Incoming women’s basketball forward is paint presence

Alexa Williamson has scored 40 points or more in two games for Chartiers-Houston High School.

Associate head coach Way Veney described incoming recruit Alexa Williamson’s intensity and work ethic as “a coach’s dream.”

That drive propelled her to set a single-game scoring record of 40 points at Chartiers-Houston High School in Houston, Pennsylvania — and break it herself less than a month later.

“I think she plays with a lot of energy,” said Veney, who is also the team’s recruiting coordinator. “Her motor, she just never stops.”

The 6-foot-1-inch senior forward has shown it through her stat line during her high school games.

In her junior season, she helped lead her team to a regional championship, by averaging a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds per game.

Now in her final high school season, Williamson has elevated her play. She averages 26 points and 14 rebounds per game.

Williamson’s style of play will give the Owls a needed boost next season, Veney said.

“She’s just a presence in general because of her athleticism,” Veney said. “She’s going to be a good defender because she can protect the paint. She can block shots. She’s going to be a kid that’s going to have an immediate impact inside for us both on the offensive and defensive end.”

This season, Williamson averages eight blocks per game. Temple averages just two blocks per game, and its leading shot-blocker —sophomore center Shannen Atkinson — averages 0.9 blocks.

“My style of play would be pushing the ball in transition and running the floor,” Williamson said. “My role on the court is to rebound and play good defense.”

Williamson is one of two incoming recruits — North Carolina guard Marissa Mackins is the other.

Williamson sees her game as a good fit for Temple’s program because the Owls like to run a fast-paced offense and score transition points. Even with Williamson’s defensive skill set, she has made waves on offense as well.

Williamson set her school’s single-game record for the first time on Dec. 21 with 40 points against Burgettstown Area High School. She beat the record again when she scored 46 of her team’s 63 points against Aliquippa High School on Jan. 4.

In addition to Williamson’s game fitting well with Temple, she liked the opportunity to have freshman guard Desiree Oliver as a teammate. Williamson lives in the Pittsburgh area and plays Amateur Athletic Union basketball with the Western PA Bruins, Oliver’s former team.

“I’ve known of Desi for a couple years and got to know her more over the summer,” Williamson said. “Before she left for college, she’d come to our AAU practices and practice with us to help us out. Unfortunately, I never got to play with her but I am looking forward to playing with her at Temple.”

Williamson also developed a good relationship with Veney and coach Tonya Cardoza.

Veney said the coaching staff has had its eye on Williamson since her freshman year. The coaches and Williamson talked often throughout the recruiting process, she added.

Veney stressed the importance of building a rapport with a recruit because the coaching staff plays into a recruit’s decision. It worked with Williamson.

“Coach Cardoza and coach Way really made my recruiting process with Temple very informative and comfortable,” Williamson said. “I feel they are very genuine in their interest with me playing for them.”

“I am confident and happy with my decision,” she added. “It definitely was the best fit for me and the best match for the type of basketball I am used to playing.”

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