FSU Women's Basketball: Guard Ja'Leah Williams visits Florida State

Miami v Virginia Tech
Miami v Virginia Tech / Ryan Hunt/GettyImages

Since the Florida State Seminoles’ loss vs Alabama in the first round, things have been quiet for the women’s basketball team. Players like Sakyia White and Lucia Navarro entered their names into the Transfer Portal. However, there hasn’t been any new signees since the off-season. There’s still plenty of time for head coach Brooke Wyckoff and the staff to make moves. One of them could potentially happen soon. 

Seminole fans may have been caught by surprise on their social media pages recently. Of course, the world is discussing the Eclipse that took place Monday afternoon. However, a big visit took place as portal guard Ja’Leah Williams found her way to Tallahassee on Florida State’s campus. 

Ja’Leah Williams may not be a name that fans want to hear. It’s not because of her game but because she spent three seasons playing for the Miami Hurricanes. The Florida State-Miami rivalry has been around for decades and it translates to all athletic programs. However, Williams is looking for a new home. The Florida native may look to remain in her home state and represent garnet and gold. 

Williams averaged seven points per game along with four rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.6 steals. She became an important piece under head coach Katie Meier and helped the Hurricanes reach the elite eight in 2023. Williams capitalized off her fantastic sophomore campaign in helping the Hurricanes continue their contention in the ACC.

The harsh reality for the Seminoles is that Sara Bejedi is no longer with the program. Bejedi was an important piece to the team as she provided leadership, and maximum effort, and never backed down from any challenge. She was by far Florida State’s best perimeter defender as she applied tremendous ball pressure on the opposing team’s top scorer. With Bejedi’s departure, the question is who can fill that role of being the energizer who gives 100 percent effort every night. 

Just like Florida State landed Bejedi in 2020, the team can add another exceptional guard from the Transfer Portal. Williams is a veteran who understands how to win at a high level. In pressure situations, she knows how to be a leader and energize the team when needed. Williams could be another Sara Bejedi for Florida State but even better. She can be a jack of all trades on offense as she can score at all three levels but also take on the playmaking role. Williams’ goal is to make her teammates better as she understands the personnel around her and puts them in the best situations. 

Defensively is where Ja’Leah Williams thrives. Playing in a tough ACC conference meant you had to prepare for big matchups every game. Williams made sure to always set the tone on defense with her ball pressure, active hands, and ability to close out on shooters. During the 2023-24 season, Williams averaged 1.7 blocks, which was a tier below her freshman average of two. If there’s one way to describe her game, she’s going to look to get a stop on every defensive possession. 

Standing at 5’9, Ja’Leah Williams would fit in well at the starting wing position. She would have instant chemistry with the other players for Florida State due to her leadership and unselfishness on the court. Florida State is a program that continues to strive in the ACC and their 11 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances show for it. Landing in Tallahassee could be the move for Williams to continue her high-level play.

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