Ameshya Williams, Jackson State University
Photo: Jackson State University Athletics

With the WNBA Draft set to take place tonight, Jackson State center Ameshya Williams-Holliday could be on the verge of history if she is selected.

ESPN projects her to be a third-round pick by the Phoenix Mercury, which would make her the sixth HBCU player to ever be picked in the WNBA Draft.

In addition to there not being an HBCU draft pick by the WNBA since 2002, she would be just the second SWAC alum to be drafted. That distinction goes to Jaclyn Winfield of Southern who was drafted in 2002.

Williams-Holliday had an interesting college career that began in the SEC at Mississippi State but left after her second season for personal reasons.

In April 2018, Williams-Holliday became pregnant and two months later enrolled at Jackson State.

Jackson State head coach Tomeika Reed was a huge catalyst in the center enrolling into the school who at the time of her departure was the head coach at Hinds Community College.

Reed was hired by Jackson State at the same time as Holliday’s pregnancy and the two soon connected.

“Ameshya means everything to this program,” said Reed. “Just the start, just for us to even get her here into the program. Begging her to come play. To see her come and she has grown tremendously.”

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Still enrolled with Jackson State through online courses, Holliday gave birth to her son in December and decided to return to the basketball court the following season.

In her three years with the Tigers, Williams-Holliday averaged 15.9 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks being named to the All-SWAC and All-Defensive team each year. She was also named conference Defensive Player of the Year.

Jackson State head coach Tomeika Reed says WNBA teams should “take a chance” on Williams-Holliday.

This past season, Williams-Holliday was named SWAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, another in a long line of accomplishments after returning to the floor.

“I’m very thankful that I came back because I accomplished a lot,” Williams-Holliday said.  “It just build me as the person I am today and made me a better person and I thank Coach Reed for giving me a chance and I just got more to prove.”

Jackson State was SWAC regular-season champion in each of her three years with the team and won the last two conference tournament titles.

“You know, we’re trying to get her drafted,” said Reed following the Tigers’ first round NCAA Tournament loss to LSU last month. “You know, she’s a top player from Mississippi State. Had she been at Mississippi State right now, she would be top four on the draft board. But she chose to come to Jackson State University, and I don’t want her to be held back because of that.

“She did great for this institution, and I think she will be great in the WNBA. Someone take a chance on her.”


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