Somebody cue the fireworks.
Duke head coach Kara Lawson has brought home gold once more for the red, white and blue, this time in her assistant coaching role with the United States women’s national team at the FIBA Women’s World Cup. The team traveled to Sydney starting Sept. 22 and went undefeated in eight matches to win the group’s fourth consecutive world title Saturday against China.
Former Duke guard Chelsea Gray, who recently earned WNBA Finals MVP honors with the Las Vegas Aces, also competed Down Under, tallying 10 points in the final Saturday.
The victory marks the first world title under Cheryl Reeve, who was named head coach in December 2021. Fellow assistant coaches Mike Thibault, head coach of the Washington Mystics, Joni Taylor, head coach of Texas A&M, and Lawson were also integral to the achievement.
After defeating China 77-63 during the group stage Sept. 24, the United States took China on for the second time in the final, this time tallying a 22-point rout in an 83-61 win, the largest-ever victory in a World Cup final.
Team USA kept China on its toes without letting it ever get ahead, beating its opponent with a higher shot volume, shooting 33-of-74 from the field to China’s 24-of-56. The United States sealed the rematch win with impeccable defense in the form of five blocks, 19 forced turnovers and a staggering 13 steals. On the other hand, China had only one block, seven forced turnovers and two steals.
None of the United States’ wins were closer than 14 points. The group’s largest victory was a 145-69 rout of South Korea, though it defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina 121-59 and Puerto Rico 106-42 as well.
Another former Blue Devil guard, Miela Goodchild, congratulated Lawson in a brief reunion Saturday as the competition was played in her native Australia.
As Lawson, now an 11-time gold medalist in USA Basketball competition, returns to Durham, she has a little more than a month to prepare Duke for its home opener, which will take place against North Carolina A&T Nov. 7 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
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