Lady Vols great Kara Lawson coaches USA to gold in 3×3 basketball

Kara Lawson

FILE – In this Dec. 28, 2019, file photo, then-Boston Celtics assistant coach Kara Lawson watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors in Boston. The Duke women’s basketball team has ended its season amid the coronavirus pandemic, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday, Dec. 25, 2020, because the school has not publicly announced the decision. Duke’s new coach Kara Lawson, who was hired in July, had said this month: “I don’t think we should be playing right now. That’s my opinion on it.” (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Former Tennessee Lady Vol great Kara Lawson became the third Volunteer to medal at the 2020 Olympics by coaching the United States to gold in the first-ever Olympic 3×3 basketball event. The U.S. defeated China 18-15 in the title match to take home the top prize.

Firs-placed (From L) USA’s Kelsey Plum, USA’s Jacquelyn Young, USA’s Stefanie Dolson, and USA’s Allisha Gray celebrate on the podium with their gold medal during the medal ceremony after competing in the women’s 3×3 basketball competition at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo, on July 28, 2021 during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Photo by Javier SORIANO / AFP) (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are the first Games to feature men’s and women’s 3×3 basketball. The new event was played in an outdoor arena with a court half the size of a traditional basketball court. The event also utilized a slightly smaller basketball.

Former Lady Vol Erika Brown became the 14th medalist in UT Swimming & Diving history after helping the Team USA earn a bronze medal in the 4×100 freestyle relay over the first weekend of the Games. Legendary Lady Vols legend Monica Abbott’s stellar pitching performances powered the U.S. to a softball silver medal.

Lawson helped Tennessee to three NCAA Final Fours and four SEC championships from 1999-2003 and ranks in the top 10 in school history in multiple statistical categories. She played 13 seasons in the WNBA, winning a league title in 2005. Lawson was a member of the American Olympic basketball team that earned gold at the 2008 Games in Beijing. She also earned a Torchbearer Award, the highest undergraduate honor at the University of Tennessee.

She is currently the head coach of the Duke’s women’s basketball team and recently served as an assistant with the NBA’s Boston Celtics. She was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame alongside Peyton Manning in 2019.

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