Kara Wolters
Kara Wolters.jpg
Kara Wolters with a fan
Personal information
Born (1975-08-15) August 15, 1975 (age 47)
Natick, Massachusetts, US
Listed height6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight227 lb (103 kg)
Career information
High schoolHolliston (Holliston, Massachusetts)
CollegeUConn (1993–1997)
WNBA draft1999 / Round: 3 / Pick: 36th overall
Selected by the Houston Comets
Playing career1999–2003
PositionCenter
Career history
1997–1998New England Blizzard
1999Houston Comets
2000Indiana Fever
2001–2002Sacramento Monarchs
Career highlights and awards
Women's Basketball Hall of Fame

Kara Elizabeth Wolters[1] (born August 15, 1975) is a retired American collegiate and professional basketball player and a current sports broadcaster. Standing at six feet seven inches (2.01 m) and 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. . During her playing career, she was an NCAA national champion (1995), FIBA world champion (1998), WNBA champion (1999), and Olympic champion (2000) becoming one of 11 women with those accolades. She also won AP College Player of the Year in 1997

Following her professional playing career, Wolters moved into broadcasting. She started as a radio color commentator for women's basketball on WTIC (AM), and since 2012 has served as the in-studio analyst for women's basketball on SNY.[2] She also runs the Kara Wolters Dream Big Basketball Camp in Connecticut.[3]

Wolters was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.[4]

Personal

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.[5] Her father, known as Willie, is in the Boston College Hall of Fame and was an eighth-round Seattle SuperSonics draft pick in the 1967 NBA draft who later worked as an insurance lawyer.[6] Wolters has always worn uniform number 52, the same number as her father, as a tribute.[7] Her maternal grandfather played Minor League Baseball in the New York Yankees system.[1]

Already 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) in eighth grade, Wolters continued to grow rapidly during her career at Holliston High School, where she still retains the schools scoring, rebounding and blocked shots record.[8] She was bullied over her height and build as a youth and was ignored by some college recruiters who thought her body type was a negative attribute for basketball.[1]

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.[5] Katie dealt with brain cancer from age six until her death in 2004, which inspired Kara to establish the "Kara Kares Foundation" in 1998 to support brain tumor research.[9]

Wolters married Sean Drinan, a financial advisor, in November 2004. They have two daughters, Sydney and Delaney.

University of Connecticut

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%). She 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.[10]

She finished her career as Connecticut's all-time leading rebounder (1286) and shot blocker (396). In 1997, UConn head coach Geno Auriemma referred to her as a potential Hall of Famer, while Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt and Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer also complimented her play and presence on the court.[1]

Wolters was a member of the inaugural class (2006) of inductees to the University of Connecticut women's basketball "Huskies of Honor" recognition program.[11]

USA Basketball

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.[12]

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.[13]

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.[14]

Professional

ABL

Wolters was drafted by the New England Blizzard of the ABL in 1997. She played for the team in the 1997–98 and 1998–99 seasons, the final two of the league's existence.

WNBA

Wolters was selected by the Houston Comets in the third round (36th overall) during the 1999 WNBA Draft and subsequently in the 2000 Expansion Draft by Indiana Fever.

Wolters was traded to the Sacramento Monarchs for the 14th pick in the 2001 WNBA Draft on April 11, 2001. Wolters continued to play for the Monarchs until May 20, 2003, when she was released.[15]

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.

International

Wolters was a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic women's basketball team during the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

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 awards

USA Basketball notes

USA Basketball records

Collegiate notes

University of Connecticut statistics

Kara Wolters Statistics[16] at University of Connecticut
Year G FG FGA PCT 3FG 3FGA PCT FT FTA PCT REB AVG A TO B S MIN PTS AVG
1993–94 33 168 264 0.636 0 0 0 29 57 0.509 159 4.8 9 54 75 12 511 365 11.1
1994–95 33 222 354 0.627 0 0 0 59 89 0.663 204 6.2 38 60 94 13 761 503 15.2
1995–96 37 306 486 0.630 0 0 0 82 142 0.577 291 7.9 37 103 105 14 978 694 18.8
1996–97 34 251 403 0.623 0 0 0 77 135 0.57 273 8.0 46 78 96 12 894 579 17.0
Totals 137 947 1507 0.628 0 0 0 247 423 0.584 927 6.8 130 295 370 51 3144 2141 15.6

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Altavilla, John (13 March 1997). "Sure, She's 6 Feet 7. But It Goes Beyond Height When People Say They Are". Hartford Courant. Hartford, Connecticut. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  2. ^ "Culmo, Wolters join SNY broadcast team for women's basketball". The Day. New London, Connecticut. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Dream Big". KaraWolters.com. Kara Wolters. 2022. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  4. ^ "Women's Basketball Hall of Fame 2017 class announced" (Press release). NCAA. 2017-02-17. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  5. ^ a b 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 September 25, 2015.
  6. ^ "1967 NBA Draft".
  7. ^ "WNBA.com: Kara Wolters Playerfile". WNBA.com. WNBA Enterprises, LLC. Archived from the original on October 12, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  8. ^ "Kara Wolters - College Player - Inducted 2008". ctwomensbasketballhalloffame.com. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  9. ^ "Charities". Retrieved July 17, 2009.
  10. ^ Altavilla, John (March 15, 2015). "Wolters Was The Strength, And Personality, Of The 1995 Champs". Hartford Courant. Tribune Company. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  11. ^ "Women's Basketball 1995 National Championship Team to be Recognized as "Huskies of Honor"". Archived from the original on August 7, 2009. Retrieved July 24, 2009.
  12. ^ "1996 Women's R. William Jones Cup". USA Basketball. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on September 7, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  13. ^ "Eighteenth World University Games – 1993". USA Basketball. Archived from the original on September 7, 2015. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  14. ^ "Thirteenth World Championship For Women – 1998". USA Basketball. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  15. ^ "Monarchs Say Goodbye to Veteran Kara Wolters". Retrieved July 17, 2009.
  16. ^ "UConn Media Guide" (PDF). p. 148. Retrieved June 10, 2009.

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