Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Serah Williams: A rising force in Wisconsin Basketball

Unpacking phenomenal rise, impact of Serah Williams in UW women’s basketball
Julien Payen

In Wisconsin’s thrilling and gritty 69-64 comeback win over Penn State Feb. 11, University of Wisconsin women’s basketball star Serah Williams shone the brightest. After trailing by 14 at the half, the team rallied around her 23 second-half points to get the win with Williams saying, “[the team] just felt really proud of ourselves, you could literally feel that in the air.”

Williams finished the game with an outstanding 31 points and 15 rebounds, both tying season highs for her as well as setting a new program record with her ninth consecutive double-double.

This capped off a historic week for the 6’4” forward, as earlier she became the first Badger ever to be named on the Naismith DPOY Watch List, a prestigious list of the 15 best defenders in college hoops. When she saw the news, Williams couldn’t believe it.


“I was shocked. I still am shocked now. I had no idea I would be considered for something like that,” Williams said.

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Williams’ four steals and three blocks against Penn State proved her nomination well-deserved.

Williams grew up in Brooklyn, New York, with her mother and two brothers. Growing up, she said she was never actually a huge sports fan, as she “…didn’t watch a lot of NBA or WNBA until [she] started playing,” but right now her idol would be A’ja Wilson. It’s fitting that as a defensive star, Williams idolizes the 2-time DPOY winner. Williams moved to Toronto in 2018 and was just as much of a force in high school as she is now. In her senior year, Williams averaged 18.1 points, 14 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and two steals per game. These standout statistics earned her a spot on the 2022 All-Canadian All-Star team. At every level Williams has played, she has dominated.

Williams’ time as a Badger started strong and continued upwards. In her freshman season, Williams averaged 12.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game, earning her All-Freshman honors by season’s end. This season, she’s improved drastically on all of those marks, averaging 18.2 points, 10.7 rebounds and three blocks per game. Williams has developed into a dominating low-post presence on both ends of the court. With an array of low-post moves and a soft touch at the rim, she has proved a consistent force for a middle-of-the-pack Badgers squad this season.

But Williams would be the first to tell you she’s not all layups, as her jumper has shown real improvement this season. Williams is 7/19 on 3-pointers this season, after only attempting three her freshman year.

“It’s about the confidence along with the skill aspect of it, you gotta be confident just throwing it up,” Williams said about the increase in 3’s.

Along with her threes, Williams has greatly improved her free-throw percentage from 67% last season to 80% this season, suggesting there’s more potential yet to be unlocked within her offensive game.

Where Williams has impressed most this year is on the defensive end — prompting her national recognition earlier this month. Averaging one block more per game this season, Williams’ paint presence has been sorely needed for a team that frequently starts a four-guard lineup. William’s role as the defensive anchor allows smaller players, like sophomore Ronnie Porter, to be aggressive and go for steals. Porter is tied for first in the Big Ten with 2.2 steals per game. Williams and Porter both lead the team in points per game and defensive rating.

“It just worked out that way” Williams said about the defense duo. “I love blocking shots and she loves competing as a defender.”

Together, they’ve given the team a defensive identity that head coach Marisa Moseley can continue to build on with this young Badgers team.

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In regards to Moseley, Williams credits a single phone call with the third-year coach as the reason she ended up in Madison. In a recent video posted to the Big Ten’s X page, Williams says it was a “20-30 minute” phone call that made her an instant Badger.

In that pivotal conversation, Moseley’s vision for the team resonated deeply with Williams, igniting her determination to play at Wisconsin.  Moseley’s emphasis on selflessness and instilling a winning mentality aligns perfectly with Williams’ values and ambitions, solidifying her commitment to the program. This personal connection and shared philosophy laid the foundation for Williams’ successful journey at Wisconsin, highlighting the transformative impact of effective coaching and player alignment.

Williams, now a sophomore, delivers dominant performances night after night, relentlessly pushing herself to surpass her previous achievements. Expressing aspirations to play professionally for several years and beyond, Williams exhibits a relentless drive to excel. With this determined mindset, she is set to continue shattering records and garnering national acclaim for her exceptional abilities on the court.

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