June 14, 2013
This feature appeared in the K-State Sports Extra on June 14.
By Mark Janssen
Laurie Koehn has taken her craft around the world … literally, around the world.
A five-year veteran of WNBA basketball, Koehn says of her travels, “I played in Australia this past year, two years in Poland before that, two years in Turkey, one in France and one in Wales.”
She adds, “I still love the game. It’s my passion.”
The 31-year-old – “That sounds old, doesn’t it?” – returned to the K-State campus earlier this year after finishing her season for Australia’s Logan Thunder, which followed a WNBA season with the Atlanta Dream.
“Some of the European countries are having economy problems, so it’s shaky as to whether you’re going to get paid, but Australia had wonderful weather, plus a strong economy, so it was an enjoyable experience,” said Koehn. “I feel like I’m still learning about how to improve my game every year and I’m doing what I love to do. I’m going to keep playing as long as my body says I can.”
Koehn averaged 15.3 points per game for the Thunder on 41 percent shooting from 3-point range and 92 percent – 22-of-24 – from the foul line.
So what can the NCAA career 3-point shooter and now multiple-year veteran of professional basketball still learn about her game?
“It’s hard to explain, but I’ve learned ways to get out of a slump and I’ve been a little more consistent,” said Koehn. “I’m still learning about my shot and trying to figure out ways to change when things aren’t going great.”
Koehn says she still tries to take at least 500 shots every day, but admits, “At my age, I try to take a day off once in a while. My workouts aren’t quite as high intensity. I’ll take 200 shots that are game-like, and then maybe 300 off the gun … just catch-and-shoot shots.”
It was during one of those sessions that she recently set her personal record of making - get this - 127 consecutive 3-pointers.
More recently in a video available on YouTube, Koehn showed her marksmanship at K-State’s Basketball Training Facility by swishing 132 of 135 3-pointers from the top of the key in a span of five minutes.
Think about those two performances: 132-of-135 in a five-minute period, and, 127 consecutive long-range makes in a row.
“For years I had tried to make 100 in a row, but I would always miss at 91 or 92,” Koehn laughed. “But I think it was last summer that I made 127 catch-and-shoot shots off the gun before I missed.”
Saying the average Australian salary for women’s basketball is in the $50,000 range, plus an apartment, Koehn says she would like to return for the 2013-14 season that runs from October through early-March.
As for another crack at the WNBA where she has had stops at Washington in 2005-2008, and Atlanta in 2012, Koehn says, “I’m not sure what my chances are. I have my doubts about this year, but I’m certainly ready to give it another shot. Playing is such a privilege and I want to play as long as I can.”
But when the body says no more, Koehn said, “I would love to stay active in basketball. I would love to coach and help young people develop their game. I would like the college level where people are serious about what they’re doing and it’s not just recreational.”
But she also knows that her own level of seriousness is way above the sincerity that most college players put into the game.
Laughing, Koehn said, “I know I’m not the norm, but it’s sad to have teammates that have so much talent, but are unwilling to put in the work. But I would like to push people to get into the gym and get the most out of their God-given ability. I know it’s not in everyone’s DNA … I have to try to understand that.”