect 5-5 from the field and 4-4 from the free throw line.
Lawson was invited to the USA Basketball Women's National Team training camp in the fall of 2009. The team selected to play for the 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2012 Olympics is usually chosen from these participants. At the conclusion of the training camp, the team will travel to Ekaterinburg, Russia, where they compete in the 2009 UMMC Ekaterinburg International Invitational.
Lawson was one of 21 finalists for the U.S. Women's Olympic Basketball Team Roster. The 20 professional women's basketball players, plus one collegiate player (Brittney Griner), were selected by the USA Basketball Women's National Team Player Selection Committee to compete for the final roster to represent the US at the 2012 Olympics in London, United Kingdom. However, Lawson did not make the final roster.
Player statistics edit
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game||RPG||Rebounds per game|
|APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game||BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game|
|TO||Turnovers per game||FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|Bold||Career best||°||League leader|
|†||Denotes seasons in which Lawson won a WNBA championship|
Regular season edit
|Career||13 years, 3 teams||377||159||24.5||.414||.390||.890||2.6||2.5||0.6||0.1||1.4||9.8|
|Career||10 years, 3 teams||47||19||27.1||.413||.436||.897||3.3||2.5||0.8||0.2||1.3||10.4|
Broadcasting career edit
Lawson began her broadcasting career while still playing in the WNBA. She served as a studio analyst for the Sacramento Kings, and worked her way up to working in a variety of NBA and WNBA broadcast roles for ESPN. On January 12, 2007, she was the first woman to work as a nationwide broadcast analyst for an NBA game, when the New Orleans Hornets took on the Washington Wizards.
In 2017, Lawson was named the primary television game analyst for the Washington Wizards, replacing longtime analyst Phil Chenier as full-time host. She is one of the first primary female TV analysts for an NBA team, joining Sarah Kustok of the Brooklyn Nets.
Coaching career edit
On June 27, 2019, the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced that Lawson would join the team as an assistant coach. During her tenure as assistant coach in the 2019–20 season, Lawson worked closely with Marcus Smart, a defensive-minded point guard, as a shooting coach.
On July 11, 2020, it was announced that Lawson was hired as the head coach of the Duke Blue Devils women's basketball team. She brought on Winston Gandy, Tia Jackson, and Beth Cunningham as assistant coaches. Her first season as head coach lasted four games after the decision to end the season in late December 2020 due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lawson credits Pat Summitt with teaching her how to hold players accountable as a coach.
Head coaching record edit
|Duke Blue Devils (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2020–present)|
|2020–21||Duke||3–1||0–1||N/A||Opted out due to COVID-19|
|2022–23||Duke||26–7||14–4||T–2nd||NCAA Second Round|
|Duke:||51–24 (.680)||21–16 (.568)|
Postseason invitational champion
Personal life edit
Lawson is married to Damien Barling, whom she met while working in Sacramento soon after the Monarchs' WNBA championship win. They were married in April 2008. Barling is a radio broadcaster in the Sacramento area for ESPN 1320. He also interviewed Lawson on his show following her officially being named as color analyst.
- "Kara Lawson:College Basketball and NBA Analyst". ESPN.com. April 6, 2010. Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
- "Wizards make Kara Lawson one of the first female primary TV analysts for an NBA team - The Washington Post". The Washington Post.
- "Lady Vols great Kara Lawson coaches USA to gold in 3×3 basketball". WATE 6 On Your Side. July 28, 2021. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
- Steinberg, Dan (September 27, 2017). "Wizards make Kara Lawson one of the first female primary TV analysts for an NBA team". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
- "Past Teams - High School". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. May 20, 2016. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
- "WBCA High School All-America Game Box Scores". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
- "WBCA High School All-America Game Team MVP's". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
- "Frances Pomeroy Naismith". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
- "Governor announces 10 appointees on revamped UT Board of Trustees". WATE-TV. April 9, 2018. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
- "Kara Lawson". Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. Cox, Matthews, and Associates. Retrieved October 11, 2021.
- "Twentieth World University Games -- 2001". USA Basketball. Archived from the original on September 7, 2015. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- "Kara Lawson". USA Basketball. May 20, 2017. Archived from the original on January 31, 2020. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
- "USA Basketball Women's National Team To Tip-Off Training Tomorrow In D.C." USA Basketball. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012. Retrieved October 1, 2009.
- "Twenty-One Finalists In The Mix For Final 2012 U.S. Women's Olympic Basketball Team Roster". USA Basketball. February 13, 2012. Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- "Women's Basketball Player stats". NCAA. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
- "Record 180 Commentators Join NBC Olympics' Coverage of the Games of the Xxxii Olympiad from Tokyo, Japan". July 20, 2021.
- Wojnarowski, Adrian (June 27, 2019). "Celtics hire Kara Lawson to be assistant coach". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 6, 2022.
- "'Learned the game': How Kara Lawson will use her diverse background at Duke". The Chronicle. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
- "Who is Kara Lawson? Meet the Duke coach who reportedly is 'prime candidate' for Celtics job". www.sportingnews.com. August 12, 2021. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
- Karalis, John (July 13, 2020). "Kara Lawson on leaving Celtics for Duke: 'It's been an emotional three days'". MassLive. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
- "Kara Lawson accepts head women's basketball coach position at Duke".
- Washburn, Gary (July 14, 2020). "Kara Lawson thought she'd be with the Celtics for a while. Then, a dream job like Duke came calling - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
- "Kara Lawson's influences: Coach K, Pat Summitt and her father | NCAA.com". www.ncaa.com. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
- "Kara Lawson wins Olympic gold medal as coach of U.S. women's 3x3 basketball team". The Chronicle. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
- "What's the best lesson Duke women's basketball coach Kara Lawson learned from mentor Pat Summitt?". The Fayetteville Observer. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
- Voisin, Ailene (October 28, 2017). "Snubbed by Kings, Kara Lawson gets last word with Wizards. How she's making history". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved April 2, 2018.