Gabby Williams had a solid freshman campaign, one that saw her grow as a player as the season progressed. It certainly helped that she avoided injury, something she couldn't say her last two years in high school.
“I stayed healthy and that was a big thing,” Williams reiterated, via SNY.com. “Just having an opportunity to play in [the NCAA championship] game was something I worked for all season. It all came down to this moment. All the awards, all the accolades, they would have meant nothing if we didn’t win this final game.”
Back in March, coach Geno Auriemma admitted he didn't quite know what he had in Williams, who ended up growing into her role down the stretch.
"I've started calling Gabby Williams 'Forest Gump,' " Auriemma said at the time, via the Hartford Courant. "You know when he talks about how you never know what you're going to get in the box of chocolates? Well, I come to games saying, 'OK, let's see what the Gabby Williams show looks like today.' And you have no idea what it's going to look like. It's like this at practice sometimes, too. You never know when it is going to blow up or something completely different."
Next up: preparing for her sophomore season where, like always, there will be stiff competition for playing time.
“I’m really looking forward to this offseason and I’m excited that I’ll be able to work on my game and improve,” she said. “I haven’t had the chance to do that the last couple of offseasons. Last year I didn’t even play full court until First Night. So, I’ll be ready to get back out there and try to expand my game.”
A year ago, Williams was part of the nation's best recruiting class. Now she'll be competing with another stellar freshman class. This one includes Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier and De’Janae Boykin, who are all top-10 players. There's also Georgetown transfer (and 2013-14 Big East freshman of the year) Natalie Butler.
But Williams sounds like she's only worried about what she can control.
“I absolutely have my goals, that’s for sure,” she said. “I’m hoping that I can improve my shooting. I know that’s something I need to work on. Maybe they’ll pull me off the block a little bit next year and I can get some guard play back in my game. It’s about being able to expand my game. This year a lot of my shots were around the rim. If I can add more range, I’ll be tougher to defend.”