Behind The Scenes

Fast Break: Carolyn Peck and Kara Lawson

Studio host Trey Wingo with NCAA women's basketball analysts Kara Lawson (center) and Carolyn Peck.

In former national champion coach Carolyn Peck and Olympic gold medalist Kara Lawson, ESPN has two of the sport’s icons providing analysis of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships.

Tonight on ESPN and ESPN3, the remaining two slots for the 2012 Women’s Final Four in Denver will be filled. At 7 p.m. ET, Connecticut meets Kentucky in the Kingston (R.I.) Region Final. At approximately 9 p.m., Notre Dame plays Maryland in the Raleigh (N.C.) Regional Final.

The winners tonight will join Baylor (Des Moines Regional Champion) and Stanford (Fresno) to complete the field for the Women’s Final Four, which ESPN will air April 1 and 3 from Denver.

Front Row asked Peck and Lawson for their perspectives on the tournament, their ESPN careers and more.

What’s it like being among the more prominent faces of women’s college basketball on ESPN?
Peck: I feel like it’s an honor to carry the torch for women’s basketball. [ESPN] is the main source people come to and whether they like it or not, they listen to our opinions on air and that makes it fun.
Lawson: We’re a part of women’s college basketball, [we] played it, and Carolyn’s obviously been successful coaching it. It’s nice in that I played, was covered by ESPN and looked forward to games being on television. Now I get the chance to meet the players and showcase them to the rest of the country, while showing how far the women’s game has come. To me, it’s a great privilege to be a part of a sport that’s grown so much in the last 25 years.

Since you’ve been at ESPN, what’s been your most memorable moment so far?
Peck: The first year that I started, I was extremely nervous and [studio anchor] Trey Wingo said to me: Forget about the rundown, I’m going to ask you a question and you answer it. That really took a load off my shoulders.
Lawson: I don’t know if there’s one moment. I think it’s just every day I get a chance to come in and be part of the TV process. There are a lot of people that care about the women’s game, so to me, what I like most is working with people who think it’s important.

Who have your MVPs been so far in the tournament?
Peck: [Baylor’s] Brittney Griner and [Stanford’s] Nneka Ogwumike, and Alyssa Thomas for Maryland has helped carry them through and advance to the next round.
Lawson: Brittney and Nneka have really elevated their play. We love the stars and we love the teams that are always there; but it’s also neat to see when new programs and players insert themselves in the picture.

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