Powercat Profile: Peyton Williams shows leadership on women’s basketball team

Eyes on the goal, junior forward Peyton Williams looks to score against KU on Jan. 13, 2019. The Wildcats lost to the Jayhawks 61-54 in Bramlage Coliseum. (Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State women’s basketball team—like many teams—traditionally turns to veteran leadership when things aren’t going their way. For K-State, one of those leaders is junior forward Peyton Williams.

“I think our leadership has been really good in the timeouts,” head coach Jeff Mittie said. “[Senior guard Kayla] Goth and Peyton [Williams] are saying really good things in the huddle. … That coming from players is way better than coming from me.”

Her value to K-State is not just verbal leadership, though. She also helps K-State close out games when the time is almost over.

Take, for example, the last four minutes of K-State’s 59-48 win over the Oklahoma State Cowgirls on Wednesday, when Williams scored 12 of her 23 points and grabbed two of her 10 rebounds. She played 37 minutes total in the Wildcat victory.

The Wildcats’ lead prior to her outburst was just five points, but they won by 11 thanks mostly to offensive contributions from Williams and Goth.

In the game before Oklahoma State—a comeback win over Texas Tech—Williams scored 18 points, pulled down seven rebounds and played all 40 minutes.

Williams had another 20-point, 40-minute performance in an 87-69 rout of the then-No. 11 Texas Longhorns. This time, she secured eight rebounds.

“We were really cognizant of the ebbs and flows of that game,” Williams said. “We were on top of that and made sure that we didn’t get complacent or understanding that [Texas] is a top-25 team for a reason.”

Williams leads K-State with an average of 15.7 points per game, and she also averages 9.6 rebounds. She has exactly twice as many rebounds as the second place rebounder, senior forward Kali Jones—172 to 86. She is second in average minutes behind Goth with 34.5 minutes.

“[Williams is] a good communicator and a good floor leader,” sophomore guard Rachel Ranke said of her teammate. “On the floor, if things are going wrong, we’ll huddle up and she’ll talk to us and she’ll let us know that we need to stay together right now or we need to keep pushing.”

Williams, as a forward, is third on the team in 3-pointers made behind the two self-described “shooters,” Ranke and freshman guard Christianna Carr.

Williams, a Topeka native and lifelong K-State fan, does not just play basketball for K-State. She plays volleyball for head coach Suzie Fritz, too.

Peyton Williams celebrates K-State scoring a point on Oklahoma on Oct. 24, 2018. (Jordan Koster | Collegian Media Group)

“It’s a cool experience to watch for so many years and go to the camps, and hear my dad talk about K-State all the time, and cheer on the men’s team and the women’s team for so many years,” Williams said. “It’s awesome to play two sports.”

Williams said she prefers the sport she is playing at the moment, but generally prefers basketball because she’s been playing it longer.

Off the court, Williams said she enjoys a lot of the same things that any college student enjoys.

“I do a lot of reading, I watch movies and Netflix like any normal human,” Williams said. “I get coffee a lot with a lot of my friends. … I love just one-on-one time with some of my teammates, some of my friends. Just getting in touch with people, I love that.”

Hi! I'm Nathan Enserro, an alumnus from Olathe, Kansas. I graduated in spring 2022 with a Masters in Mass Communication, and I graduated in spring 2020 with a Bachelor's of Science in strategic communications from K-State. I covered K-State sports for the Collegian for four years.