Peyton Williams earned a coveted spot to compete for the United States overseas this summer.
Williams, a rising senior for Kansas State’s women’s basketball team, was named to the U.S. Pan American Games national team thanks to her efforts at the team trials, which were held from Thursday to Monday at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Williams is only the second K-State player ever selected to play for the U.S. team, and the first since Laurie Koehn participated in the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. This will be the first time in Williams’ career that she will represent the U.S. in an international event.
Williams is one of 12 players on the roster, joining Bella Alarie (Princeton), Brittany Brewer (Texas Tech), Chennedy Carter (Texas A&M), Kathleen Doyle (Iowa), Tyasha Harris (South Carolina), Taylor Mikesell (Maryland), Beatrice Mompremier (Miami), Michaela Onyenwere (UCLA), Mikayla Pivec (Oregon State), Lindsey Pulliam (Northwestern) and Kiana Williams (Stanford).
Williams and the team’s other members will return to Colorado Springs for training camp from July 23 to Aug. 5. The team will then head to Lima, Peru, for this year’s Pan American Games women’s basketball tournament, which will be contested Aug. 6-10.
The U.S. team will be led by Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant, with Buffalo head coach Felisha Legette-Jack and Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer serving as assistants.
Williams, a preseason candidate for the 2019 Katrina McClain Award given to the nation’s top power forward, increased her scoring average for the third straight season, averaging a team-high 15.5 points per game last season. She also led the Wildcats in free throw percentage (.833) and rebounds per game (9.5).
An All-Big 12 first-team selection for the 2018-19 season, Williams grabbed 303 rebounds — a career high — and ranked first among conference players in rebound percentage at 26.6. Her rebounding total last season was the fourth best in a single campaign in school history, and the most since Nicole Ohlde grabbed 306 rebounds in the 2002-03 season.
Williams averaged a double-double in conference play, with 16.2 points and 10 rebounds per game. She became the first Wildcat to accomplish that feat since Kendra Wecker in 2004-05. Her 14 double-doubles led all Big 12 players in 2018-19, with that total ranking third in the Wildcats’ annals for a single season.
Williams also was just the second player in program history to claim a spot on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team, joining former teammate and three-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection Breanna Lewis. Williams ranked among the top 15 in the Big 12 in both steals (fourth; 1.9) and blocks (11th; 1.2) per game.
Williams is one of only four players in program history with 1,000 or more career points, 600 or more career rebounds and 80 or more career blocked shots.
Williams enters her senior season ranked 31st in school history for points (1,122), 16th in rebounds (659) and seventh in blocks (90) and free throw percentage (.812).