Williams still shining for UConn women's basketball despite hip pain

Published on Tuesday, 6 February 2018 22:23
Written by Carl Adamec

Journal Inquirer

HARTFORD - Gabby Williams isn’t a numbers person, unless the number is 134.

That’s how many wins - so far - the All-American senior forward has been a part of since coming to UConn.

“I think about our record,” Williams said. “It’s more just a feeling that I have contributed to every one of those wins. I never expected to come in and score a certain amount of points or get a certain amount of steals. It’s always just been important to me that I’ve helped us win.”

Her latest winning effort came Sunday as she had 13 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, and three blocked shots in 24 minutes in the top-ranked Huskies’ 106-65 victory over Cincinnati. The performance followed her double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds at No. 7 South Carolina last Thursday. On Monday, the Sparks, Nevada, native was named the American Athletic Conference player of the week for the second time this season.

Her recent surge has come as she battles a hip issue with the psoas muscle that leads to the hip flexor. She has not played 30 minutes in any game since Texas on Jan. 15.

“I just can’t let injuries like that detract from my play,” Williams said. “My goal is to go out there and play like nothing is wrong with me at all.”

Williams is averaging 10.6 points and ranks among the AAC leaders in rebounds (sixth, 7.8), assists (second, 5.0), steals (third, 2.5), and field-goal percentage (58.0). She also moved up to sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8. After having more turnovers than assists through eight games, her assist-to-turnover ratio the last 14 games is 3.0 - 78 assists to 26 turnovers.

“There will be passes she’ll throw and you don’t even know you’re open,” UConn guard Kia Nurse said. “But they get through there and they thread the needle, and that’s what is so great about it. When you have someone who has that vision, that timing, and that ability to get the ball where it needs to go when it needs to be there, it makes your life a whole lot easier.”

Williams is also moving up UConn’s all-time lists.

At South Carolina, she passed 1,400 points and 900 rebounds. She recorded her 400th assist Sunday. Also Sunday she moved into the top 10 in rebounds with 912, passing former All-American Swin Cash’s 910, as she makes her charge to become the seventh player in UConn’s 1,000-1,000 club. Williams is already sixth in steals with 273. The only players in the Huskies’ top 10 in rebounds and steals are her and three-time Wade Trophy winner Maya Moore.

“Gabby still does things where I’m like, ‘Well, OK, you can do that and no one else can,’ “ Nurse said with a smile.

Williams will look to add to her totals and UConn’s win total when the Huskies (22-0 overall, 10-0 AAC) face Central Florida Wednesday in Orlando.

“I don’t think about numbers, honestly,” Williams said. “It’s the intangibles and being the energy on defense, and the ability to guard guys who are bigger than me or smaller than me. I don’t think there is a number that I am particular proud of. It’s more the effort.”

Posted in New Britain Herald, UConn on Tuesday, 6 February 2018 22:23. Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2018 22:26.