TOPEKA (KSNT) – Topeka native Peyton Williams didn’t always see basketball in her future, but as of April 20th, she has a WNBA training camp invite with the Seattle Storm.
“Obviously, to get a call from them was exciting,” Williams said. “Just to know you’re playing with the proven best-of-the-best makes it so much cooler to be in camp with them.”
Williams graduated from K-State in 2020, where she averaged 12.1 points per game through 116 games started. This past year, she began her professional basketball career in Russia for Spartak.
“It was different,” Williams said. “Obviously, basketball’s a little different fundamentally over there. Russian basketball and European basketball are in general, so that took some adjusting. There’s lots of plays, at least on my team. They go fast and are very synchronized.”
Starting her career overseas during a pandemic made a new country seem like a new planet.
“They’re not supposed to let people in if you’re not a native Russian, or unless you have a highly specialized work reason, which I did, but it was always like an interrogation every time trying to get back into the country. It was scary sometimes because they were not letting me in and the plane was about to leave. It was intense. It was like a movie.”
Williams is a skilled rebounder. She led Spartak with an average of 9 rebounds per game. She plans to use this, among other skills and attributes, to turn her training camp spot into a full-time position.
“I hustle the floor,” she said. “I’m a good rebounder. I think just playing in that high-caliber league we were in and competing with some of those high quality players was just testament to me as a player.”
It was hard for her to notice how she was improving since she was in an entirely new system, but Williams is ready to bring a sense of newness and excitement to the Storm.
“I think sometimes your timing proves to be the wrong timing,” she said. “You want everything to happen just as you have it planned. It’s been the pandemic’s timing, but I think God’s timing is also just not what you expect, but when it comes back around again. For me, the extra experience I had in Russia was nothing but helpful, so I can take that with me going into camp.”