Natalie Williams Welcomed to Hall of Fame

— Fever Rebounding Star Natalie Williams Welcomed to Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

For the third straight year, an Indiana Fever coach or former player will earn induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Following the induction of coaches Lin Dunn (2014) and Gail Goestenkors (2015), former Fever post player Natalie Williams will earn her place in the hall of fame this weekend in Knoxville, Tenn., joining Sherri Coale (coach), June Courteau (contributor), Joe Lombard (coach), Jackie Stiles (player) and Bill Tipps (contributor, posthumously).

With its Class of 2016, the WBHOF also will recognize the 1996 US Olympic Team for its contributions to the game in a display at the Hall entitled “Trailblazers of the Game.” The 1996 Olympic team produced 10 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductees.

Williams was an Olympic gold medalist with the 2000 U.S. women’s basketball team in Sydney, Australia, and was a two-time Kodak All-American while at UCLA. She was the first woman to earn All-American honors in both basketball and volleyball in the same year. Williams was a three-time All-WNBA 1st team selection and a three-time WNBA All-Star.

Her mark in the WNBA was felt most heavily with the former Utah Starzz (1999-02), who relocated to San Antonio prior to the 2003 season. During her relocation drive to San Antonio, with moving van in tow, she received the phone call informing her of a trade to Indiana. She quickly changed course and, for the next three seasons, she teamed with Tamika Catchings to lay the foundation to what has become Indiana’s 11 consecutive seasons in the WNBA Playoffs.

Natalie Williams

Natalie Williams

In 2003, Williams, then one of the game’s most prominent rebounders, teamed with Catchings, Nikki McCray and coach Nell Fortner – all of whom represented the United States in the 2002 World Championships. The WNBA rebounding leader in 2000 and a top-ten rebounder every season from 1999 to 2004, Williams still if fifth among career rebounders in Fever history.

Currently 23rd in WNBA history with 1,832 career rebounds, Williams averaged 11.59 caroms per contest in 2000, which remains the third-highest mark in league history. She finished her seven-year career with averages of 13.1 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Her three-year Indiana career produced averages of 10.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

By 2005, her final pro season, the Fever advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, where it returned seven times in the next 10 seasons.

Tamika Catchings

Tamika Catchings

Highlights from Hall of Fame Weekend —