|Previous College:||Maryland '08|
Former WNBA and University of Maryland forward/center Laura Harper was named an Assistant Coach in May 2013, joining Head Coach Matt Corkery’s staff.
“We are very excited to welcome Coach Laura Harper to our basketball staff,” said Coach Corkery. “As a national champion, Final Four MVP, role model and teacher, she will have an immediate and positive impact on our program. She brings a wealth of energy and experience to American University Women's Basketball. While on the hardwood, Laura proved to be one of the top players in the country. Now that her WNBA and professional careers have ended, that passion for playing has translated into a passion for coaching and mentoring young players. She will coach our bigs and spend a lot of time on the recruiting trail. We are very happy to have Laura as part of our basketball family.”
Harper was selected 10th overall in the 2008 WNBA Draft and played for two seasons for the Sacramento Monarchs. She averaged 5.0 ppg and 3.7 rpg in 67 appearances, starting 12 games in her career. In her first season with the Monarchs, she ranked in the top 10 among rookies in field goal percentage (5th - .474), rebounds (6th - 4.0), blocks (6th – 0.59) and points (13th – 5.5).
Most recently, Harper played professionally in Russia for Dynamo Moscow, averaging 7.3 ppg and 8.3 rpg in her final season. She also played in Turkey during the 2011-12 campaign, posting 13.3 ppg and 9.9 rpg.
While at Maryland, Harper scored over 1,400 points and ranks seventh all-time with 873 career rebounds, also breaking the school record with 198 career blocks. She helped lead the Terrapins to a National Championship in 2006, being recognized as the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. In her senior year, she was an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American and Third Team All-ACC honoree after starting all 37 games and averaging a career-best 14.1 ppg and 8.5 rpg. Harper was also named a preseason candidate and finalist for the Naismith Award during the 2006-2007.
“We are really excited for Laura and think American made a terrific hire,” said Brenda Frese, Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Maryland. “Laura is one of the most passionate players I have ever coached and she will bring that to the coaching side of it as well. She’s very bright, a great communicator and she has so much experience to share with American’s players. I’m in this business to help my players be prepared to take on the world. So, most of all, as her coach, I’m thrilled for Laura that she’s transitioning to the next part of her life and know she will be very successful.”
In addition to her collegiate success, Harper was a member of the USA U21 National Team, where she helped the team to a gold medal at the 2007 FIBA U21 World Championship in Russia. She was also a member of the 2004 USA Basketball Junior World Championship Qualifying team which won a gold medal in Puerto Rico and earned a berth to the 2005 FIBA Junior World Championship. Harper started all five games during that tournament and averaged 12.8 ppg and 4.8 rpg while shooting 63.2 percent from the floor.
Harper earned her Bachelor’s degree from Maryland in communications. She is originally from Elkins Park, Pa.