By Krista Pirtle
Destiny Williams, a sophomore transfer from the University of Illinois, has added talent to the No. 1 ranked Baylor Lady Bear team.
At her high school in Benton Harbor, Mich., Williams was the 2009 Gatorade Michigan Player of the Year, 2009 Detroit Free Press Dream Team, a member of the gold medal USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Championship team, a McDonald’s All-American and a WBCA All-American, where she played with Baylor sophomores Brittney Griner and Mariah Chandler.
“I love playing with Destiny,” Griner said. “She has a great shot, so when she goes up high if they are doubling me I know she can make that shot. Then they are going to have to go out and guard her so then that opens me up at the post. If I don’t get the rebound, I know Destiny is right there fighting. We have good chemistry.”
Playing alongside Griner also drew Williams to Baylor.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Williams said. “Playing with [Griner] actually kind of helped me because they were so worried about her game and left me open..” Baylor’s athletic program wasn’t the only factor that drew Williams to Waco; academics also caught her eye as well.
“I had a one-on-one talk with [head coach Kim] Mulkey, and she flat out told me what she had to offer, this is how it is, you can either take it or leave it,” Williams said. “Academically it was perfect. It wasn’t that big of a school so the professors you get a better chance of a one-on-one with the professors and get to know you as a person versus a number.”
Williams played her first game in green and gold on Dec. 20, when the Lady Bears faced Clemson in the Bahamas Sunsplash Shootout.
With her on the floor, many different options open up, and the defense has to worry about more than making sure Griner doesn’t get the ball.
“It brings a lot of options to our offense,” senior Melissa Jones said. “Destiny has a tremendous ability to be able to do either, play the three or play the four. She is just really athletic and talented.”
Mulkey said, “Destiny is a post player that can face the basket and give you things off the dribble,” said women’s head coach Kim Mulkey. “Just a tremendous shooter. She is a lot more fundamentally sound than I gave her credit for. She did some really good stuff in that Iowa State game that the average fan doesn’t know about. She does some things that grow on you as a coach.”
Williams’ hard work and hustle earned her a spot in the starting five Saturday against Oklahoma State.
“It’s an honor to get in the game very quickly, get a feel for the game instead of coming off the bench. [I was just] trying to build team chemistry,” Williams said.
Williams has played well so far for the Lady Bears, but knows that her teammates will help her, both on and off the court.
“Actually, little do people know that Brooklyn [Pope] helped me a lot, especially in practice,” Williams said.
Academic standout Ashley Field has also immensely helped Williams.
“Well I mostly just hang out with Ashley Field. She’s a great mentor, especially off the court. Academically she has a 3.8, so I mean coming’ in she helped me with my grades. So if I had to choose my best friend it’d be Ashley.”
Field feels the same way.
“She’s a good friend; she’s loyal,” Field said. “Y’all see her out on the court but I get to see how she is off the court and both are amazing people and I’m so blessed to have her in my life.”