Sparks, Nevada native Gabby Williams, 21, is a senior at the University of Connecticut who is a forward for the UCONN Huskies, #15. Standing at 5’11”, Williams is a member of the team’s starting lineup who has consistently helped lead the team to victory after victory over the course of her career.
Williams’ accomplishments include being selected as a member of the 2015 American Athletic Conference All-Freshman Team, the 2015 American Athletic Conference Sixth Player of the Year, the 2017 WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year, a member of the 2017 American Conference First Team, the 2017 Associated Press Second Team All-American, a First Team All-American by the WBCA and the USBWA in 2017, and a member of the NCAA All-Bridgeport Regional Team and ALL-NCAA Tournament Team in 2017.
Williams’ skill-set is so versatile and strong that she is considered to be a bit of an enigma. As a result, Williams has accomplished a stellar career at UCONN both on and off the court, making her incredible success appear effortless.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Williams is so Athletically Versatile That She is Considered to be an Unstoppable Enigma on the Court
Williams’ skill-set is so versatile that she is considered by many to be an athletic enigma. Her athleticism keeps her from being defined or limited by any narrow categories. Williams is a unique player who is constantly evolving as a player and sharpening her already razor-edged abilities, raising the bar and pushing herself to achieve excellence.
Coach Auriemma once challenged the world to show him a video of someone who plays like Williams does, stating that there simply are no other players like Williams.
“[Against South Carolina], I don’t know what was bigger. Her rebounding or her heart,” said Auriemma.
2. Williams Has Been Called a “Rare 5-Tool Talent”
As herosports.com reports, Williams is a rare 5-tool talent. In other words, Williams “leads the team in rebounding (7.7), assists (5.2) and steals (2.6) per game, and yet, is the team’s fifth-leading scorer (10.7) on a nightly basis – while shooting 58.6 percent from the field.”
When asked what else makes Williams stand out, Coach Geno Auriemma explained that Williams has the rare ability to truly get the crowd excited and involved with the game. Williams is a compelling player, aggressive and highly skilled, who consistently steals the show while on the court.
Williams also earned the fifth triple-double in program history, establishing herself in an even more elite group. The only other UCONN Huskies to earn triple-doubles in history have been Laura Lishness, Stefanie Dolson, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Kiah Stokes.
3. Prior to her High School Graduation, Williams Underwent Surgery to Repair a Torn ACL, an Injury That Left Her Athletic Career Hanging in the Balance
While still in high school, Williams tore the ACL of her right knee. It was initially unknown how the injury would impact Williams’ basketball career, and her recovery was precarious.
It was during her junior year that Williams suffered the torn ACL. Williams had to undergo surgery, which ended her time on the court during the remainder of the school year. Mere months later, Williams tore her ACL a second time. This meant that Williams had to undergo surgery once again. As a result, she was prohibited from playing during her senior year.
“I honestly didn’t think I was badly injured. I was thinking back to how I felt last year. In comparison, I didn’t feel [pain]. I was walking, practicing [and playing]. I was thinking, ‘There is no way there is anything wrong with me.’ Last year, I couldn’t even walk for two weeks after I injured it. It hurt way worse. This time, the swelling went down right away. So I didn’t expect anything [from the tests]. I just could not believe it,” Williams explained to the Hartford Courant.
When Williams finally joined the Huskies, she had been off the court for the better part of two years. Williams undoubtedly had amazing potential, but she had a lot of work and catching up to do. Williams would go on to perfect her skills, astonishing her teammates, coach and fans.
4. Williams Has Passed Over 1000 Career Points at UCONN
Williams is among an elite group of past and present Huskies to have passed over 1000 career points, mynews4.com reports. Williams is the 43rd member to join UCONN’s 1000 point club, a goal she achieved in 2017.
Coach Geno Auriemma had this to say when Williams scored point number 1000: “The kid never takes a bad shot,” said UConn coach Geno Auriemma. “She doesn’t force shots. She doesn’t throw stuff up there with no intention of making it. She doesn’t waste opportunities,” Auriemma said to mynews4.com.
Williams scored her 1000th point while playing with the Huskies in a game against Temple. Williams would join the 1000 point club during what would happen to be the final game of referee Dennis DeMayo, retiring after career spanning 32 years. It was therefore a bittersweet night for Coach Auriemma; he would celebrate Williams’ achievement while bidding his friend and colleague a professional goodbye.
5. Williams & Teammate Kia Nurse Were Honored at a Special Senior Night by Head Coach Geno Auriemma; the Pair Celebrated by Laughing & Singing Their Way Through “Just the Two of Us”, Williams Likes to Dance Before Games & Has Mac Dre on her Favorite Playlist; Williams Also has a UCONN Tattoo
While Williams is an extremely serious player, demonstrating nothing but the utmost concentration and focus at all times, she clearly has a good sense of humor and knows how to have fun. Earlier this year, Williams and teammate Kia Nurse were honored by Coach Geno Auriemma at a special Senior Night. Williams and Nurse laughed their way through a performance of “Just the Two of Us.” More details on Senior Night are available on courant.com.
Williams also shared her pre-game playlist with fans earlier this year, courtesy of espn.com. “I always, always have to listen to ‘Feeling Myself’ by Mac Dre,” Williams said. “It started in middle school, and it just didn’t stop. It’s a routine now, not even a superstition.” When asked what songs can be heard playing in the locker room before games, Williams responded that “it’s usually a song we can dance to, like ‘Rolex,'” Williams said. “Something that gets us dancing because it lightens the mood and it’s fun.”
One last bit of trivia about Williams is her permanent tribute to UCONN – a tattoo in the school’s honor and a symbol of her UCONN pride and devotion.