California State University Bakersfield's dedication to Holmes Community College sophomore guard Aja Williams over the last few years in the recruiting process paid off for them Wednesday as she inked with the Roadrunner basketball program.
CSU Bakersfield, who finished the 2014-15 with a record of 23-9 and 11-3 in the Western Athletic Conference, made an appearance in the Women's NIT last season. On their 2015-16 schedule, they will face nationally-ranked South Carolina, Oregon State and Arizona State.
"I decided to sign with Cal. State Bakersfield because throughout high school and Juco they have remained loyal by constantly checking on me to make sure I'm doing good in school and on the court," Williams said. "Out of all they schools they stayed by my side through everything. They also have a history of sending girls off to play overseas."
"I'm an all-around guard," Williams said of their pursuing her. "I can bring a lot to the table. I play differently than a lot of girls on the west coast."
In 2014-15, Williams averaged 18 points per game and helped lead the Lady Bulldogs to postseason play in both the MACJC and Region XXIII Tournaments. She pulled in 130 rebounds and had 2.7 assists per game and 1.3 steals per game. So far this season, Williams is 10th in the NJCAA with 23.3 points per game. She is shooting 50.9 percent from the floor and is averaging 4.3 rebounds per game and 1.7 steals.
Williams said she's worked hard on her game since last year. "I've improved since last year," she said. "I am still working to improve my defense and reduce my turnovers."
Even though the Lady Bulldogs are 1-2 on the season, Williams expects this year's team to have a great year. "I think we will go all the way and compete," Williams said. "Even if we don't win, we want compete and show that we have the talent to compete against any team. We have amazing girls this year. We just have to come together as a team."
"I'm very proud of Aja," Holmes Head Coach Jamilah Andrews said. "She has worked diligently on improving her all-around game and has committed herself to doing well in the classroom."
"It makes me very proud to see my players advance to the next level," she said. "Again, they work extremely hard. We as coaches also work exceptionally hard in preparing the girls for the transition. Seeing them mature into young ladies and further their career means a lot."