Gabby Williams' final diary: 'I feel so much closer to my fans'

ByGabby Williams as told to Sean Hurd | espnW ESPN logo
Thursday, August 16, 2018

Editor's note: Former UConn star Gabby Williams, the No. 4 pick in the 2018 WNBA draft, has detailed her rookie year with the Chicago Sky all season. Here is the 5-foot-11 forward's final installment of "View from the Sky" this season on espnW.

CHICAGO -- This offseason I'll be playing overseas in Naples, Italy, for Dike Basket Napoli.

I'm just excited for more experience at this level. After having my first few months as a pro behind me, I can see the things I want to improve on and see what kind of player I want to be. I plan to work on those things overseas so that next year I'm better and even more prepared.

Stefanie Dolson has played for the same team before and gave me some insight on it. I've also talked to Diamond DeShields about overseas play. We spend so much time together since we're roommates on the road. She's only had one year of experience and we're in similar positions. She's been giving me a lot of advice.

I went to Italy with UConn last August. It's funny because Naples was the one city we missed. I know Naples is close to the water, so I'm looking forward to the beaches -- and the food, of course.

These last few weeks of the season have been difficult. We just had so much on the line. We would've had to finish with some crazy record to make the playoffs, so every game meant so much more. You can't get those games back, but you can prepare for next year and what we can all work on personally in the offseason. It sucks that we didn't get the results that we wanted, but I'm proud of how hard we fought and the way we're finishing.

The first time we played Connecticut [Aug. 10], we played amazing. Everyone contributed; I think we had six people in double figures. Everyone played really well. We had great team defense and moved the ball well. We had 35 assists that game [tying the franchise's single-game record], a crazy amount.

When we played Minnesota [Aug. 14], it wasn't pretty, but when we needed big plays we made them. I think that shows the maturity of the team. We're getting more and more glimpses of what the future of Chicago Sky basketball will look like.

It was cool that the assist Courtney Vandersloot broke the WNBA single-season record with was on a layup I scored. I was with Sloot when I saw that on Twitter and said, "Yeah, you're welcome."

I can't say enough about her. Her ability to put people in places where they're going to be successful is what separates her. That requires an incredibly high basketball IQ. Not only is she one of the best passers in the league, but she's probably the smartest point guard in the league, too. She can read defenses better than anybody. She knows when someone has an advantage or disadvantage. It's just incredible. I've definitely become a better player just playing beside her.

It's crazy that I'm tied with Maya Moore for most steals in the league. It's been really motivating to play against her. The last few times we've played her, she's made ridiculous shots, and I feel like I'm playing my best defense. I'm in a stance before she even touches the ball and saying, "I'm going to shut her down. I'm going to stop her. I'm ready for it." And she still gets it off like it's nothing. She's the hardest player I've had to guard this year. You say, "If I want to hang in this league, this is who I'm going to be playing against." It's for sure motivating.

After the season, I'm going to take care of some errands -- see where my car is going to be stored, get stuff situated. I'm definitely going to go home and do absolutely nothing, just be with friends and family for a while. I'll probably start doing my individuals and training two to three weeks before I have to report to Italy.

A return to Connecticut

I caught a stomach bug the day before our game in Connecticut! I was so mad. Of all the trips to get sick, of course it was this one. I had to ask for a sub once during the game to ... you know. I felt really weak but decided to play, so that's on me. I feel like I played a game that I would have played regardless, but I did have to come out a couple times.

I saw my best friend and some of my family. One of my best friends just had a baby, but I couldn't hold the baby because I was sick. I couldn't go out and see my friends or anything. I slept for 15 hours in my room. But the warm welcome from Connecticut was absolutely amazing. I did not expect that at all.

Last spins of the season

"Out of Your Way" (Remix) by Snoh Aalegra feat. Luke James

"Yosemite" by Travis Scott feat. Gunna & NAV

"Small Worlds" by Mac Miller

"Messages From Her" by Sabrina Claudio

"Scarlett" by Toast

There's a new genre for millennials called "Bedroom Pop." It's literally pop music made in someone's bedroom. It's very subtle lo-fi, soul 1970s-sounding music. It's really simple. There's a bedroom pop duo named Toast, and the song, "Scarlett," is very lo-fi, psychedelic.

Kick cancer

Nike Zoom Rev 2018 Kay Yow, Aug. 7 vs. Minnesota.

To the readers: Thank you

I just feel so much closer to my fans as a result of this diary. I love the responses I've been getting -- it got a lot more attention than I ever expected. I'm super grateful for that.

I hope this diary has opened the eyes of people who don't watch the WNBA -- and for people who do -- to see that there is more to the WNBA than what we do on the court. I hope also for the people who want to play in the WNBA or a professional sport that this helps them see a bit of what it takes.

I'm super grateful that I had the opportunity to bring some things to light and just talk, really. This is really just a conversation with the fans. I've had a lot of fun doing this. Halle Berry enjoyed being a part of the diary, too. I hope you enjoyed reading.