by Dan Bell
Tamika Williams had good reason to be excited when the Lynx selected centers with their first two picks in the 2004 WNBA Draft. Williams is a power forward, but in her first two seasons with the Lynx, she had been an undersized 6-2 center. On draft day, she saw the opportunity to go back to her natural position. "I never have to hear '6-2 center' again!" Williams said. "I think we got exactly what we needed with our first two picks."
Drafting Nicole Ohlde and Vanessa Hayden allows Lynx head coach Suzie McConnell Serio to play Williams away from the basket more. "That's something that I've talked to her about, being able to hit that high post shot and being able to extend the defense," McConnell Serio said. "She was standing at the high post last year and they would sag off and help on the low post. She needs to make people aware that she is a threat from the high post."
The Lynx are looking for more scoring from Williams this season to go along with her strong rebounding game. In 2003, Williams averaged 8.9 points and established a WNBA record by shooting 66.8 percent from the field. (She is leading the league at 66.7 percent so far this season, hitting 24 of her 36 shots through seven games.)
Williams increased her scoring average to 16.7 points in last year's first-round playoff matchup with Los Angeles — an indication that she's capable of handling more of the scoring load. In fact, she recorded a career-high 22 points in the Lynx' win over Phoenix on Saturday, surpassing her previous high of 19 set on two occasions. She also added 10 rebounds in the game for her fifth career double-double. With a perfect 7-for-7 effort from the field, Williams has now made her last nine field goal attempts, tying her own club record.
Williams has also improved her basketball knowledge and insight, thanks to her job as an assistant coach with the Ohio State women's basketball team. "I've learned so much," she said about her coaching duties. "Just knowing different parts of the game, seeing different things, working on my game in certain aspects... Being able to coach has just really opened up (my eyes). Nobody told me I had to be a therapist, a doctor... all those things that go into being a coach."
Tamika answers your questions
Tamika Williams photo gallery
Williams' WNBA playerfile
June 5: Tamika's "Perfect Night"
WNBA.com: 20 Questions With Tamika Williams
May 26: Second Consecutive Offseason Community Award
May 16: Lynx re-sign Williams
2004 Lynx features archive