Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Prissy Player' Pushes Dolphins to Best Start; Williams Gets Physical and Helps Lead JU to a 16-8 Record This Season

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Prissy Player' Pushes Dolphins to Best Start; Williams Gets Physical and Helps Lead JU to a 16-8 Record This Season

Article excerpt

Byline: JASON SCHNEIDER

As she ran down the basketball court, Ashley Williams couldn't contain her smile.

After making a turnaround jumper, the Jacksonville University junior forward couldn't ignore the cheers, whistles and calls from her personal six-member cheering section.

But Williams should grow accustomed to hearing it.

The former Wolfson High School and Arlington County Day standout has gone from being a lightly recruited high school player to a dominant college post presence, regularly drawing double- and triple-teams.

Williams is the second-leading scorer in the Atlantic Sun Conference this season (16.7 points per game), fifth in rebounds (7.6 per game) and third in field-goal percentage (51.3 percent) while helping lead the 16-8 Dolphins to their best season in school history.

"She was a good player [in high school and junior college], but I don't know if anybody expected her to blossom into what she has become," JU coach Jill Dunn said.

Williams has averaged double figures in scoring every season since her sophomore year at Wolfson, but she wasn't highly recruited because, despite her 5-foot-11 frame, she lacked the overall size that college coaches want in post players.

According to Williams, Florida A&M, JU and a handful of other smaller colleges expressed some interest in her, but she signed with North Florida Community College in Madison, where she proved she could play at the college level. Williams averaged a double-double (22 points, 10 rebounds) at NFCC and caught the eye of Dunn, who saw more room for improvement.

By her own admission, Williams doesn't like contact - "I'm a prissy player" - but she has learned to get over her aversion to physical play.

Williams' mother, Barbara, said Ashley would complain about being touched when she first started playing basketball at age 11.

"She has, in a lot ways, gotten over that," Dunn said. "She knows she's going to get double- and triple-teamed in most games. She's one of the top players in the conference right now, and she's got to expect that. If she wants to put up the numbers and be that key player for us, that comes with it. …

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