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Williams goes 18th in 2021 WNBA Draft

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Senior point guard Kiana Williams was drafted 18th overall by the Seattle Storm on Thursday. Williams becomes the 27th WNBA draft pick in Stanford history. 

After winning the national championship, Williams will be joining the reigning WNBA champions, led by point guard Sue Bird and forward Breanna Stewart. 

“I have the opportunity to go learn from Sue Bird, one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game,” Williams told ESPN’s Holly Rowe. “I’m just going to go there and soak as much information in as possible. I’m leaving one winning atmosphere and going to another.” 

When she declared for the draft, Williams noted that she accomplished both of her goals: earning a degree and winning a national championship. Williams won the title in her hometown of San Antonio, the storybook ending to one of the greatest Stanford careers. She led the team in points, assists, 3-pointers and minutes. She was the conductor.

Williams never missed a game, playing in all 137 contests and starting the last 128 following her first start against UNLV. 

She has always been coached hard, whether it was her father Michael Williams, who hit his daughter in the face twice with his passes, or associate head coach Kate Paye, who refused to treat Williams like a freshman. Immediately in her first year, Williams led the team in 3-pointers. Despite not starting the first nine games, she played the third-most minutes on the team and finished second in assists with most of her minutes coming at the off-guard. That season, she had 67 assists to 40 turnovers, the worst ratio of her career. 

By her sophomore year, Williams was part of a big three with DiJonai Carrington ’20 and Alanna Smith ’19. She led Stanford in 3-pointers, minutes and assist to turnover ratio, and was second in points to Smith.

As a junior, Williams led the team in points for her first time and also field goals, 3-pointers, assists and minutes. She recorded one of the most memorable 3-pointers of her career during that season with a game-winning buzzer-beater against Colorado.

She will leave Stanford with the program record for career 3-pointers: 311. Her 1,834 career points rank 10th in program history, her 464 career assists are ninth and her 83.3% free throw percentage is tied for the second-best in program history.

She topped off her senior year with awards. She was named an All-American by the WBCA, Associated Press and USBWA. In the NCAA Tournament, she was the Alamo Region Most Outstanding Player and earned the same award at the Pac-12 Tournament. 

Stanford’s last pick in the draft came in 2019, as Smith was picked eighth to the Phoenix Mercury.

Carrington, who used her medical redshirt to transfer to Baylor this past season, was drafted 20th by the Connecticut Sun.

Now Stanford is rewarded with the opportunity to replace one of its all-time great players. Junior Jenna Brown and freshman Jana Van Gytenbeek are both options to run the Cardinal offense. Brown was the second-ranked point guard in the 2018 HoopGurlz list behind South Carolina’s Destanni Henderson, but missed this past season with an injury. As a freshman, Van Gytenbeek played in the minutes during which Williams was rested but otherwise spent her time on the bench in a chair located between head coach Tara VanDerveer and Paye. 

Most likely, Final Four Most Outstanding Player sophomore Haley Jones runs the offense as a point forward. 

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Daniel Martinez-Krams '22 is a staff writer in the sports section. He is a Biology major from Berkeley, California. Please contact him with tips or feedback at dmartinezkrams ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.