Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Everything you didn't know about Duke's Elizabeth Williams

We thank Virginia Beach's own Elizabeth Williams, the top freshman in the country last season after a memorable year at Duke. EW took the time to chat with LadySwish during a brief window when she was back in town for a few days before heading back to Durham to spend the summer in chemistry class. Such is the life of a future doctor.

EW on going to college and being a doctor: It's pretty busy but it's not impossible. Duke has a program called CAPE. It stands for Collegiate Athlete Pre-Medical Experience. We meet every two weeks and a doctor will come in and talk to us. In the fall, we get to do clinic hours. We're the only undergrads who get to take histories and stuff because we get to shadow different doctors. Also there is a summer internship where you do the same thing. I'll probably do that next summer.

EW on balancing academics and basketball: Second semester was really good, which was surprising. My hardest class was Evolutionary Anthropology. There were only three tests and I didn't do all that well on the first one. But my grades are fine.

EW on her summer plans:  I took intro chemistry to refresh myself on chemistry because I hadn't taken it since junior year (of high school). The chemistry I'm taking in the summer is the prerequisite for Organic Chemistry. The second summer session I"m taking Organic Chemistry.

EW on why she wants to be a doc: I love it. The biology of it is so cool. I think being able to help people is great. One of my classes was called 20th Century Medicine. We were in groups and we got to analyze shows from different decades. Our group got to do "House." I've watched a few "House," so I kind of like it.  It's a bit extreme. His bedside manner is terrible.

EW on her stress fracture: It's a lot better. I think I can start running once I get back to school this week. It's the first time I haven't played in a really long time. I was playing USA Basketball the past few summers and this summer, especially, after USA Basketball, I came straight to school and started preseason stuff.

EW on her freshman moments: Our freshman class -- we actually have a name for ourselves. We call ourselves EJAK, for the first letters of each of our names: Elizabeth, Jenna, Amber and Ka'lia. When we're all together, we act like little kids. Before it was even Halloween we decided to get masks from, I guess, Walgreens. And we all walked around the dorms and masks and we'd knock on people's doors, the four of us and scare people. Mine was a Mike Myers mask. It was a plain white face. It was pretty terrifying. Jenna had the Jigsaw one from "Saw." Ka'lia had Frankenstein and Amber had a werewolf. We'd wear the masks all the time. I think we came into the locker room with our masks on.

EW on the hoop necklace around her neck: I wear this on game day. It's rare for me to not wear it on game day. I got it for Christmas when I was 11 or 12.

EW on what she's not a fan of : I'm not a tattoo fan. I don't have a Twitter, either. I have a hashtag: TwitterlessLiz.

EW on Duke: It's a really diverse campus. Even during orientation I met someone from France. I feel really comfortable there.

 Once the conference season, having different meetings with the coaches, they were willing just to let me play how I want to play. Having that backing behind me and knowing my teammates are supportive and want to see me in a leadership role in the future anyway, that was helpful.

EW on feeling it on the court: There was the triple-double (the Wake Forest game: 18 points, 16 rebounds, 12 blocks). And when we played at Virginia Tech (20 points in 25 minutes). I remember I was in a zone. I had scored a lot in the first half. I think I picked up two fouls with six minutes left in the first. But that game, I felt it.

EW on hating UNC: It's hard to explain. It's pretty easy to hate them. I went to the Duke-Carolina (men's) game because Amber's brother plays for Carolina. It was loud and hot in there. We were in the grad section. We were yelling a little bit. Once you get on campus, not only in athletics, Carolina is just like 'ooh.'

EW on her favorite PG/C combo: Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. I love Tim Duncan. He's so fundamental.  He's tough to defend. People always joke that the Spurs are old. They still had the best record and they still play as a team.

EW on movies: I watch "Mean Girls" over and over again. I've probably memorized that. That movie is so funny.

EW on what's she's good at (beyond basketball and school): I'm good at Guitar Hero. I'm on Expert. I played Temple Run for a little bit. My best is like 6 million.

EW on what she's not so good at: I don't communicate a lot. I'm pretty quiet. I'm not super outgoing. I'm not the most gregarious person. With basketball though, you have to be way more vocal, so you have to talk even if you don't feel like it. That's something I've been trying to improve on -- being a more vocal leader.

I don't know how to swim. That's something I'm not good at. I wasn't very good at track and field, either. I can't wait for all the Olympics. I love all those events. I can jump high, but I can't high jump.

EW on how she got into basketball: I was really bad. My family didn't know much about basketball. Nigerian soccer is a big deal, so even when I came here, I played soccer.  One of my dad's colleagues told him, 'Your daughter is pretty tall. She should play basketball.' We ended up finding a coach. When I first started I couldn't catch the ball. I was tall and really skinny. In AAU, the parents would call me Spider.

EW on balancing med school with a WNBA career: I know someone who's been in law school and played professionally -- the Penn State head coach Coquese Washington. She was in law school and played. Med school doesn't work that way. The way I'm starting to see it now is playing for a little bit and then going to school because they're two separate jobs.

EW on good dorm eats: I really liked the sweet potato pie in the Marketplace.

At home I only eat Nigerian food. Going to college, I ate more Mexican food than I had in my whole life.

EW on band: I loved band. I miss it actually. I was in concert band and played trombone. My brother is trying to play trombone and he plays piano.

I decided to do band in middle school, but I didn't know what I wanted to play. Our band instructor was showing us all the instruments and I looked at a trombone and thought, 'This one doesn't have any keys. It must be easy.'  That's the main reason I picked it. Surprisingly it had positions, so you had to memorize those, which is basically the same as memorizing finger charts.We had district band and I made first chair.

(Aside: Two china cabinets in the family's living room are overrun with trophies and medals -- including three golds from USA Basketball. She also point out a John Philip Sousa Band award from middle school.)

EW, who also speaks Yoruba, offers this phrase: Ba wo ni means hello (how are you?)

EW on a  quirky habit: I like Sudoku puzzles. They're fun.

EW on what she misses about Virginia Beach: I just had Tropical Smoothie today (her favorite is Kiwi Quencher). I really like that place. And they don't have 7-Elevens in Durham. I miss just being able to easily go see a friend.

EW on the future: It's definitely a blessing to be where I am. I love this team. I'm so excited for this year.

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