Learning to play through the ups and downs

ByGabby Williams as told to Sean Hurd | espnW ESPN logo
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Editor's note: Former UConn star Gabby Williams, the No. 4 pick in the 2018 WNBA draft, details her rookie season with the Chicago Sky. Check back in two weeks for the 5-foot-11 forward's next "View from the Sky" on espnW.

CHICAGO -- Amnesia can be a great thing sometimes.

I think that's a lesson I've learned. These past weeks have been a complete struggle. Personally, and as a team, it's been super up and down. I'm the kind of person who will think so much about what I did the last play or game that it will hold me back. If you're thinking about it, you're going to do it again. I think that's the biggest thing that I've had to learn these last four games, just kind of forgetting about things, moving on and saying, "OK, that didn't go well but what's in front of me now, what's the next challenge?"

I played really well against Phoenix (on June 8). I think I needed that game for myself, to show myself that I could do that at this level against top players. It was a combination of being in rhythm, having the mindset and things working for me.

I was texting my mom and she said it was "kind of weird" to see me play against Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi. Diana and BG both talked to me after the game a little bit and told me to keep it up. It was definitely encouraging.

These past games I've gone in with the mindset of being aggressive. Sometimes you hit 10 shots and sometimes you go 1 of 10. Against LA (on June 10), I went in with the same mindset but was out of rhythm. I was rushing things, trying not to get blocked. It was probably the worst game I had this season. There was one play where I missed a shot, got my rebound, missed a layup, got my rebound, then missed a layup.

Nothing was going my way.

Against Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike, I think it was a combination of things they were doing and shots just not falling. They're two really good defenders; it's hard to go against them. They can guard off the drive. They're both really agile and they're both really big shot blockers.

In our rematch against LA (on June 17), I felt completely out of rhythm, again. I got two quick fouls, and once I got a third I was so frustrated -- it took me a second to regain my composure. I knew that Nneka was going to come at me. She's faster than people give her credit for and of course everyone knows how strong she is. That's hard to stop without being able to be physical. That's the first time I've really been in foul trouble since I've been here. It wasn't fun.

LA makes everything look so easy; the Sparks are that good. You know the scout on them, but once you're actually in it, it's really difficult. It seemed like they got whatever they wanted and we had to work a million times harder to get what we wanted. That's what really good teams do. As a player that's how I want my team to be -- I want those things to come as easily.

I have to know that my effectiveness isn't always going to come from scoring. Scoring sometimes isn't something that you can control. For me, finding consistency is doing the things I know I'm really good at: the intangibles, the hustle plays. I can control my defense, my rebounding, my passing.

I think when it comes to passing, I'm seeing the open floor better -- it's becoming easier with each game. At UConn I had the ball a lot more in those areas and after four years knew the plays and personnel a lot better. Those passes were a lot more regular for me. Coming to this level has been more about gaining that chemistry. I've only played 10 games. I wasn't doing this 10 games in at UConn.

Now, I've played with Allie Quigley long enough to know where she was going to be. I trusted myself to make that pass, which I probably wouldn't have done a few games ago. It's a trust thing.

I miss having Stefanie Dolson (strained tendon) in our rotation so much. When she comes back it's going to be a huge help. We go on runs where we take care of the ball really well, and we have a lot of defensive stops, but then we go on runs where we have a lot of turnovers and no stops. She's the answer to getting those defensive stops, to taking care of the ball more. She's our center but she can pass the ball really well. She can score and she's good with the ball. All of those things that we're kind of missing right now, she's going to fill those right away. She's close; she should be back soon.

A requiem for @MochaTrappucino

Changing my Twitter handle is a professionalism thing. It's just one of those things that my off-court team talked to me about. When people look you up, they want to know it's you. You know, it's a really sensitive topic for me. It was so sad, I was seeing all the tweets that said "rest in peace" and "long live."

It's for the best. Just building my brand.

Kick of the Week

Kyrie 4 "Pitch Blue" (right)

I miss the old Yoncé

Jorja Smith: "The One"

Walker and Royce: "Take Me To Your Leader"

Clairo: "4EVER"

Brns: "I Don't Want U Back"

The Carters: "BOSS"

I posted on my Instagram story that I was listening to my new Brns vinyl and he actually responded. I was talking to Azura Stevens when I opened my DMs and saw he responded. I think Z was about to call the ambulance because I couldn't get any words out -- I started hyperventilating.

I miss "rocket" Beyoncé. I'm here for rap Beyoncé all day, but I miss when she used to belt out and just let it go.

I finally saw the Bean!

I went with my friend Tosin, who is from Illinois and was my roommate at UConn -- she played volleyball. I thought there was a big story behind it, or history. I was like, "Tosin, what is the Bean? I want to learn more about it." She was like, "It's literally just the Bean."

It was still cool, though.

The World Cup is like March Madness for me

My teammates were kind of making fun of me because I'm walking around on my phone through the airport, before practice, before games watching live World Cup games on Hulu.

I'm not Brazilian but I always root for Brazil. I love Neymar. And then I root for France because I got to give a shout out to my roots.

I drew all of my tattoos

A lot of people have been DM'ing me about my "Pulp Fiction" tattoos! "Pulp Fiction" is by far my favorite movie. I have the characters Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace, the scene where they're dancing, on the back of my Achilles. Then I have "Don't be a square" on my hip. Those are my "Pulp Fiction" babies. I got them about a year and a half ago.

All of my tattoos I probably planned to get the night before. I'll be bored drawing in my room and think, "Oh, I want this tattooed." I'll get inspiration online and remake it how I want it.

I have a few of my knuckles tattooed. I've got the Virgo symbol, the cross symbol and one day I said, "I think I want one more." I wanted an angel tattoo because my mom's middle name is angel in French, so on the way to the tattoo parlor I drew one up then got it tattooed.