Fever Re-Signs Natalie Williams
Indiana Fever Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf has announced the re-signing of All-Star center Natalie Williams, after her designation as a core player for the franchise.
Each WNBA team is allowed to designate up to two core players. Core player designation is allowed for unrestricted free agents only, and the designation allows the original team exclusive negotiating rights with that player. Williams, who enters her seventh WNBA season in 2005, was originally acquired by the Fever prior to the 2003 season in a post-draft trade that included teammate Coretta Brown.
She was a member of the East All-Stars during her first Indiana season in 2003, and bears distinction as being the only player ever to play for the West and the East teams in WNBA All-Star history. She was on the West team in 1999 and 2000, and is a three-time All-WNBA first team selection (1999, 2000, 2001).
The mother of twins and an Olympic gold medalist in 2000, Williams owns distinction as the leading rebounder in U.S. women’s professional basketball history (2,683) and the second-leading scorer (4,420). Recently inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame where she was a two-sport All-American in basketball and volleyball, Williams averaged 10.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for Indiana in 2004. She averaged 13.4 ppg and 7.5 rpg in 2003.
“Re-signing Natalie was a priority for our franchise,” said Krauskopf. “She is a veteran player who returns strength and experience to our frontline.”
Williams is currently coaching at Skyline High School in her hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah. She added, “I am extremely excited to come back to Indiana. I feel like we have some unfinished business to do. We were held back last year, short of our goals.”
Williams is the first player signed during the league’s free agency signing period which began Feb. 1. Other Fever free agents include Niele Ivey, Kristen Rasmussen, Kelly Schumacher, Kate Starbird and Stephanie White. Tamika Catchings, drafted by the Fever in the same year as Ivey and Schumacher, is already under contract through 2006.