Latest: Thunder, Pelicans play, but focus on Monty Williams, tributes to wife Ingrid killed in crash

Update, Feb. 12, 7 a.m.

The Oklahoma Thunder dominated the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, but the focus throughout the somber night was squarely on Thunder coach Monty Williams and his wife, Ingrid. Ingrid Williams died in a car crash this week.

Pelicans players met with Monty Williams, their former coach, before the game, and Thunder fans and players paid tribute to Ingrid with a memorial outside the arena and a moment of silence inside before the game.

See the full story here.

Update, Feb. 11 at 4:15 p.m.

Two of the children of former New Orleans Pelicans coach and current Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams remain in the hospital after an accident Tuesday night that killed Williams' wife, Ingrid.

According to The Oklahoman, three of the couple's five children were in the car during the accident. One has been released. The other two remain hospitalized but are expected to be OK.

Original story

Ingrid Williams, the wife of former New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams, died Wednesday from injuries suffered in a head-on crash on a two-lane road in Oklahoma.

She was 44.

The Williams family has five children: Lael, Faith, Janna, Elijah and Micah.

Monty Williams coached in New Orleans from 2010-2014 before he was fired this past season after a first-round playoff exit at the hands of the eventual NBA champion Golden State Warriors. He’s now in his first season as an assistant head coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

According to The Oklahoman, Susannah Donaldson, 55, was driving south on S Western Avenue around 8 p.m. Tuesday when her car crossed the center line and hit a Ingrid Williams’ northbound sport utility vehicle head-on. She was rushed to University of Oklahoma Medical Center.

The report said Donaldson and her dog, who was riding in her lap, were dead at the scene.

In his time in New Orleans, Monty Williams was a popular leader among his players and known for his caring personality.

After the Pelicans’ win Wednesday night against Utah, superstar forward Anthony Davis said Ingrid Williams was like a “second mom” to him. Current head coach Alvin Gentry broke down into tears in his session with the media.

Pelicans players learned of Williams’ death about an hour before tipoff of their game against the Utah Jazz at the Smoothie King Center. They had a group prayer and a moment of silence.

“She was a sweetheart,” Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday said of Williams. “She was one of the sweetest ladies that I’ve ever met. She was definitely a warrior.

“Hopefully I get there one day where I have five kids and obviously my beautiful wife will be able to handle them kind of the same way she did,” Holiday said. “I feel like they kind of stuck to her like glue. Just kind of trailed behind her. I know that she loved him, and he loved her, and you can’t really put a price on that.”

Pelicans guard Norris Cole added: “Definitely we would love to see him (at Thursday's game). Comfort him, give him a hug, let him know that we’re praying for him. But at the same time, I totally understand if he is with his family and doesn’t want to be on the sideline. I totally understand. Basketball doesn’t matter when you talk about your family. Family always comes first.”

Said guard Eric Gordon: “She had a voice. She would always talk to people and would always be so kind. It’s just the toughest thing to see.”

In November 2014, Sports Illustrated documented how forward Ryan Anderson sought comfort in Monty Williams after Anderson found his girlfriend dead in her New Orleans apartment. She had hung herself.

“(Monty) huddled with his wife, Ingrid, and Ryan in the family room, praying. Ingrid’s brother had committed suicide recently. She knew not to say it was going to be O.K., because it wasn’t. “This is going to be hard for a long time,” she told Ryan, according to SI.

“Around 1 a.m., at Ingrid’s urging, Monty brought one of his sons’ mattresses down to the living room. There the two men lay through the night, Ryan curled on the sofa and his coach on the floor next to him. When Ryan wanted to talk, they talked. Otherwise there was only his muted sobbing. Finally, just after the sun came up, Ryan fell into a fitful sleep.”

(RELATED: 'Unspeakable sadness,' 'absolutely shocked': See NBA community reaction to death of ex-Pelicans coach Monty Williams wife, Ingrid)

Monty Williams and his wife met at Notre Dame where he played basketball for two seasons. In a story told by the University of Notre Dame, Monty Williams cited Ingrid and his faith when telling the story of how a heart-related ailment -- hypertrophic cardiomyopathy -- nearly ended his playing career before doctors cleared him to resume play after his freshman season.

"It was probably the most important time in my life because that's when my girlfriend, who was such an example of faith and Christian living, told me that I had to get things together in my life," Monty Williams said. "God was trying to get my attention . . . that he didn't put this on me but this was my shot to get my life together because where I was headed probably wasn't going to be a good place."

Funeral arrangements haven’t been announced. The Thunder host New Orleans on Thursday in Oklahoma City.

The Advocate’s Brett Dawson and Scott Kushner contributed to this report.

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