She doesn’t order the spotlight, or floors, such as Paige Bueckers. She is not, like Easy Food, the cornerstone of UConn’s future.
But if the Huskies win their 12th national championship Sunday night, Kristen Williams will have a big reason – partly because she’s a big reason why her team is playing in Minneapolis.
In 135 minutes of UConn’s first five tournament games, 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-point advantage later proved to be electrifying, and she made the Huskies’ offense an early step into Monday’s game against top-seeded North Carolina State. Went to second overtime. And one moment after the other, she sat down, calm and calm, to match a clutch shot behind the arc, or a free throw when UConn desperately needed one or two points.
She also seems to have a dose of something to offer – all that leadership, though her first appearance in Sunday’s national title show.
“We’re just going to get out and play as we have been playing and leading all season, as we are leading all season and throw the first punch and bring a lot of energy and intensity to the game,” Williams said. Saturday and the other active roster of the roster, Avena Westbrook.
“It starts with the elders,” he added, “so we’re going to bring it up.”
This is not a snap route this season, Williams acknowledged, after he injured the Buccaneers in December, as he sought to serve as his standout.
“I feel like I was called to step up and play that role because she was averaging 20 points,” said Williams, a sociology major who also spent part of the season because of limited by Corona virus rules. Yes, he said this weekend. “I think that kind of scares me. I feel like I’m trying too hard and trying to force things and it just wasn’t going well. So all I had to do was look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘What you do best,’ and it had reached the basket. I kind of came back and my shots started dropping as I started to get on the basket and started taking on the defense.
Now, she’s getting ready to hand over the program to the Bakers and the Feds.
“They are still young, and they have a lot of confidence, so I trust them a lot for the rest of their years here,” he said today at the tournament. “I’m really proud that I’ve had the opportunity to play with them this year and last year. But I trust them a lot. They will handle the business.”
But he has the first final test.
“I think our team has just learned that we can win anything,” he said last week. “It was a difficult game to play that overtime, but we stayed with it all and we were very prepared. I think the biggest thing is that we know we can grind it out when we need it.