SAN DIEGO — The UC San Diego women’s basketball team boasts an undefeated 26-0 record this season and junior forward Mikayla Williams has a lot to do with that. She’s never lived in one place long and because of that, she’s learned a lot about herself and about basketball.
From the time she was a young girl, Williams recalls living a nomadic lifestyle, moving from one place and one school to another, because of her father’s service in the U.S. Navy.
“Whenever I think of going back home, I don’t have a place that I think of or even where I want to move to next,” said Williams. “I don’t know, I’ve been to so many places and none of them really resonate as like, this is the last place.”
And it’s hard to keep track of where she’s been. Born in Yuma, Arizona, the public health major counts at least 14 different schools between the U.S. and Canada that she attended. Three elementary schools, four middle schools, four high schools and three colleges taught her an important skill.
“I guess it just made me a little more outgoing because I’d have to meet new friends, start new classes, meet new people each new place I went and so it kind of made me to be more adaptable I guess,” said Williams.
That experience has proven beneficial when it comes to basketball. She began playing at Great Oak High School in Temecula, bounced around in Los Angeles and ultimately landed at UCSD, where she leads the Tritons in scoring, rebounds and blocks.
“If you’re not improving, you’re peaking and when you peak, you’re going back down and no one stays flat forever,” she said. “So I definitely think that’s what helped me improve because as we had new freshmen come in, or even with Haleigh, our transfer, it’s been adapting myself into a new situation.”
The Tritons are one of only two undefeated teams in the nation and rank second in the country.
“You’re past successes don’t dictate your future wins so yes, we’re undefeated but that doesn’t mean because of our undefeated past, we’re going to keep winning these games,” said Williams. “So it’s basically about our attitude and how we come into each game. We have to be competitive, we have to want to win it.”
The 21-year old has one season of eligibility left before she graduates. After that, she says she plans to travel once again, hopefully overseas.
“Being paid to travel and play a sport I love is just so amazing so while I’m still young and my body can keep up with it, I want to continue seeing where basketball can take me,” she said.
One city, one country and one journey at a time.