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Home Sports Sport News UConn’s Christyn Williams looking to bounce back after ‘worst season of basketball’

UConn’s Christyn Williams looking to bounce back after ‘worst season of basketball’

Christyn Williams still thinks about the ways her sophomore season at UConn went south.

Specifically, she thinks about losing confidence in her shot and not being mature enough to compose herself and fight through her struggles.

“I was just in a really bad place,” Williams said Thursday on Zoom. “I have high expectations for myself. I did not meet those expectations last year.”

Williams, speaking for the first time since the Nov. 25 start date was announced, said she’s forging ahead with a different approach after what she described as the worst season of basketball that she’s ever played.

“Offensively it wasn’t flowing right, and defensively, I’ve always struggled defensively but I’ve depended on my offense so it kind of balances out,” Williams said. “But really nothing was going right, and I wasn’t mature enough yet to just take it one game at a time.”

Williams, the top-ranked high school recruit in the country in 2018, acclimated well as a freshman. She was a solid complementary scorer to the big two of Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, averaging a healthy 11.7 points on 49.9 percent shooting for a team that went 35-3 and played in the Final Four.

However, she was unable to parlay that into bigger and better things as a sophomore, and that’s despite making the All-American Athletic Conference First Team. She scored more (14.6), albeit less efficiently. Her shooting dipped to 33.3 percent from long range and 45.7 percent overall.

“I think she’s confident, but when you shoot the ball as poorly as she did for long stretches, it did shake her up a bit,” coach Geno Auriemma said. “I think that’s what happened. I think that’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong. When you put a premium on making shots and then they don’t go in, you have to ask yourself, ‘Well, what am I going to do on days when it doesn’t go in?’ So it forces you to adapt and reinvent yourself a little bit.”

Given that, Williams is looking forward to having a fresh start. She’s already promised herself that she’ll be more assertive on the court and “fight through ups and downs.”

Auriemma said he’s already noticed a difference in Williams’ approach.

“In Christyn’s case, she had an incredible freshman year and then struggled, according to her, more than she wanted to as a sophomore and was very disappointed by that,” Auriemma said. “I watch her now and she seems to be a lot more aggressive, she seems to be a lot more assertive of herself, her conditioning is better.

“But once you get to be a junior now you’re relied on, you can’t shoot 40 percent. You’ve got to be a good playmaker. You’ve got to make plays for other people and yourself. You’ve got to defend really, really well at your position. The consistency that you need every day, every day, every day, that’s what comes with the territory.”

Williams needs no reminders.

“I had to go through that,” Williams said. “I was going to go through it at some point in my career. But I’ve learned a lot. I’m happy to go through it, I’m past it, I’ve grown from it. And here we are now.”

dbonjour@ctpost.com; @DougBonjour

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