I love playing basketball. Williams had a more traditionally feminine style when she was in college, which included long hair, and she wore a dress and heels to the draft. After the season, she did a big chop , taking out her weave and going natural. At the same time, she also feels like people assume her orientation because of the way she presents. As a child, Courtney slept with a basketball and told her parents that she wanted to play in the WNBA one day.
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His two daughters, Courtney and her older sister Doniece, never took to tennis, but Don adapted to their interests. Doniece preferred to play indoors, but Courtney wanted to play ball. Together, she and Don took on the neighborhood, challenging everyone to play. She was sneaking out of windows late at night to meet up with a local boy who Don thought was trouble.
Williams came back to the team her junior year and scored 42 points in a game, breaking the single-game record that stood for 22 years — a record that had been held by her mother. She quickly broke the record again, scoring She would go on to score more than 27 points a game her senior season, and yet Williams was never a top recruit in high school. She dropped 47 points in the quarterfinals and was named first-team all-state, and yet she was left out of the senior all-star game for the state of Georgia.
She went to elite camps at Georgia Tech and Auburn, and was MVP of both, yet neither school offered her because, Kallina says, they were too busy chasing players with more hype. Only one school made the trip to Folkston and saw her for who she was.
Williams committed to USF because of the fact the school worked so hard to woo her when no one else would. In college, she introduced herself in person to fans in Connecticut who would soon be cheering for her on the Sun. Williams also helped propel USF to just their second NCAA tournament appearance during her freshman year, then took the Bulls back to the tournament as a junior and senior. But after appearing in only six games with the Mercury, in which she averaged just over four minutes of play and less than one point per game, Phoenix was ready to let her go.
No one want to ride no bench so, you know, I felt like I get to start all over again. Phoenix lost sight of her potential. Williams made such an impression on Auriemma in college that he lobbied the Sun behind the scenes to take a chance on her.
He felt that perhaps the Mercury drafted Williams thinking that she was a point guard. Auriemma saw her as someone who simply went out and got points. Her history in Connecticut made her an instant hit at Mohegan Sun Arena, and she met that excitement. The Sun were when they traded for her at the end of June , and they finished that season by going She gave the Sun 8.
In , Williams stepped into the starting role when then-teammate Alex Bentley went to represent Belarus in the Euro Championships. The incident kept Williams away from the team and off the court for four games. Whether that time away was a personal or team decision is unclear. The fact the Sun stuck with Williams after the Bentley incident is a testament to not only her skill, but her personality. For example, the Sun filmed a series videos for game breaks during the upcoming season that feature Williams teaching Coach Miller the meanings of some of her colloquialisms. If anything, Williams has been a unifier for the Sun.
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And her teammates clearly value her presence. She lifts everyone else up when she walks into a room. She seemed to be everywhere all at once, the ball perpetually sailing from her hands into the basket. She radiated joy. She scored 16 points but it felt like I did not know at the time that it was her first game back following the Bentley incident. She wanted to show the team that stood by her that they made the right choice.
We go for lunch following practice, and she stops to greet a fan who recognizes her.
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Williams is working through her food — buffalo wings all flats, medium sauce , fries, and a mango Arooga-rita with sugar on the rim — when she turns around to the two men sitting in the booth behind us. But Williams thinks that allowing the athletes to play above the rim would go a long way towards increasing interest in the league.
While many in the league might disagree, who better to forge an unconventional path forward than a player who has spent most of her life being overlooked? Williams, by the sheer force of her personality and talent, is on a trajectory to stardom. She has weathered everything that might have knocked her off course, and never once had to sacrifice who she is in the process.
She has every reason to be confident, and her time with the Sun has proven being bold can be infectious. Frank Nunn. Cecil Westlake.
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