Interviewed by Chris Pence
The Randolph-Macon women’s basketball team is off to a strong start in large part to the play of freshman center Kelly Williams. Williams is averaging 14.7 points per game and 11.7 rebounds per game with four double doubles in five games. We sat down with the Yellow Jacket’s emerging star to hear about the team’s early success.
Chris Pence: The team, and you in particular, are off to a hot start this season. What can you attribute that to so far?
Kelly Williams: Coaching staff. We gel together well as a team and have good captains in Kareema Conteh and Taylor Intermill. I really just think it’s because we get a long so well; it’s a fun atmosphere so that makes winning seem easier.
CP: The team was only projected ninth in the ODAC Preseason polls; what were your all’s expectations before the season started?
Williams: To prove the ODAC wrong, that we are much better than that projection and that we have a lot of young talent coming in this year that will have an impact on that projection.
CP: Have those expectations changed at all now?
Williams: We want to win the ODAC; I guess that’s every team’s goal. I don’t think the expectations would change whether we were ranked first or ninth.
CP: What do you think your team’s strong and weak points are in the early parts of this season?
Williams: We need to shoot more high-percentage shots, but we’ve improved on jump shots since our first game, so that will help us with our inside-out game.
CP: Coach LaHaye is the longest tenured coach here at R-MC and is somewhat of a living legend here having helped create a nationally-renowned program. What do you enjoy most about her coaching?
Williams: She’s most of the reason why I came here. I like that she’s been here for so long and the program that she has been able to build, along with the players that she recruits. She has not been a disappointment since I got here.
CP: Were her credentials an influence on your decision to come to R-MC?
Williams: That and I just like her personality; I liked her when I met her.
CP: You were a standout high school basketball player at Halifax Academy in Garysburg, North Carolina as well?
Williams: Yep, nobody knows where that is. Small town. Ha-ha.
CP: All-State, All-Conference, All-Area all four years, Team MVP all four years, Halifax Academy All-Time leading scorer….
CP: How do you think your success in high school helped prepare you for the next level?
Williams: In high school I was always the more dominant player and here, I just know I can’t do it by myself. I think that success in high school has helped me with leadership skills, though, in coming to the college game.
CP: What has been the toughest challenge you have faced so far in your transition from high school to the college game?
Williams: Balancing schoolwork and on-the-court time and getting rest when you need it. Just trying to be a successful student-athlete, because we are students before athletes and that is a big reason I chose to play at the Division III level.
CP: Do you have any basketball idols or model your game after anyone?
Williams: Not really…they called me Baby Shaq in high school…he’s not necessarily an idol though.
CP: Have you decided on a major of study yet?
Williams: I’m thinking about Accounting; I’m not sure, definitely something in Business though.
CP: It’s early in your college career but do you have any career aspirations related to your studies?
Williams: Not yet. I’m just kind of going with the wind right now.
CP: Is there anything you and the team do to help balance your studies with playing basketball?
Williams: We have required study halls and we have a day off here and there which is nice.
CP: What else do you like to do with your free time?
Williams: I like to go hunting and fishing.
CP: Have any special talents or anything people probably don’t know about you but should?
Williams: Ha-ha I don’t think I have any special talents.
CP: What is one thing you wish you were really great at but are actually really terrible at?
Williams: Ha-ha….singing. I’m a terrible singer. If I was a good singer then maybe I could sing in the car or something and not be embarrassed.
CP: You also lettered in volleyball all four years in high school? Were you able to follow the R-MC volleyball team’s successful season this year?
Williams: I did. I tried to come to every home game and worked a couple games too. I try to go out and support our other teams.
CP: So what’s one thing fans should keep an eye out for in the rest of the Yellow Jacket’s season?
Williams: Plenty more ODAC victories.