Former Bruin Natalie Williams Nominated For WNBA All-Decade Team
April 27, 2006
New York - With the WNBA's 10th Anniversary season set to tip off on May 20, 2006, the league today announced the names of 30 nominees for the 10 coveted spots on the WNBA All-Decade Team. Former UCLA All-American Natalie Williams is amongst the nominees, which were selected by a panel of national media, coaches, former players and WNBA personnel. The list includes seven of the league's original players and represents the very best in women's professional basketball.
Williams was a dominant force under the boards upon her arrival in the WNBA as the third overall draft pick by the Utah Starzz in 1999. Williams stormed into the spotlight, posting big numbers in her first three campaigns and earning All-WNBA First Team honors in each of those seasons. A four-time WNBA All-Star, Williams' best season came in 2000 when she averaged a double-double, leading the league in rebounding (11.6) and ranking fourth in scoring (18.7). Entering the 2006 season, Williams is amongst the WNBA's top 25 all-time in nine different categories, including ranking third in rebounds (1,832), 12th in field goals made (1,066), 14th in points (2,894), 19th in steals (270) and 22nd in blocked shots (122).
At UCLA, Williams was not only a two-time All-American in basketball, but a two-time National Player of the Year in volleyball after leading UCLA to NCAA volleyball titles in 1990 and 1991. On the hardwood, Williams averaged 20.4 points and 12.8 rebounds for her career, with the latter figure ranking tops in Pac-10 women's history. In 1997, she was selected the Pac-10's Female Athlete of the Decade (1987-96), and in 2004, she was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.
Voting for the WNBA All-Decade Team is now open and will be conducted among fans, select national and WNBA-market media, and current WNBA players and coaches. Fans are encouraged to vote by logging onto WNBA.com. The All-Decade Team will be announced in June and honored at the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game, set to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York on July 12.
The league's official Web site will feature a special section dedicated to the All-Decade Team, complete with player histories, statistics and video highlights of each nominee. The new WNBA.com History section, in which the voting will take place, may also serve as a resource for fans and media alike, providing career statistical leaders, award winners, season recaps and more. Fans will be able to vote for their All-Decade Team players once per day (daily).
"We view the celebration of our 10th anniversary as a way to mark the accomplishments of our past and embrace our vision for the future," said WNBA President Donna Orender. "The selection of the WNBA All-Decade Team will enable our fans and the league to honor the players who have contributed so much to the growth of the WNBA and of women's basketball."
Members of the All-Decade team will be selected on the basis of their overall contribution to the WNBA, with consideration given to on-court performance and ability, leadership, sportsmanship and community service, as well as contribution to team success and the growth of women's basketball.
In addition to selecting an All-Decade Team, the WNBA will celebrate its 10th Anniversary season by providing fans an opportunity to determine the Greatest Moments in league history and through a season-long initiative, "10 Years of Caring," where all teams will demonstrate their continued commitment to their communities.
Below is a list of the 30 nominees for the WNBA All-Decade Team.
CLick for Bruin Video