Kara Wolters Drinan (born August 15, 1975) is a retired American collegiate and professional basketball player. Standing at six feet seven inches (2.01 m), she was nicknamed "Big Girl". She is the tallest player in University of Connecticut women's basketball history and one of the tallest women to ever play in the WNBA. Wolters was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.
Kara Wolters with a fan.
|Born||August 15, 1975|
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||227 lb (103 kg)|
|High school||Holliston (Holliston, Massachusetts)|
|WNBA draft||1999 / Round: 3 / Pick: 36th overall|
|Selected by the Houston Comets|
|1997–1998||New England Blizzard|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Women's Basketball Hall of Fame|
Wolters was born the youngest child of Liz and William Wolters and grew up in a basketball family. Her mother, Liz, once scored 50 points in one game at Wellesley High, more than any Massachusetts high school player before. Her father, William, known as "Willie", is in the Boston College Hall of Fame and played professional basketball for the Seattle SuperSonics in the NBA. He was born in West Germany and moved to America with his family at 11 years old. He later became an insurance lawyer in Boston. Kara has always worn uniform number 52, the same number as her father, as a tribute.
Wolters has stated she has always been tall and was already 6'3" in eighth grade and she continued to grow rapidly during her career at Holliston High School. She still retains the schools scoring, rebounding and blocked shots record.
Her brother Ray played basketball at Assumption College and later Eastern Connecticut State University. She has two older sisters: Kristen, who also played college basketball, at Rhode Island, and Katie.
When Katie was six, a tumor was discovered in her brain. The growth was so large and tangled up in her brain stem that complete removal was not possible. Because of the subsequent surgery and treatment with radiation, she developed short-term memory loss and lost some of her sense of balance, and sometimes has seizures that prevent her from driving. Kara would later form the "Kara Kares Foundation" in 1998, which supports brain tumor research. Katie died in 2004 as a result of her brain tumor.
Wolters married Sean Drinan, a financial advisor with Stifel Nicolaus, in November 2004 and currently works as a studio analyst during University of Connecticut women's basketball games for SNY. They have two daughters. Her first daughter, Sydney Elizabeth, was born on March 8, 2007 and her second daughter, Delaney Katherine, was born on March 12, 2008.
Wolters now is with an AAU team out of Hartford, Connecticut, where she coaches one of her daughters, Sydney, who is also number 52, as well as some other girls. The team is known as the Connecticut Spirit, and play in many AAU tournaments. Kara also runs a basketball camp during the summer, with many UConn players as coaches and counselors. The program takes place in East Hartford, CT, and in Massachusetts to grades 4-10.
University of ConnecticutEdit
Wolters played for the women's basketball team at the University of Connecticut from 1993 to 1997. She was a member of the 1995 team that won the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship, which capped a perfect 35–0 season. Her UConn team compiled a 132–8 record (94.3%)
Wolters appeared in four NCAA Tournaments, advanced to the 1996 Final Four, the 1994 and 1997 Final Eights and won four Big East Conference Championships and four Big East Tournament titles. In 1997 she was named the National Player of the Year.
She finished her career as Connecticut's all-time leading rebounder (1286) and shot blocker (396).
Wolters was a member of the inaugural class (2006) of inductees to the University of Connecticut women's basketball "Huskies of Honor" recognition program.
Wolters was invited to be a member of the Jones Cup team representing the US in 1996. She helped the team to a 9–0 record, and the gold medal in the event. Wolters averaged 5.9 points per game.
Wolters represented the US at the 1997 World University Games held in Marsala, Sicily, Italy in August 1997. The USA team won all six games, earning the gold medal at the event. In the semi-final game against the previously unbeaten Czech Republic, Wolters scored 14 points, recorded ten rebounds and blocked five shots to hold the team win and advance to the gold medal game. Wolters averaged 11.3 points per game, second highest on the team and had 13 blocks, more than the rest of the team combined.
Wolters was named to the USA national team in 1998. The national team traveled to Berlin, Germany in July and August 1998 for the FIBA World Championships. The USA team won a close opening game against Japan 95–89, then won their next six games easily. In the semifinal game against Brazil, the USA team was behind as much as ten points in the first half, but the USA went on to win 93–79. The gold medal game was a rematch against Russia. In the first game, the USA team dominated almost from the beginning, but in the rematch, the team from Russia took the early lead and led much of the way. With under two minutes remaining, the USA was down by two points but the USA responded, then held on to win the gold medal 71–65. Wolters averaged 5.0 points per game and recorded seven blocks.
In her four-year WNBA career, Wolters averaged 50 percent in field goal shooting, 75 percent in free throw shooting, 3.2 rebounds per game, and 6.5 points per game.
She ranks second among all-time USA World Championship competitors for the most blocked shots (11).
