Duke to Retire Elizabeth Williams’ Number

The ladies involved with the women’s Duke Blue Devils basketball program have been in the limelight this week after upsetting the former number one ranked school, the University of South Carolina.  It was Rebecca Greenwell that led the way, earning her the award of espnW’s player of the week.  However, current players aren’t the only Blue Devils in the news.

Elizabeth Williams, current WNBA player and former Duke Blue Devil, is set to have her jersey number (#1) retired during the upcoming Duke v. Kentucky game on December 29th. For those not familiar with jersey numbers being retired, it simply means that the number will no longer be available for future players to wear when on that particular team.

Williams will become the third woman to have her number retired by Duke.  The other two women are Alana Beard and Lindsey Harding.

Elizabeth Williams is currently playing pro basketball for the Atlanta Dream.  She played at Duke from 2011 until 2015, before being drafted as the 4th overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft. Jerseys are not usually retired this soon after a player leaves a school, but Williams was a very special player during her time with the Duke Blue Devils.

Williams is the only player in history of the ACC to receive the honor of being named to the Associated Press All-American team four times.  During her four years with the Duke Blue Devils, Williams accumulated more than 1,900 points,  1,000 rebounds and 400 blocks, also a conference history first.

She plays both center and power forward positions and averaged 14.5 points, 9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 3 blocks per game during her senior year.  Over the course of her college career, she averaged 14.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.4 steals and 3.1 blocks.

While she is still relatively new to the WNBA, she has already started to show signs of a promising future.  This past season, Williams finished with averages of 11.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.3 blocks per game.  She led her team in both rebounds and blocks and finished fifth in total rebounds and second in total blocks in the entire WNBA.

After her successful career with the Duke Blue Devils, it seems only fitting that they would retire her number and hang her jersey in the hallowed rafters of the Cameron Indoor Stadium.  While she is only the third woman to have her number retired, there have been some pretty famous male players who have had their numbers retired for Duke as well.  Williams’ jersey will hang in the arena alongside the jerseys for Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, Shane Battier, Jason Williams and J.J. Redick.

John Sill