NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame will induct a nine-person 2019 class on Saturday night, and former Lady Vol basketball standout and 2008 U.S. Olympic gold medalist Kara Lawson will be among five with University of Tennessee ties in that illustrious group.
Lawson, who played for the Big Orange from 1999-2003, will join fellow UT luminaries Kippy Brown, David Cutcliffe, Charles Davis and Peyton Manning in the 53rd-annual induction ceremony at the Omni Nashville Hotel.
A native of Alexandria, Va., Lawson was a 2003 WBCA All-American and was honored three times by the Associated Press, including second-team All-America honors in 2003, third-team accolades in 2002 and honorable mention status in 2001. She was a four-time All-SEC First Team choice by the coaches and was All-SEC First Team by the media in 2002 and 2003 and second team in 2000 and 2001.
Other honors include the 2003 Francis Pomeroy Naismith Award, which goes to the best player 5-feet-8 and under, as well as the 2004 Woody Hayes National Scholar-Athlete Award, 2003 NCAA All-Final Four Team, 2003 All-Mideast Regional Team, 2002 and 2003 SEC All-Tournament Teams, 2001 and 2003 SEC Community Service Teams, and 2000 SEC All-Freshman Team.
During Lawson’s stint at Rocky Top, Tennessee compiled a 136-17 record, winning four SEC titles and an SEC Tournament crown. The Lady Vols also went to three NCAA Final Fours, finishing second in 2000 and 2003, and placing third in 2002.
Lawson wrapped up her career as the program’s fourth all-time leading scorer and currently stands at No. 6 with 1,950 points. She averaged 13.6 points per contest for her career and had a best season average of 15.1 as a junior followed by a 14.4 average as a senior to complete a four-year run of averaging double figures in points.
In regard to three-point shooting career marks, Lawson continues to rank No. 2 in career three-point field goal percentage at .415 (256-617) and No. 3 in career three-pointers made (256). She stands No. 3 (79, 1999-2000) and No. 5 (77, 2002-03) in single season treys made and is No. 4 (.450, 2002-03) and No. 6 (.436, 1999-2000) in single season three-point field goal percentage. Her total of 79 threes in 1999-2000 still stands as a UT freshman record.
Lawson ranks No. 3 in career free throw shooting (.847) and No. 5 for a single season (.884, 2002-03). She also ranks No. 6 in career assists (456).
Off the court, the 2003 UT graduate with a degree in finance was a 2003 NCAA Woman of the Year Finalist, a 2003 CoSIDA First-Team Academic All-American, a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection and a 2003 recipient of Torchbearer distinction at the University of Tennessee. The latter honor is the highest recognition a UT student can receive.
Lawson, who joined Lady Vol alums Tamika Catchings and Candace Parker on the 2008 Olympic Team in Beijing, China, went on to a 13-year career in the WNBA, playing for the Sacramento Monarchs, Connecticut Sun and Washington Mystics. She has transitioned well into broadcasting, enjoying great success as an announcer and studio analyst for men’s and women’s basketball with ESPN and currently serving as an analyst for television broadcasts of the NBA’s Washington Wizards. She was the first woman to work as a national broadcast analyst for an NBA game when she called the Wizards’ game vs. the New Orleans Hornets on Jan. 12, 2007.
In addition to her broadcasting career, Lawson also stays active in the game as a coach, working with the fast-growing 3×3 version of basketball. She led the U.S. 3×3 team to gold at the 2017 World Cup and directed the USA to gold again at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.