Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Williams shines in UConn preseason opener; Geno weighs in on Ray Allen

There will be tougher tests coming for Gabby Williams than a Division II Indiana (Pa.) team starting no players taller 5-11 but still it was hard not to be impressed by what UConn's junior forward accomplished in tonight's preseason opener.

Williams had 22 points (making 9 of 11 shots from the field), nine rebounds, six assists, five steals and three blocked shots in the 119-39 despite not playing in the fourth quarter.

"Coach (Geno Auriemma) has said that a lot of our offense has to come from our defense," Williams said. "We are small, we are quicker and I guess more pesky so we tried to work on that today
"I think my offense will come but on defense I think that is kind of the role that I will play. I am trying to get that defense going."

With Williams leading the way, UConn outscored the Crimson Hawks 46-0 in points in the paint and led 18-6 in offensive rebounds as the Huskies topped 100 points in a preseason game for the eighth time since 2007.

"A day like today she can overwhelm the other team and when you know you can do that, you have to do that," Auriemma said. "She was really at the things she is really good at today and that was all we talked about going into the game. She made a lot of things happen in a lot of different ways. Will she be able to do that against everybody we play against? I don't know. She may have to create some other ways but for tonight, it is a good start."

All five starters scored in double figures for UConn as Katie Lou Samuelson had a game-high 24 points, Kia Nurse had 17 points and four steals, Napheesa Collier finished with 13 points and seven rebounds and Saniya Chong added 11 points. freshman Kyla Irwin scored 10 of her 12 points in the fourth quarter as she became the 10th UConn freshman to score in double figures in her first preseason game dating back to 2007 when the Huskies went from playing barnstorming teams consisting of former college players to Division II or NAIA squads.

If you asked Auriemma to name his favorite UConn men's players of all time, I'm not sure there would be a player mentioned before Ray Allen. Auriemma ended yesterday's practice about 30 minutes early so he could lecture his team on the importance of putting in the extra work if they truly want to reach their potential. He mentioned Allen, who he would always see in the gym getting up extra shots no matter how early he showed up at Gampel Pavilion.

After the questions pertaining to tonight's game were asked I brought up Allen announcing his retirement from the NBA to Auriemma and it didn't take much more than that to get him going.

"He certainly doesn't need the money," Auriemma said. "It wasn't going to be about the money no matter what he did, knowing Ray he still has his meal money from freshman year here, I know him well enough to know that.

"He is going to go down in history as one of the all-time best shooters in the history of the NBA. He won championships, he is an Olympic gold medalist. I don't know too many players who have committed themselves to being a true professional the way he takes care of himself. He is not that much different today than when I met him when he was 18.

"He is a great representative of UConn basketball and I use him as an example all the time of what can be possible if you work at it."

Auriemma was asked if Allen was a Hall of Famer?

"You make as many shots as he has made, two World Championship teams and a gold medal in the Olympics. There are people in the Hall of Fame with probably less credentials so I would say he is a Hall of Famer.

"I think the style he brought to the game, his personality, there was no nonsense about Ray. He never did anything extra he didn't have to do to get the job done. He was a guy you could count on every day, there was no drama. He was a guy who came up here with one goal in mind to be the best basketball player he could be, the best teammate, he was a great teammate. I would think he is everything you would want for a basketball player, he is the kind of guy you want to coach, the kind of guy you would want to play with. I just really admire for him for everything he has done."


Anonymous Joe said...

What a brilliant move to shift Williams from guard to forward. In her third year now at that new position, she is really learning how to make it her own.

Now, if Butler can return to the form she showed at Georgetown, with two years of learning and seasoning, we'll be quite formidable again this year.

Go Huskies!

8:42 AM 

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