'We can't put 40 minutes together yet'

ByGabby Williams as told to Sean Hurd | espnW ESPN logo
Wednesday, July 18, 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 (7-15). Check back in two weeks for the 5-foot-11 forward's next "View from the Sky" on espnW.

CHICAGO -- It's easy to feel defeated when you're literally being defeated.

We've gone 1-5. The hardest part is to not get discouraged by it. We're just trying to keep our heads up. At the end of the day, we have to figure out what's going on.

If it has to be one thing it's that we can't put 40 minutes together yet. Sometimes we're playing great defense but we can't score. Sometimes it's vice versa. Sometimes we don't have enough energy. But at the same time, it seems like there's always a point in a game where we show really great runs -- like when we played Washington (July 13). We just need to figure out how to get four solid quarters in.

Our win against the Lynx (July 7) showed what we can do when we're aggressive. Individually, it also showed me what I can do when I'm aggressive. I think everyone just played with so much energy that game, and we just kind of outran them from the beginning.

The whole game completely felt different than our preseason matchup. We were so nervous against Minnesota the first time. We didn't know how to guard Sylvia Fowles, we didn't know how to guard Seimone Augustus. This felt like our game to win. We need to figure out how to have that feeling all the time.

It was funny because, of course, everyone just blew it up and I started wondering what it's like to be Maya Moore. People are talking about the one time I got a layup on Maya. That's just the effect that she has. She has this huge target on her back. For that to be an accomplishment, scoring on Maya Moore, it says so much about Maya.

I think I'm just playing now; in preseason, I was overthinking everything, not playing my game, not feeling comfortable. Now I'm just trying to get back to all of the things I can do. I've made that move to the basket plenty of times and now I'm trying to bring that from UConn to the WNBA.

I'd love to play the 3 more. I'd love to just play more positions overall. I think anybody would. We just haven't even had time to practice. We've traveled so much, I've forgotten what Chicago looks like. Right now I know the 4. I know the offense from the 4, I know how to defend from the 4. We're playing four games a week, so when am I going to be able to learn how to play from the 3? It's something that I want to get comfortable with for sure, I just need to get more reps.

Our trip to Vegas was memorable, it was perfect. My old AAU coaches were there for an AAU tournament in town, and they brought their team. My mom was there with my little brothers for their tournament. It was a whole family reunion in Vegas. It also made it harder for me to convince people that I'm not from Vegas when they saw how many people were there for me in "Team Gabby Williams" shirts.

That was a huge moment for me, for all these people. Even when I didn't think I was going to get here, these are the people who were telling me that I would. I think that moment was more for them than it was for me, just to show them that I did it. I did it for them.

I've definitely had doubts about whether I'd get to this point -- even just in this past year. It's a difficult thing. Basketball is not easy. You fill your head with every possible thing that can happen -- A, B, C, D through Z. Somehow you just have to keep your eye on the goal. You never take it for granted. I think about it all the time. Nothing is guaranteed, except whatever is in your contract. But even then, anything can happen. Even if it's not losing your job completely, you could not play as much, get forgotten about, or people can catch up to you. That's what motivates me, that's what keeps me going. If I settle for just a second, there is a whole new class of 36 people coming.

Me and Stef Dolson did a Q&A with Nike for the Tournament of Champions girls basketball event that was happening, and I ended up staying the next day because we had a game across the street at Wintrust. My old AAU coaches were there. CD (Chris Dailey) was there, too, as well as Marisa Moseley and Jasmine Lister.

I was walking out of the hotel and over to Wintrust. I was across the street. I just hear my name being called, I turn and it's the loudest screams I've ever heard. It was like a boy band came. And then all these kids. I thought I was going to witness something pretty terrible, they just sprinted across the street playing Frogger through traffic. I had to yell at them to wait and that I would wait for them, just don't get hit by a car. That was probably the strangest experience of the weekend.

It's still unbelievable to me that people have a reaction when they see me. You can't really get used to it. It means a lot. I'm always thinking, "Really, me? You're excited over me?" I try to talk to them as much as possible, take pictures. If this is the only time they ever meet me I want them to have a good experience and to remember it, if it's that important to them. I remember being in those tournaments, tired all the time, cranky, wanting to go home. I try to tell them this is the only time in their lives they are going to get to have something like this.

My All-Star starting five

Maya Moore

Diana Taurasi (It's not really an All-Star Game if Diana isn't there)

Sue Bird

Breanna Stewart

If I pick all UConn people, it's going to be such a cop-out ...

Elena Delle Donne

Finally wearing Sky colors

Kyrie 4 yellow/blue colorway (PE).

They're actually Allie Quigley's. They were too small for her, so she let me wear them.

Travel tracks

Music I'm listening to this week:

"Focus" by Charli XCX

"Feels Like Summer" By Childish Gambino

"Better" by Clairo and SG Lewis

"Endless" by Garren Sean

Me and my family saw Charli XCX at a pool party on July 4. She had a free concert.

Champions du monde!

We were in New York. Diamond DeShields, my roommate on the road, was taking a nap. So I was trying to watch the World Cup final on my iPad, but for the life of me I couldn't stay quiet and I felt so bad. I went to the hotel lobby and luckily they had it on a giant screen.

There were a lot of fans but they were all rooting for Croatia, which was a little weird. The game finished right when we got to the gym. That was probably the best mood I've ever been in during warmups. I was definitely hype. I was ready to play after that.