Palmer has power, Jen has moves.
So say Theresa Palmer and Jennifer Williams. They also say you couldn’t have had one without the other, at least not the ones who have developed into Division I college basketball players.
The 6-foot-1 Gonzaga Prep seniors have been called the Twin Towers, but their definition would be Outside and Inside or, as they put it, Power and Moves. Together, they make up a mutual admiration society, which comes from three years of banging on each other in practice.
“We’re different type of players,” Williams said. “Palmer likes to play more 5 (center). I kind of like to move out more and play outside the key, more of the 4 (power forward). I can (play center), I don’t mind doing it, but I think I play better when I pass to Palmer.
“We have a unique situation, we never try to outscore each other. We work well as a unit… . all those layups I missed, Palmer picked up. We try to practice against each other to get better, but it’s hard. Palmer is so strong. She’s an awesome 5.’ “
Palmer said, “I’m always inside. It’s nice to be there to rebound. I like it down there. Jen’s really awesome passing to me. Jen is totally selfless. But when I miss, Jen’s there to put it back in. Jen has the moves.”
The combination must continue to work well for the Bullpups. They face Lewis and Clark tonight in the District 8 tournament and the season will end for the loser. The winner advances to regionals, where three berths to state will be on the line.
With a height advantage over most teams, Williams and Palmer know there is pressure to win - and they think they can - but there have been setbacks along the way.
As sophomores, Williams started and averaged about eight points, Palmer added five as a key reserve, and classmate Dani Thorn was the point guard in waiting. However, Thorn blew a knee playing soccer her junior year and missed the season, forcing her basketball teammates into unfamiliar roles. Williams averaged 13.5 points and Palmer 11.2 for a team that lost by four in the district loser-out game. , Thorn returned this year, but midway through the Greater Spokane League season, she broke a finger. She’s just returning, so the unit still hasn’t had the time it needs to run perfectly.
Prep coach Mike Arte believes Williams and Palmer, by working together, do more than make themselves better.
“The key thing about Jennifer and Theresa is they make the other people on the court better,” he said. “We didn’t play well at the first (of the season), we depended too much on Jennifer and Theresa, but they’ve made the others confident. When we need a basket, we know who we can go to, but the others know they’re pretty good players themselves.”
“Palmer and I could be 6-6 but we’re only as good as the team,” Williams said. “I think it’s all going to fall into place. We have to get over that hump. We’re right there, we have to take it one step further.”
Palmer said, “I wouldn’t say I have unfulfilled goals. Obviously, it would be nice to win state, but we can’t anything about what we didn’t do. We’ve got to get geared up for what we’re going to do.”
Palmer is averaging 14.5 points a game and Williams 12, but Lisa Bradley has become a threat, Thorn is gaining confidence and the under-classmen are gaining experience.
Arte said state is a realistic goal.
“They have three goals, getting the highest seed possible in District (No. 3), make regional, see what happens after that,” he said. “We haven’t beaten Mead and Central Valley in the big games yet, but we have another chance.”
Going to state would cap what Williams and Palmer consider amazing careers. Both admit their only concern when they started at Prep was to make varsity. Now, regional is a win away, state is an attainable goal and next fall will see Williams heading off to University of New Mexico and Palmer to Loyola Marymount.
“I still can’t believe it,” Williams said.
“Me neither,” said Palmer.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: DISTRICT 8 AAA GIRLS Today Game One: No. 6 Lewis and Clark vs. No. 3 Gonzaga Prep, 3:45 p.m. (Winner to regionals, loser out) Game Two: No. 5 Rogers vs. No. 4 Ferris, 7:15 p.m. (Winner to regionals, loser out) Thursday Game Three: No. 2 Mead vs. highest remaining seed, 3:45 p.m. Game Four: No. 1 Central Valley vs. lowest remaining seed, 7:15 p.m. Friday Game Five: Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 3:45 p.m. (Winner No. 3 to regionals, loser No. 4) Game Six: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 7:15 p.m. (Winner No. 1 to regionals, loser No. 2)