Duke to raise Elizabeth Williams’ No. 1 jersey to the rafters

Cheryl Treworgy - TSN via PrettySporty.com

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke Blue Devils women’s basketball program announced on Monday that it will retire former four-time All American Elizabeth Williams’ No. 1 jersey at halftime of the Blue Devils’ Dec. 29 home contest against Kentucky.

Williams will become just the third player in program history to have her jersey retired, joining Alana Beard (#20) and Lindsey Harding (#10).

“I believe that any student-athlete, former or present, would affirm that one of the most rewarding aspects of being a student-athlete is in the relationships that we develop,” Williams said.

“My time at Duke was so valuable. The people are so valuable. I am forever grateful to this institution and all who have supported me within it.

“For me to sit here and say that my jersey is going to be retired is so surreal. It’s really difficult to put into words what it will mean to have my jersey hanging in the rafters among Duke basketball legends. The credit goes to every single teammate, staff member and coach that I encountered in my four year career. This may be a basketball achievement, but its meaning extends far beyond the lines of a court. From the nine-year old awkward basketball player to the young woman in her second year of professional basketball, I thank any and every one that made my dreams possible and led me to this moment.”

Williams completed her career at Duke in 2015 with numerous accomplishments and awards.

She was the first player from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and only the eighth player in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to garner All-America distinction from the Associated Press in each of her four years.

Williams was also the first player in ACC history to total over 1,900 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 400 blocks for her career.

During her four seasons, Williams averaged 14.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game over 136 contests.

She was named to the All-ACC first team for four straight years, becoming only the second player in the ACC to accomplish the feat.

To complement her offensive contributions, Williams was also a four-time pick as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and the 2015 National Defensive Player of the Year.

An imposing presence in the paint, Williams rounded out her collegiate career ranked ninth in the NCAA and second at Duke and in the ACC in blocks (426).

She also graduated ranked fourth all-time in program history in points (1,955) and second in rebounds (1,078).

After leaving Duke, Williams moved on to play professionally in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

A fourth overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft, Williams has suited up for the Connecticut Sun and the Atlanta Dream.

In two WNBA seasons, she has averaged 8.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks over 55 regular season games.

This past year, she was tabbed the 2016 WNBA Most Improved Player after leading the Dream in rebounding and blocks.

Williams’ career also included major accomplishments at the international level as she led USA Basketball to three gold medals as a member of the U19, U17 and U16 World Championship teams.

“Elizabeth has impacted Duke women’s basketball and Duke University in a remarkable way,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said.

“Her talents, work ethic, and academic focus combined with her enormous individual success on the court separate her from so many other student-athletes across the country. All of us at DWB are so excited for this very special, rare, and unique recognition. Elizabeth joins two other very special former Duke women’s basketball players in a very elite fashion as her No. 1 is raised in Cameron. This truly is the highest honor possible and certainly well-deserved. Congratulations, Elizabeth – we all are so grateful for your commitment to Duke University and Duke women’s basketball.”

About Peter Koutroumpis 1598 Articles
Peter Koutroumpis is an alumnus of the University of Toronto and Bowling Green State University. Living in the Raleigh area, he has been involved and employed in organized sport and competition as a player, official, teacher, coach, administrator, and volunteer. With more than 20 years of experience in sport event management and programming, as Owner and Managing Editor of the Triangle Sports Network, a set of online sports news sites, he provides a variety of perspectives on the amateur and professional sports landscape including the NCAA, NHL, NBA, PGA, and LPGA, and more.