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Williams on All-WNBA 1st team

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Utah Starzz forward Natalie Williams has made it a three-peat, named to the five-player All-WNBA first team for the third straight season — ever since she entered the league — in voting by a 60-member media panel announced on Thursday.

Williams received 259 votes, fourth-most in the league and 78 more than the next forward, Tina Thompson of Houston, who was named to the second team.

Leading voting was all-time WNBA leading scorer Lisa Leslie of the Los Angeles Sparks, who totaled 285 votes to runner-up forward Katie Smith of the Minnesota Lynx. Smith is the league's all-time single-season scoring champion with a 23.1-point average.

Williams was second in the league in rebounds (9.9) and double-doubles (17), eighth in field-goal percentage (.490) and minutes per game (34.3) and was 10th in scoring (14.2). Her scoring and rebounding averages were off some from 2000, her best in the WNBA, when she averaged 18.7 and 11.5. But she played the entire 2001 season with a fractured foot and led the Starzz into the playoffs for the first time. She was a mid-season all-star for the third straight season.

Starzz point guard Jennifer Azzi received 54 votes, missing making the second team despite winning the league's 3-point shooting championship (.514), being second in minutes (37.7), third in free-throw percentage (.917) and fourth in assists (5.3). Starzz forward Adrienne Goodson received six votes. Completing the first team are Houston guard Janeth Arcain and Cleveland guard Merlakia Jones.