There is clearly no shortage of talent on the Perth Lynx’s roster this season.
We’ve already discussed the influx of high impact imports like Ariel Atkins and Imani McGee-Stafford, brought in to bolster the stalwart efforts of Alison Schwagmeyer-Belger and Lauren Mansfield. But one of the young guns has made her presence felt in the 2019/20 campaign too, and it’s a name that you’ll be hearing a lot in Australian basketball over the next few years.
Nes’eya Williams, at only 18 years of age, is an exciting prospect for the Perth Lynx. Brought up through the Lynx’s pathway academy, Williams already has some impressive accomplishments on her fledgling resume.
Earlier this year, she proved to be an integral member of the Apunipima Australian Indigenous Basketball All Stars women’s roster that went undefeated in the International Indigenous and Cultural Basketball Tournament. Still 17 at the time, Williams was a force to be reckoned with on the boards throughout the tournament.
It should come as no surprise, then, that in her first WNBL action on the year — part of a convincing season opening win over the Sydney Uni Flames, 79-62 — Williams looked right at home once she got on the court. In just under 15 minutes of play, she scored 10 points on 80% shooting, snagged 4 rebounds and dished out an assist for good measure.
That combination of efficiency and physicality will find her a role on any team, and she’s only going to get better as the season wears on and she becomes more familiar with the WNBL tempo. She hasn’t had a chance to have that same kind of impact in the two games since, as the pair of tightly contested losses required heavy usage from the Lynx’s headliners, leaving less than ten minutes for Williams in total.
Perth's next match up with the 2-1 Adelaide Lightning may look much the same as Perth fight to level their record, with McGee-Stafford likely to see the lion’s share of minutes as the Lynx’s resident rebounder.
However, looking ahead, Perth ought to be favoured in its next three contests, hosting the Townsville Fire before taking on Sydney Uni twice. Obviously, no games are automatic and the Lynx will keep their foot on the pedal throughout, but if they can get enough momentum to experiment with their lineups, Williams could see more extensive action on the court — particularly as she has already shown an ability to perform against the Flames.
This could be the narrative for Williams throughout the 2019-20 campaign, as her time on the court ebbs and flows as the fate of the Lynx goes, but we’ve already seen what she can do with extensive play time. If she continues to develop at the rate she has throughout her young career, she will soon become a key member of the Lynx’s rotation as they continue their ascent up the WNBL ladder.