ESPN.com Names Duke's Williams Freshman of the Year

March 9, 2012

DURHAM, N.C. (GoDuke.com) -- Blue Devil rookie Elizabeth Williams continues to receive the hardware this season and the 6-3 center was awarded one of the biggest so far on Friday as she was named ESPN.com’s National Freshman of the Year.

Williams, who was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, ACC Rookie of the Year and named to the All-ACC First Team, has led the sixth-ranked Blue Devils this season averaging 14.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.8 blocks, 1.6 steals and 1.5 assists. She is also one of 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, which honors the national player of the year.

A native of Virginia Beach, Va., Williams tied the ACC single season record with nine ACC Rookie of the Week selections this season and became Duke’s fourth Blue Devil to be named ACC Rookie of the Year. Her nine weekly selections matched a record set in 1992-93 by Wake Forest’s Tracy Connor.

Williams joins only Alana Beard as Blue Devils who have been named National Freshman of the Year as Beard received the honor by USBWA, Sports Illustrated, Women’s Basketball Journal and CBS Sportsline in 2000-01.

Last week, Williams became just the third freshman in league history to be named to the All-ACC first team. She ranks second nationally with a 3.8 blocks per game average and owns the ACC freshman record for blocks in a season with 109. Williams also became the first league freshman to be named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Her 109 blocked shots is more than 200 Division I women’s basketball teams.

Williams posted one of only two triple-doubles this season in the league with 18 points, 16 rebounds and an ACC-record 12 blocked shots. In the ACC, the 6-3 center ranks fourth in rebounding (8.3), seventh in scoring (14.3), ninth in field goal percentage (48.8) and first in blocks (3.8).

In the Duke freshman record book, Williams is moving up many of the charts -- fifth in points (415), fourth in double-figure rebounds (8), 10th in free throws made (80), fifth in free throws attempted (135), tied for fourth in double-figure scoring games (23) and tied for eighth in 20-point games (3).