Sky view: Gabby Williams taking confidence into WNBA play

Gabby Williams. Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images.
Gabby Williams. Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images.

With the fourth overall pick in the 2018 WNBA draft, the Chicago Sky selected star Connecticut forward Gabby Williams.

Some wondered why Chicago didn’t select a prototypical power forward after losing long-time starter Jessica Breland to the Atlanta Dream, but Sky head coach and general manager Amber Stocks made the right call by drafting the athletic and versatile Williams. A bonafide winner, Williams helped the Huskies win back-to-back national championships in 2015 and 2016, and she was the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year.

At 5-11 Williams plays much bigger than her size, averaging 10.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and two steals per game during her time at UConn. She shot an efficient 61 percent from the field.

Williams is the type of player that every coaching staff and fan base adores, as she plays hard and smart on both ends of the floor and she knows how to win. While not a native Chicagoan, she epitomizes the ‘hard hat,’ ‘lunch pail’ characteristics that characterize the traditionally blue collar city.

How was your first professional training camp?

I feel like practice has been going really well. I was pretty disappointed in the way I played in the first two preseason games, but I think I kind of shook off the dust a little bit and I’m just looking forward to growing.

Were there nerves in those games?

Not nerves, just trying to figure out what my role needs to be and what kind of things I can get into.

Did coach Stocks tell you what your role is on this team?

She just told me to play my game, keep an aggressive mindset, and make sure I’m looking to play good defense, rebound, attack, and all that.

What’s been the toughest thing to pick up so far?

I think the toughest thing has been the physicality of the game. It’s a lot different from college. In college you can’t touch somebody on the perimeter. They have all those little tick tack things. Out here when I get into the paint it’s a lot harder to get into bodies and finish.

What would you say is the part of your game that you need to focus on most heading into the season?

I would just say playing my game and doing what I always do. That’s playing good defense, getting every rebound, and being a playmaker. I just need to focus on the things that I’ve always done best.

Do you see yourself playing a little two guard throughout the season?

I don’t have a position. I never have and I never will.

You have a lot of former college teammates in the WNBA. Have they given you any advice on transitioning into the pros?

Yeah, for sure. They all said the same thing – just to trust myself, I’m here for a reason, and not to doubt myself.

What’s your relationship like with post player Stefanie Dolson? It has to be cool having another Husky on the team.

Stef actually hosted me on my first visit to UConn. Me and her were never teammates. We never got to play with each other but she comes back all the time and UConn alumni are always like family, so it’s been smooth.

Your last two college seasons ended in heartbreak, while your first two ended in triumph. What moment will you remember the most from your time at Connecticut?

I don’t think there is a single moment that you remember. So much happens. I’m just trying to take all the lessons that I learned with me and bring them here.

What do you hope to achieve in your rookie season?

Just trying to make a name for myself early and establish myself here in Chicago.

What’s your favorite thing about Chicago so far?

I don’t know, I think it’s just a beautiful city. I went from Storrs, Connecticut where there was just nothing but farms, so the fact that I’m around people and buildings is nice.