Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, January 16, 2015

UConn freshman Gabby Williams rebounding up a storm

If I were to list the most surprising aspects of the first 16 games of the season, the rebounding prowess of freshman Gabby Williams would have to near the top of the list.

I am fully aware that the 5-foot-11 from Sparks, Nevada is in a different level athletically from your typical freshman. Even before she was being recruited by UConn she was opening eyes by finishing fifth in the U.S. Olympic trials in the high jump as a 15 year old. However, she is pulling down rebounds at a rate higher than any freshman to ever suit up at UConn. In fact she is averaging more than one additional rebound per 40 minutes than her closest competition (UConn's career rebound leader Tina Charles).

Gabby Williams 2014-15    15.54
Tina Charles       2006-07    14.31
Swin Cash          1998-99    13.86
Rebecca Lobo    1991-92    13.51
Kiah Stokes       2011-12     13.50
Kara Wolters     1993-94    12.45
Tamika Williams 1998-99  12.25

In the last two games that number is at a staggering 26.7 with 26 rebounds in 39 minutes.

"I try to use my abilities to my advantage," Williams said before Friday's practice. "It is crazy to hear those names and to think I am averaging more rebounds than some of those players who I grew up looking up to."

Her veteran teammates have been impressed with the relentless manner with which Williams goes after rebounds.

"She has an aggressive mentality," UConn senior forward/center Kiah Stokes said. "She did come in as a guard but she can jump over a lot of people and I think that is why Coach (Auriemma) decided to make her into a post player because we do have a lot of guards and to have her as any undersized post player, I think it helps especially when small people are going to guard her she is going to just jump over them."

There was a play in the game at SMU when Stokes was in perfect position to grab a rebound when Williams came out of nowhere to grab the ball just inches shy of the front of the rim.

"I don't like it," Stokes said with a laugh. "It makes me better and makes her better."

Auriemma loves Williams' desire to chase after rebounds as aggressively as any freshman he has ever had.

"One of the best rebounders we have is Gabby. It is because the ball goes up, she goes and chases it," Auriemma said. "You can say all you want about working on it which is fine but once in a while you get a kid that likes to go after the ball. That is probably the easiest way to explain it, she just has that knack for the ball. The more she plays, the more confidence she gets the more rebounds she gets and everything just gets that much easier for her."


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