Wolters is one of only 12 women to receive a Gold Medal in the Olympics, an NCAA championship, and a WNBA Championship. The others are Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, Brittney Griner, Maya Moore, Candace Parker, Ruth Riley, Breanna Stewart, Sheryl Swoopes, and Diana Taurasi.
Honors and awardsEdit
USA Basketball notesEdit
- Gold Medal: 2000 2000 Summer Olympics
- Gold Medal: 1999 U.S. Olympic Cup
- Gold Medal: 1998 World Championship
- Gold Medal: 1997 World University Games
- Gold Medal: 1996 R. William Jones Cup
- Silver Medal: 1995 World University Games
- Bronze Medal: 1994 World Championship
- Named to the 1999–2000 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team on January 6, 2000.
- Member of the gold medal winning 1998 USA World Championship Team which finished with a perfect 9–0 record and was named the 1998 USA Basketball Team of the Year; aided the U.S. to a 12–1 record in its 13-game pre-World Championship tour.
- Selected as one of the first six members to the 1998 USA Basketball Women's World Championship Team on September 4, 1997.
- 1996 USA Olympic Team finalist (18).
- The only collegian named to the bronze medal winning 1994 USA World Championship Team.
USA Basketball recordsEdit
- Ranks second among all-time USA World Championship competitors for blocked shots (11).
- Drafted by the Indiana Fever in the fourth round (16th overall) of the 2000 WNBA expansion draft.
- Drafted by the Houston Comets in the third round (36th overall) of the 1999 WNBA draft.
- Averaged 1.6 ppg. and 1.2 rpg. for the Houston Comets in 1999.
- Prior to the ABL folding in December, 1998, ranked among league leaders 24th for scoring (11.0 ppg.), 16th for rebounding (5.3 rpg.), third for blocked shots (16) and first for field goal percentage (58.4%).
- Finished the 1997–98 ABL season ranked as the league's leader for blocked shots (1.5 bpg.), fourth in field goal percentage (53.5%) and 16th in rebounds (5.2 rpg.).
- Selected as the third pick in the 1997 ABL Draft by the New England Blizzard.
- During her four seasons (1993–97), UConn compiled a 132–8 record (94.3%), appeared in four NCAA Tournaments, won the 1995 NCAA championship, advanced to the 1996 Final Four, the 1997 and 1994 Final Eights, and won four Big East Conference championships and four Big East Tournament titles.
- Named by Associated Press 1997 All-America first team and Player of the Year.
- Runner-up for the 1997 Boost/Naismith National Player of the Year.
- Awarded the 1996 Victor Award as the nation's top female collegiate player.
- Ranks second among all-time USA World Championship competitors for blocked shots (11).
- She is one of three finalists for the 1997 Women's College Basketball ESPY award.
- Named 1997 All-America by Basketball America, United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) and Kodak.
- Named 1996 All-America first team by the USBWA, United Press International and the Associated Press.
- Named 1997 and 1995 District I All-America by Kodak, and 1996 All-America honorable mention by Kodak.
- Named to 1995 NCAA Tournament All-Final Four Team, averaged 20.5 ppg. in the Final Four.
- Named to 1997 and 1996 All-NCAA Midwest Regional and 1995 and 1994 All-NCAA East Regional.
- Named 1997 Big East Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Year, 1997 and 1996 All-Big East first team, 1995 All-Big East second team and 1994 Big East All-Rookie Team.
- Named 1996 and 1995 Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player and Big East All-Tournament all four years.
University of Connecticut statisticsEdit
|Kara Wolters Statistics at University of Connecticut|
- Gelin, Dana (November 27, 1995). "Center Stage Kara Wolters, A Testament To The Power Of Self-Improvement, Is The New Player To Watch At Uconn". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 25 Sep 2015.
- "1967 NBA Draft".
- "WNBA.com: Kara Wolters Playerfile". WNBA.com. WNBA Enterprises, LLC. Archived from the original on October 12, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
- "Kara Wolters - College Player - Inducted 2008". ctwomensbasketballhalloffame.com. Retrieved 25 Sep 2015.
- "Charities". Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Altavilla, John (March 15, 2015). "Wolters Was The Strength, And Personality, Of The 1995 Champs". Hartford Courant. Tribune Company. Retrieved 25 Sep 2015.
- "Women's Basketball 1995 National Championship Team to be Recognized as "Huskies of Honor"". Archived from the original on 2010-02-07. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- "1996 Women's R. William Jones Cup". USA Basketball. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on 7 September 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- "Eighteenth World University Games – 1993". USA Basketball. Archived from the original on 7 September 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
- "Thirteenth World Championship For Women – 1998". USA Basketball. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
- "Monarchs Say Goodbye to Veteran Kara Wolters". Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- "UConn Media Guide" (PDF). p. 148. Retrieved 2009-06-10.