Natalie Williams

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Natalie Williams
Medal record
Competitor for  United States
Jones Cup
Gold 1996 Jones Cup Taipei, Taiwan Team Competition
Olympic Games
Gold 2000 Sydney National Team
World Championships
Gold 1998 World Championships Berlin, Germany Team Competition
Gold 2002 China National Team

Natalie Williams (born on November 30, 1970 in Long Beach, California) was a professional basketball player in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).[1]

Early years[edit]

Williams is the daughter of Nate Williams, a former basketball player who played for the Cincinnati Royals, Kansas City-Omaha Kings, New Orleans Jazz and the Golden State Warriors in the National Basketball Association during an eight-year career.

Although she was born in Southern California, she went to high school at Taylorsville High School in Utah.

She also has two half brothers and one half sister. Both of her brothers played basketball but her sister chose to focus her athletic abilities on tennis.

College years[edit]

She attended the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and graduated there in 1994. She was a four-year letter-winner in both basketball and volleyball, and is the first woman to earn All-America honors in both basketball and volleyball in the same year. She also led UCLA to NCAA volleyball titles in 1990 and 1991.

ABL career[edit]

Natalie Williams played three seasons for the Portland Power in the American Basketball League (ABL). She was traded to the Long Beach Stingrays in April 1998, but when the team folded, she was reassigned to the Power. She was a two-time All-ABL first team selection, the 1998 ABL M.V.P., finished her first season as the league's top rebounder, averaging 12.5 rebounds per game, and on January 9, 1998, she grabbed a league record 22 rebounds.

WNBA career[edit]

After the ABL folded, she was selected by her hometown team, the Utah Starzz in the first round (third pick overall) of the 1999 WNBA Draft on May 4, 1999.

She played with the Starzz from 1999 to 2002. However, just a few weeks prior to the start of the 2003 season, she was traded to the Indiana Fever in a multi-player deal on May 1, 2003.

Prior to the start of the 2005 season, Williams announced that she would retire after the season ended, saying that she will concentrate on raising her adopted twins, as well as serving as an assistant coach for Skyline' high school Girls basketball team in Salt Lake City, Utah, and launching a new career in the real estate business. She is remembered by fans as one of the best rebounding power forward in the early history of the WNBA.

USA Basketball[edit]

Williams was invited to be a member of the Jones Cup team representing the USA in 1996. She helped the team to a 9–0 record, and the gold medal in the event. Williams averaged 9.1 points per game. She also recorded 7.0 rebounds per game, highest on the team.[2]

Williams was named to the USA national team in 1998. The national team traveled to Berlin, Germany in July and August 1998 for the FIBA World Championships. The USA team won a close opening game against Japan 95–89, then won their next six games easily. In the semifinal game against Brazil, the USA team was behind as much as ten points in the first half, but the USA went on to win 93–79. The gold medal game was a rematch against Russia. In the first game, the USA team dominated almost from the beginning, but in the rematch, the team from Russia took the early lead and led much of the way. With under two minutes remaining, the USA was down by two points but the USA responded, then held on to win the gold medal 71–65. Williams averaged 12.3 points per game, second highest on the tea, and averaged 9.6 rebounds per game, highest on the team.[3]

Williams won an Olympic Gold Medal as a member of the U.S. women's basketball team during the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

In 2002, Williams was named to the national team which competed in the World Championships in Zhangjiagang, Changzhou and Nanjing, China. The team was coached by Van Chancellor. Swoopes scored 16.9 points per game, second highest on the team and recorded a team-high 24 steals. The USA team won all nine games, including a close title game against Russia, which was a one point game late in the game. Williams averaged 5.9 points per game.[4]

Outside basketball[edit]

In 2002, she opened a restaurant called Natalie's in Salt Lake City, Utah. She carried the Olympic Torch in the Salt Lake City area prior to the 2002 Winter Olympics. She also was named to the United States 2002 World Championship Games team.

She considers Cheryl Miller as her basketball role model.

Vital statistics[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ WNBA Player Profile, WNBA.com
  2. ^ "1996 WOMEN'S R. WILLIAM JONES CUP". USA Basketball. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Thirteenth World Championship For Women -- 1998". USA Basketball. Retrieved 13 Oct 2013. 
  4. ^ "FOURTEENTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR WOMEN – 2002". USA Basketball. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 

External links[edit]