Bridges & Williams Enter the International Spotlight

Mercer Women's basketball set to take on Coastal Georgia in their first game of the season

Image: Mercer Marketing and Communications

Mercer Women’s basketball set to take on Coastal Georgia in their first game of the season

Emma Peel, Staff Writer

Former Mercer women’s basketball players Precious Bridges and Briana Williams are finally living out their childhood dreams. The two graduates recently signed to play professional basketball internationally — Bridges with C.B. Arxil Pontevedra in Spain, and Williams with the Pepi Sport Agency, which has found her a spot with the ŽKK Budućnost Podgorica team in Montenegro.

Both Bridges and Williams led the basketball team throughout their Mercer careers. Bridges was named the 2015 Southern Conference Player of the Year as a senior and was honored as a first team all-conference selection. During her final season as a Bear, she lead the team in points-per game, minutes of playing time, assists, and steals. She was the highest scorer in the SoCon (averaging 20.5 points per game) and ranked 21st in the entire nation.

In July, Bridges was contacted to play professionally by ŽKK Budućnost Podgorica, which has won five consecutive national cups and four national championships. She is enjoying the journey so far, but notes that living abroad comes with challenges.

“Playing overseas is not home,” Bridges said. “Let me just put that out there — it’s different. Different people, different language, different food, just a different lifestyle. It has been hard to adjust to the eight-hour time difference, but other than that, I enjoy learning something new every day in and outside of the basketball world.”

Bridges said that she has “some goals to accomplish in the pro world” before she hangs up her shoes. Afterwards, she would like to try her hand at coaching college basketball.

Like Bridges, Briana Williams’ monumental success on the court during college prompted a professional contract offer to come her way June of her senior year.

“I dreamt of [playing professionally] when I was a little girl, but I honestly just didn’t think I was good enough,” Williams said. “But, so many people said they knew I could do it, and that just finally motivated me to make the decision. If they had so much confidence in me, I thought I should too. So, towards the end of my last season, I started making moves for my future. I contacted some people myself, and those connections came through. And everything … fell into place from there.”

Thus far, Williams said she is enjoying the “roller coaster ride” of playing professionally overseas.

“Overall, I am definitely starting to get a feel for everything,” she said. “As long as I’m doing what I love, I think it’s all worth it because so many people wish they could … have this opportunity. I’ll [continue] playing until God says differently. Could be tomorrow, could be 10 years from now.”

However, choosing the professional sports path does not come without sacrifices.

“First of all, it’s a whole new country which means experiencing a totally different culture,” William said. “It’s also difficult because I am so far from my friends and family for such a long time. As far as basketball [goes], I have to adjust to the different style of play and coaches and players not being able to speak English. Some do speak but not very well, so you find yourself a step behind.”

Bridges and Williams are the third and fourth Mercer women’s basketball players to play professionally, joining the ranks of Sybil Blalock and Andrea Congreaves.