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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Williams impresses in UConn's preseason opener

UConn's Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma recently suggested that sophomore Gabby Williams could be the Huskies most improved player over the last year. At American Athletic Conference media day, Kia Nurse needed almost no prodding to rave about what she has seen from her classmate and close friend.

The 6,233 in attendance at the XL Center on Monday night got to see what all the hype was about. Williams 16 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot in 25 minutes off the bench. It is not the first time Williams has put up numbers like that in a game but the way she went about compiling the statistics was an indication of how much work she has put in even if it came against a Division II Lubbock Christian team.

Williams hit a mid-range jumper, was 6 of 7 from the foul line and took it coast to coast for a layup during Monday's win.

"I definitely feel more comfortable just because I know what the expectations are," Williams said. "It is nice to know that I am able to get what we need done. I know what Coach (Geno Auriemma) wants when he puts me in and it is not about, I am not lost anymore, I know our offense, I know what kind of basketball we can play, I know what pace I have to go at most importantly so that helps a lot.
It is mostly what can I expand with my game? What can I do more of?

"It is harder to make those shots when people are forcing you to play at a faster pace, even if you are going hard at practice, you are still getting wide open shots so when  somebody has a hand in your face or you have to run a little faster, it definitely helps when it goes in."

Her performance certainly impressed Auriemma as well as All-American point guard Moriah Jefferson.

"She can get to the basket against just about anybody but if she can make 15 footers and she is making free throws, those are things that last year didn't exist for her," Auriemma said. "She is just a lot more confident right now."

Here are Jefferson's thoughts
"She worked extremely hard this season. Right after the season is over, she is in the gym putting up shots, getting up free throws, doing stuff so she could be a lot more confident in her game."

There was a scary moment when Gabby Williams got up slowly after landing awkwardly. She hobbled up the court and was quickly taken out of the game. When she got to the sideline, she exchanged in some friendly banter with UConn athletic trainer Rosemary Ragle but took a seat near the coaches without being examined by Ragle. After the game Williams, who saw her junior and senior seasons ended with torn ACLs, said it was nothing she was concerned about.

Junior guard Saniya Chong (IT Band) and freshman forward De'Janae Boykin (Achilles) did not play since they missed Sunday's practice and Monday's shootaround. Morgan Tuck did not play in the second half.

"Rosemary (Ragle, UConn's athletic trainer) took Morgan out because she was complaining about her knee, that she felt something on one of her layups but she is fine. Saniya didn't practice yesterday or at shootaround today, she is seeing a doctor to try to loosen up her IT Band and De'Janae same thing."

Jefferson saw some familiar faces as starting forward Tess Bruffey as well as reserves Hannah Harbin and Claire Bruffey were members of the Lubbock Titans team that lost to Jefferson's THESA Riders in the 2012 Texas home school championship game.
"We aren't best friends or anything but I remember playing them," Jefferson said. "We played them in the championship in states and it was good to see them on the court."

Last but certainly not least, UConn will unveil its national championship banner at Sunday's exhibition game against Vanguard University.


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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did not see the game. On the Boneyard there were mentions of Gabby landing awkwardly, getting hurt, and having a timeout called to take her out. As well as Morgan having issues with her knee. Hope neither has a serious injury. They have been thru enough.

8:24 AM 
Anonymous Joe said...

That's the crux of the season: avoid serious injury!!

9:11 AM 

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