Former Spartan On A Mission Too Succeed

Former Spartan On A Mission To Succeed
San Jose Mercury News, Staff Writer Vytas Mazeika, Thursday, March 25th, 2010,

Angelica Williams was on a mission this past season, and where better than Mission College in Santa Clara to achieve her objective. After a few tumultuous years, the 19-year-old found balance both on the basketball court and in the classroom, something that's been lacking since her junior year at Mountain View High — and probably long before that.

"I'm proud of Angelica," Mission College coach Corey Cafferata said. "She's a handful, but Angelica has matured and she proved that she could be coached and she could be a student."

A forward for the Saints, the 5-foot-11 Williams averaged 21.3 points and 13.6 boards per game — good enough for second in scoring and tops in rebounding among freshmen in the state.

Mission, a member of the Coast South, finished 8-19 — an improvement from a 2-26 season in which the Saints broke an 89-game losing streak.

"We're building, and Angelica is a big part of that," Cafferata said. "Next year I may not be the center of attention or the star," Williams said. "This was my year to be seen, and next year we'll be seen as a team because I know we'll win a lot more games and we'll make it to playoffs. I know that for a fact."

The Cafferata and Williams relationship dates back to middle school, when Williams joined the Race Express club team coached by Cafferata. The trust in one another grew throughout the years. But while Cafferata enjoyed success coaching at Westmoor-Daly City (including a trip to the NorCal playoffs in 2006), Williams never found her footing at Mountain View.

Her final high school game came in November of 2006. She skipped her senior season and eventually graduated from Alta Vista High, a continuation school. To make matters worse, Williams suffered a knee injury that required surgery and sidelined her last season.

But Cafferata never lost touch with Williams.

"I understand Angelica, I know what she's about, and I trust her," Cafferata said. "And when you have that in any kind of relationship, that goes a long way." That's why when Cafferata was hired last summer to jump-start the women's basketball program at Mission, one of the first to join the cause was Williams.

"With Corey, he cares about me as a person," Williams said. "I've shown loyalty to him, he's showed loyalty to me, and so I know he wants to get me to a four-year school. He wants to get me a scholarship. Those are his goals."

The first obstacle was getting back into basketball shape — both body and mind — after missing roughly 2 ½ seasons. "At first I thought it was going to be a piece of cake," Williams said. "But there was still an adjustment because it was no longer high school."

While she possesses the ability to hurt opponents from the perimeter, Williams excels in an isolated post game. "I want the ball, and I want the ball to go into the hoop," Williams said. "I fight for the ball because we need to outscore people. That's the way we play basketball."

She broke the school's single-game record with 38 points — the second-best performance by any female junior college player in the state all season.

"It's about confidence," Williams said. "And I just felt I was unstoppable. I'm not saying I'm the best, but when you're in that mindset where you think you can't be stopped, you really can't. Whatever you think, that's what is going to happen."

Despite her effort, the Saints still finished next to last in the Coast South with a 2-10 mark. So Williams can't wait until the next wave of recruits comes to campus and turns Mission into a winner — something that sounded ludicrous not so long ago.

Peter Anning
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