Austin Parkinson has always believed it, and on Monday afternoon Macee Williams proved she was the best women’s basketball player to ever suit up for the IUPUI Jaguars.
In a 56-46 Horizon League Tournament semifinal win over Milwaukee at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Williams became the all-time leading scorer in IUPUI Women’s Basketball history with a 17-point effort.
“In my opinion she’s the best player to play at IUPUI,” IUPUI coach Austin Parkinson, who earned his 200th win on Monday, said. “Been incredible all four years, gotten better each year, seen different defenses, and her maturity as a player has been off the charts. She’s a selfless superstar.”
IUPUI, the No. 5 seed in the Horizon League, led wire-to-wire to improve to 15-5 on the season and advance to the championship game against Wright State on Tuesday at Noon.
Williams passed Julie Rotramel (1,809) on the scoring list, and now sits at 1,823 points in her four-year career. Williams, who ranks second all-time in program history in rebounds completed the double-double with 15 rebounds, putting her just 10 away from the 1,000 mark.
“I just feel like for me it means so much for me and I think back to all my teammates helping me and helping me improve in my game,” Williams said. “All my awards and goals go back to my teammates.”
Williams, who recently earned her third-straight Horizon League Player of the Year (the first player in league history to achieve the feat), helped the Jaguars overcome a pair of regular season losses to the Panthers with a tough defensive effort. The regular season meetings followed a 13-day COVID-19 hiatus for IUPUI, and Milwaukee averaged 79.5 points in the pair of wins.
“It starts at practice and coming in ready to focus,” Williams said about the defensive effort. “Coaches have such a good game plan and just executing that, we can’t rtake our defense for granted.”
Last season IUPUI posted a 23-8 record and defeated Green Bay 51-37 to claim its first Horizon League tournament championship and punch its first ever ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
COVID-19 took the world by storm just days later, canceling the tournament – leaving Williams and her teammates striving to get back.
“I feel like it’s such good motivatin for us,” Williams said. “It feels like we didn’t really win since we didnt’ get to go on to the NCAA tournament, we take each day and really focus on the day and not on the next game.”
IUPUI and Wright State did not meet in the regular season. The Raiders improved to 17-7 overall with a 73-62 win over Cleveland State on Monday to advance to the finals. Wright State and IUPUI will meet at 12 p.m. with the game being aired on ESPNU.
“I’m excited for our league, I think the right teams are in the champinship game,” Parkinson said. “They’re talented. Angel Baker (17.9 points per game) is one of the best guards in the country, not just the Horizon League. We know it’s goig to be a challenging game tomorrow. Both teams will be ready to compete and ready to go.”