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Sky's disperal draft pickup has a special 'Twist' to it
By Patricia Babcock McGraw | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 12/13/2008 12:02 AM

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The Chicago Sky may have more musical tie-ins than any other team in the WNBA.

From Day 1, Michelle Williams, of the musical group Destiny's Child, has been a minority owner of the Sky. Williams has occasionally sung the national anthem before games at the UIC Pavilion.

Now, maybe Sky fans will be doing "The Twist" during timeouts.

On Tuesday, as part of the dispersal draft that reallocated players from the now-defunct Houston Comets to other teams in the league, the Sky picked up 6-foot-3 forward Mistie Williams.

The former Duke standout happens to be the daughter of 1960s singing sensation Chubby Checker, who recorded the smash hit "The Twist."

"I still can't do (the Twist) as good as my dad," Williams once said in an interview.

She can probably hoop a bit better than her dad, though.

Williams is the winningest player in Duke history, playing a part in 127 victories before graduating in 2006. She became just the fifth Duke player to register more than 1,400 points and 800 rebounds in a career.

Checker saw some of his daughter's best moments first hand.

Even though Williams' mother, Pam Bass, and Checker never married, Williams has maintained a close relationship with her father. Before the final home game of her Duke career, he sang the national anthem.

"I've always had a relationship with my father, and my mother's done a great job of making sure I knew there was always love there," said Williams, who married former North Texas basketball player Kenny Williams after her sophomore year at Duke. "It's only gotten stronger as I've gotten older."

Williams was drafted 21st overall by the Comets in the 2006 WNBA draft. She played in 32 games in 2008 averaging 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.

A native of Janesville, Wis., Williams (nee Bass) helped Parker High School win a state championship two years in a row. She is the only player in state history to be named Player of the Year three times.

Kudos, Coach: What a career for DePaul softball coach Eugene Lenti.

Already, he's the university's all-time winningest coach and he'll be the next NCCA coach to reach the 1,000-win plateau.

On Friday, he hit another highpoint when he was enshrined into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Entering his 28th season, Lenti boasts 983 wins and has taken 16 teams to the postseason, including four since 1999 that have gone on to the Women's College World Series.

Lenti has coached 22 all-Americans, 96 all-conference selections and 17 conference players or pitchers of the year.

Strong state(ment): Gov. Rod Blagojevich may be trying to sell off the state of Illinois, but the DePaul women's basketball team owns it - at least on the hardwood.

The Blue Demons (8-2) boast a 33-game winning streak against Illinois schools entering their 2 p.m. Sunday game against Northwestern (2-6) at McGrath Arena in Lincoln Park.

DePaul has six Illinois teams on its schedule this season and has already defeated Illinois State, Southern Illinois and Loyola. In addition to Northwestern, the Blue Demons must still face, Northern Illinois (Dec. 18) and UIC (Dec. 22).

Army girl: She may not get more done before 6 a.m. than most people do all day, but Loyola senior Pam Staton is still pretty darn efficient.

She's found a way to successfully juggle her schoolwork and the time she puts in with the indoor track and field team.

The former Grant High School star athlete has been named the U.S. Army Horizon League Female Scholar-Athlete of the Week.

At the Early Bird Open at Illinois State last weekend, she earned first-place finishes in the mile run (5:04.93) and the 3,000 meter (10:27.52). In the classroom, Staton sports a 3.69 grade point average as a psychology major.