Cougars add WNBL experience as Williams joins the Fam

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The Dentistry Plus Cockburn Cougars have not wasted anytime in NBL1 free agency, signing star point guard Jewel Williams for two years.

Williams is the reigning NBL1 West Youth Player of the Year averaging 17.3 points, 36% from three, and 3.4 assists per game, and she’s only 20-years old.

With an already established relationship with head coach Tyrone Thwaites from her WNBL experience, Williams is ready to take the Cougars a step-forward in 2022.

“I’m really excited to join the Cougars, their values line up with what is important to me,” Williams said.

“They are a great community with a big family focus – that’s why I’m here for two years and beyond.

“Cockburn was an easy choice for me, Tyrone (Thwaites) is a great coach the club is well put together.”

She also comes off three-years of experience in the WNBL, being a part of the Perth Lynx roster in 2020 alongsideĀ  Australian Opals Katie Ebzery and Darcee Garbin, as well as current the Cougar’s 2021 Most Valuable Player Jessie Edwards.

“I can’t wait to play with Jessie again, we went to the WNBL hub last season together.

“We have always had great on-court chemistry in the past and it will be exciting to build on that.”

Williams and Edwards played together for the Kalamunda Eastern Suns in the 2020 West Coast Classic season, where Williams averaged 19 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

Cockburn basketball head coach and chief executive Tyrone Thwaites said his eye has been on Williams for some time.

Williams already has an established relationship with Thwaites from her time at the Perth Lynx under former head coach Andy Stewart.

“I’ve known Jewel (Williams) for a long time, since her time in the under 16 state team, and her development in that time has been ridiculous,” Thwaites said.

“To be able to come out and say you’ve had three years of experience inside a WNBL program at the age of 20 is not something you hear everyday.

“Jewel has a great ability to split apart defence in transition and the half court, which will be great to have on our side this time rather than scheming against her.

“To top if off she’s really worked hard on her ability to shoot the ball, and for her to carry that momentum into 2022 and beyond is exciting for our women’s program.”

The Cougar Family prides itself on its ability to deliver on court as well as off-it, with Williams track record off the floor a big asset to Cockburn.

“Jewel has a significant background of community work, both as a coach and as a mentor.

“She volunteered to step-in and assist one of our WABL teams, is eager to be involved with our Aussie Hoops programs, and will be a great all round role model for our young women coming up through our junior ranks.”

The combination of on and off court talent leaves Williams placed to help the Cougars improve on their 6th placed finish in 2022, with her addition alongside the improving Kahlia Morgan and Jesni Cooper, and an injury free Haylee De Sousa and Tia Morgan.

“I know Tyrone wants the program to be aggresive at both ends, but most importantly, with a heap of energy and pride to go with it,” Williams said.

“That’s exactly where I want to step in and do it with Cougar pride, there’s plenty of talent and support here to make the jump a week further in the playoffs next year.

“The hard work has already started.”