She doesn’t command the highlight, or the ground, like Paige Bueckers. She shouldn’t be, like Azzi Fudd, a cornerstone of UConn’s future.
But when the Huskies win their twelfth nationwide championship on Sunday night time, Christyn Williams may have been an enormous motive — partially as a result of she’s one of many largest causes her group is enjoying in Minneapolis.
Throughout 135 minutes in UConn’s first 5 event video games, the senior guard from Little Rock, Ark., has averaged 14.2 factors and 4.2 rebounds. Though she struggled early in Friday’s recreation in opposition to Stanford, a 3-pointer later proved electrifying, and she or he gave the Huskies offense an early foothold in Monday’s recreation in opposition to top-seeded North Carolina State in a recreation that in the end went to double extra time. And in a single second after one other, she has stood, poised and calm, to match a clutch shot from behind the arc, or a free throw when UConn very a lot wanted a degree or two.
She has additionally provided a dose of one thing approaching seen-it-all management, though Sunday’s recreation shall be her first look in a nationwide title showdown.
“We’re simply going to return out and play like we’ve been enjoying all season and lead like we’ve been main all season and throw the primary punch and produce a whole lot of vitality and depth to the sport,” Williams mentioned on Saturday of herself and the roster’s different energetic senior, Evina Westbrook.
“It begins with the seniors,” she added, “so we’re going to convey it.”
It has not been a picture-perfect path this season, Williams acknowledged, after Bueckers acquired harm in December and she or he tried to behave as her stand-in.
“I really feel like I used to be known as to step up and play that function as a result of she was averaging 20 factors,” Williams, a sociology main who additionally spent a part of the season restricted due to coronavirus guidelines, mentioned this weekend. “I believe that form of backfired for me. I really feel like I used to be attempting too exhausting and attempting to power issues and it simply wasn’t going effectively. So I simply needed to look in myself within the mirror and say ‘do what you do greatest,’ and that’s get to the basket. I form of acquired again to that and my pictures began falling after I began attending to the basket and selecting up on protection.”
Now, she is on the brink of hand off this system to Bueckers and Fudd.
“They’re younger nonetheless, and so they simply have a lot confidence, so I’ve a whole lot of confidence in them for the remainder of their years right here,” she mentioned earlier within the event. “I’m actually proud that I’ve gotten an opportunity to play with them this yr and final yr. However I’m very assured in them. They’ll deal with enterprise.”
However she has one final check first.
“I believe our group simply realized that we will conquer something,” she mentioned final week. “That double extra time recreation was very exhausting, however we stayed composed by way of all of it and we have been very poised. I simply really feel like the largest factor is we all know that we will grind it out when we have to.”