So, when some of that information was shared by ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe last Friday during the first half of UVA’s win over Clemson University in the ACC Tournament semifinals, Williamson became a symbol of hope for parents of children with spina bifida, a birth defect in which a developing baby’s spinal cord fails to form properly.
“I’ve received DMs on Twitter and Instagram from moms with young kids who have what I have,” Williamson said. “It’s just awesome to be able to encourage them and give them a little bit of a tangible thing to look at and go, ‘OK, my kid’s going to be fine.’”
A wonderful report from ESPN's @sportsiren during the #ACCMBB semifinal just now on @UVAMensHoops manager @annafwilly, a beloved member of the @VirginiaSports athletic dept.— bill hofheimer (@bhofheimer_espn) March 11, 2023
Revival is going to be one popular place in Charlottesville once she opens in August. pic.twitter.com/q2UTCKsSCa
Williamson’s turned out more than fine. According to UVA senior forward Jayden Gardner, she’s “the perfect embodiment” of coach Tony Bennett’s program.
Bennett’s fourth-seeded Wahoos on Thursday will begin play in their ninth NCAA Tournament in 12 seasons when they face No. 13 seed Furman University in a 12:40 p.m. first-round game in Orlando, Florida. The program’s winning culture has long been built on Bennett’s five pillars of humility, passion, unity, servanthood and thankfulness – all traits Williamson has embraced since arriving on Grounds in summer 2019.
“She’s someone who’s selfless,” Gardner said. “She has a big heart and she cares for everybody. She has a willingness to sacrifice her time to just be with us and serve us. She’s on top of everything.”
Williamson is one of two females among the 10 student managers for the men’s basketball team. The philosophy major estimates she works eight hours on game days and another three to four hours each practice day. Her responsibilities include rebounding for players before and after practice, preparing Gatorade coolers, operating the game and shot clocks during practice and arranging pre- and postgame meals for the team.