Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Williams takes lead in rookie season

Ashley Williams is listed as being from Covington, Ga., but the freshman said she had at least seven different homes during her childhood. Williams, the only daughter in her military family, picked up basketball in her early teens.

“I started in eighth grade,” Williams said. “Just being a new kid in a new school, [I] just wanted to try something different. I always ran track, so it was something different to do.”

It might have seemed unlikely she would end up playing basketball at a Southeastern Conference university, but Alabama coach Kristy Curry said the variety of experiences and diverse background has helped Williams make the impact she has in her rookie season.

“Ashley’s been in a lot of different environments and had to handle different situations,” Curry said. “And you can just tell whatever’s thrown at her daily doesn’t seem to faze her, because she’s had different experiences along the way growing up. It’s not just been the same thing.”

(See also “UA designated a military-friendly university“)

Having started every game at forward since the loss to UT-Martin on Dec. 4, Williams has had opportunities to develop consistency under Curry, who is also in her freshman season in Tuscaloosa.

In that game against the Skyhawks, Williams led her team in points with 18. She also led the Crimson Tide in points and rebounds at home against the Wisconsin Badgers on Nov. 21, Alabama’s first win of the Curry era.

Williams’ poise this season has been noticed by several of her teammates, including junior Daisha Simmons.

“She doesn’t play like a freshman, she doesn’t act like a freshman, and I think that’s big for us,” Simmons said. “She knows that she’s a big impact, and she just comes out every day confident. And we tell her that, ‘You’re not a freshman anymore. We really need you,’ and she just answers it really well.”

(See also “Swim coaches see raw potential“)

After the Crimson Tide’s last game, a 71-46 loss to Texas A&M on Feb. 16, Aggies head coach Gary Blair, who won the 2011 national championship and has only suffered one losing season in his 26 years as a head coach, praised Williams’ play and named her one of the top-5 freshmen in the conference.

After big come-from-behind wins at then-No. 10 Kentucky and at home against Georgia, Williams was named the SEC Freshman of the Week, becoming the first Crimson Tide player since 2011 to receive the award.

For the season, Williams leads the team with six rebounds per game and is third in points with 11.8. Going forward, Curry said she expects Williams to be key in the Crimson Tide’s hopeful ascension in the SEC ranks.

In the more immediate future, however, Williams said she knows what aspects of her game need work in the offseason.

“Working on my shooting, and just taking my time in the post and rebounding,” she said.

Curry said the freshman’s game has room to improve, but on an otherwise youthful Alabama team, Williams’ play has proven she isn’t just one of the young ones.

(See also “Aggies blast Alabama on home court, 71-46“)

More to Discover