With her vivacious persona, outspokenness and commanding leadership on the court, Courtney Williams has become a staple presence in the WNBA.
The 29-year-old shooting guard from Folkston, Georgia has been on quite a journey since coming into the league in 2016 out of the University of South Florida. She has journeyed her way with the Phoenix Mercury, Connecticut Sun and Atlanta Dream in the WNBA, and played overseas in Australia and Israel.
While playing for the Perth Lynx in Australia in 2017, she was twice named to the WNBL Team of the Week. She was a catalyst for the Lynx winning 14 consecutive games and ended the season averaging 21.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.3 steals.
In her sophomore WNBA season of2017, Williams averaged double-figure scoring for the first time, something she has now done six years in a row. She started for the Sun in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and became well-known to a wider audience because of her mid-range mastery during the 2019 Finals.
In addition to her mid-range game, Williams is known for being one of the best rebounding guards in the league, and she can rack up the assists too. In 2020, she averaged a career-best 7.2 rebounds per game for the Dream. In 2021, she averaged career-bests of 16.5 points and four assists, proving she could be a No. 1 scoring option and making the All-Star Game for the first time.
Williams made a return to Connecticut and a return to the Finals in 2022 before joining the Chicago Sky this year. Playing for a squad that has undergone drastic changes to its roster, as well as changes to the head coach and ownership positions, and dealt with injuries to some core talent, she has taken the challenge head-on as the starting shooting guard.
In 2023 thus far she is averaging 9.3 points and 6.3 rebounds and is first on the Sky with 6.2 assists. So she has sacrificed some scoring, but the assists are at by far a career-high.
From June 28 to June 30, Williams came through in big ways in back-to-back home games against the Los Angeles Sparks. In the first game, she scored 21 points and shot 75 percent from the 3-point line in an 80-63 victory. She then recorded the first triple-double of her career in an 86-78 victory two days later. She scored 12 points, dished out 13 assists and grabbed 11 rebounds.
On July 2, Williams put on a clinic in a nail-biter against the Indiana Fever. She notched 28 points while shooting 70.6 percent from the field and 80 percent from the 3-point line. In the process, she came away with eight assists and five rebounds.
For those performances, she was recognized as the WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
“It feels good when you are recognized and obviously when you are winning as well,” Williams said.
Speaking of winning, the Sky have been struggling and currently stand in eighth with an 8-12 record. They endured a six-game losing streak in June and missed out on a chance at the Commissioner’s Cup.
Yet even through these struggles, Williams continues to maintain the upbeat nature that has endeared her to so many.
“It’s just me,” she said. “I try to uplift my teammates and try to make sure that the energy stays up because reality is when you are having fun and your energy is up you play better basketball.”
She has also been able to forge unity with fellow All-Star and Sky team captain Kahleah Copper. Both carry that fire inside of them to do whatever it takes to win.
Many remember that epic seemingly never-ending jump ball the two shared when they were opponents during the opening game of the 2022 semifinals, which the Sun won over the Sky in five games.
Some questioned at the beginning of the season whether the two would get along and work together, but Williams, who has played against Copper since college, has been able to feed off her and vice versa.
“I know her game and know her mentality,” Williams said. “It’s dope to be able to play with her now.”
Williams has worked tirelessly to get to where she is at and the magic she found Down Under six years ago has found its way to the Windy City.
“I genuinely enjoy this group,” she said. “Just our energy, the way we spend time together outside basketball, and obviously I think that is going to help us move forward and continue to play the basketball we have been playing.”