NCAAW Championship Live: UConn vs. South Carolina Score
She doesn’t control the spotlights, or the floor, like Paige Bueckers. She is not, like Azzi Fudd, a cornerstone of UConn’s future.
But if the Huskies win their 12th national championship on Sunday night, Christyn Williams will have been a big reason — in part because she’s a big reason her team plays in Minneapolis.
In 135 minutes in UConn’s first five tournament games, the senior guard from Little Rock, Ark., averaged 14.2 points and 4.2 rebounds. Although she struggled early in Friday’s game against Stanford, a 3-pointer later proved electrifying, and she gave the Huskies offense an early foothold in Monday’s game against the top-seeded North Carolina State in a game that ultimately went to double overtime. And moment after moment, she stood up, poised and composed, to match a clutch shot from behind the arc, or a free throw when UConn really needed a point or two.
She also offered a dose of leadership approaching everything, although Sunday’s match will be her first appearance in a national title showdown.
“We’re just going to go out and play like we’ve been playing all season and leading like we’ve been leading all season and throwing the first punch and bringing a lot of energy and intensity to the game,” Williams said on Saturday of herself and the other active senior on the list, Evina Westbrook.
“It starts with the seniors,” she added, “so we’re going to bring it in.”
It hasn’t been a perfect path this season, Williams admitted, after Bueckers suffered an injury in December and she tried to back him up.
“I feel like I was called to step in and play this role because she was averaging 20 points,” Williams, a sociology student who also spent part of the year, said over the weekend. restricted season due to coronavirus rules. “I think that kind of thing backfired on me. I feel like I was trying too hard and trying to force things and it just wasn’t going well. So all I had to do was look in the mirror and say, “do what you do best,” and go for the basket. I kind of got back to it and my shots started falling after I started reaching the basket and getting back on defense.
Now she is preparing to pass the program on to Bueckers and Fudd.
“They’re still young and they have so much confidence in them, so I have a lot of confidence in them for the rest of their years here,” she said earlier in the tournament. “I’m really proud to have had the chance to play with them this year and last year. But I am very confident in them. They will take care of business.
But first she has one last test.
“I think our team just learned that we can conquer anything,” she said last week. “That game in double overtime was very difficult, but we stayed calm and we were very calm. I just feel like the most important thing is that we know we can do it when we need to.