Women's Sports

Williams named Big 12 nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year Award

The following is a press release from Iowa State Athletic Communications.

IRVING, Texas – Iowa State softball’s Sami Williams has been named one of two Big 12 nominees for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Williams joins Oklahoma State’s Ariane Ballner on the conference level nominees list.

The NCAA Woman of the Year award recognizes graduating female student-athletes for excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership. A total of 153 female student-athletes have been named candidates by conferences and independent schools across all three NCAA divisions.

The Woman of the Year Selection Committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will now choose the Top 30 honorees — 10 from each division — from the conference-level nominees. The Top 30 honorees will be announced in September. From there, the selection committee will narrow the pool to three finalists from each division. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will select the 2021 Woman of the Year from the nine finalists.

Williams capped her career as one of the greatest players in Iowa State history. She put together a staggering statistical season in 2021, while leading the Cyclone program to new heights. Williams broke single-season program records for batting average (.446) and home runs (21) on the year with 54 RBI and an incredible .902 slugging percentage.

The native of Laguna Niguel, California, is departing Iowa State as the school’s all-time leader in hits (329), doubles (79), home runs (67), RBI (180), runs scored (212), at-bats (833) and games played (253). Williams is also the Big 12’s all-time leader in career hits, doubles and total bases (627). Her 79 career doubles are tied for third-most in NCAA DI softball history. Her 627 total bases are fourth-most in NCAA history.

Williams is ISU’s all-time winningest player, having appeared in 128 victories during her time in the Cardinal & Gold. In 2021, she helped Iowa State earn the program’s first top-25 ranking in the NFCA Coaches’ poll on Feb. 23 following a 9-1 start to the season. She then led ISU to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1988, and first NCAA Regional Final appearance.

Off the field, Williams was a finalist for the 2021 Senior CLASS Award, and was one of five student-athletes nationally to be named a Senior CLASS Award Softball First Team All-American. She is also a four-time CoSIDA Academic All-American – the first student-athlete in the history of Iowa State Athletics to earn the honor four times.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.

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