May 23, 2005
Champaign, Ill.- Former University of Illinois standout Angelina Williams became the first Fighting Illini to play in a regular season WNBA game when she took the floor in the Phoenix Mercury's season opening loss to Sacramento Saturday night. Williams was the 18th overall pick in last month's WNBA draft and was the third Illini to be selected in the draft, joining Tauja Catchings and Cindy Dallas.
"It's been a blessing being the first Illini to make it in the pros," Williams said. "It's a good start for the Illinois women's basketball program. It's been a very fast turnaround between the end of the college season and the beginning of the pro season. The major difference is the speed of the game. It's so fast paced but I'm catching on and learning quickly."
On Saturday against the Monarchs, Williams, who finished her Illinois career in March as the fourth all-time leading scorer in school history, scored five points on 2-of-6 shooting, including 1-of-1 from the free throw line while grabbing one rebound in 11 minutes of action in the 77-72 loss.
Williams will be competing close to home on Tuesday night when the Mercury travel to Indianapolis to take on the Indiana Fever at 7 p.m. at Conseco Fieldhouse. Illini fans can follow Williams' progress throughout the season at www.wnba.com/mercury.
Angelina Williams saw 11 minutes of action in her WNBA debut Saturday night.