StorrsCentral - Christyn Williams excited for junior year, 'clean slate'
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Christyn Williams excited for junior year, 'clean slate'

Less than a month into her freshman season, Christyn Williams made her name known in the women’s college basketball sphere. She erupted on one of the biggest stages in the game, a nationally televised UConn vs. Notre Dame, with 28 points and led the Huskies to victory over the Irish.

If there was any doubt that Williams was confident and ready for college ball heading into that game, she put that to rest by driving down the lane against a Notre Dame lineup that would all be drafted to the WNBA just four months later.

Williams played with a similar intensity throughout her freshman year, with a 19 point game (on just eight field goal attempts) against South Carolina and strong performances during the Huskies’ NCAA tournament serving as her marquee moments.

On paper, sophomore year for Williams still looks like a great season. She averaged over 14 points per game and was among the nation’s most efficient players, ranking in the top nine percent for points per play according to Her Hoop Stats.

What doesn’t come through on the box scores were Williams’s struggles with her confidence, which often manifested itself as less of that intensity we became accustomed to seeing during her freshman season.

“Looking back on last year, my confidence went down the drain,” Williams said. “Freshman year I was very confident, I’d do whatever. Sophomore year, it was just not good overall. It was not good consistently, and that’s not good.”

Since coronavirus concerns brought an abrupt end to the Huskies' 2020 season, Williams had time to reflect and look ahead.

“The quarantine was a blessing in disguise. I got a chance to go home, reset, and just basically go back to the basics,” said Williams.

Those basics included losing weight and eating healthier, which are changes that have already made an impact on Williams’ game. She noted that she’s already quicker and feels more explosive than she’s felt in college so far.

As the Huskies have returned to Storrs, the change in her game has been noticeable to her head coach as well.

“Christyn just looks like she’s a great athlete now instead of just a high school kid,” Geno Auriemma said. “She looks like a college player now and there’s an intensity level about her now that’s more consistent. And confidence, again, her confidence is really sky-high.”

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While going back to the basics has helped Williams improve her game on the court, big changes for the team have helped her reset mentally as well. Williams is just one of four players who will suit up for the Huskies this season that played last year as the Huskies have added six new freshmen plus Tennessee transfer Evina Westbrook, who was sidelined last season when her immediate eligibility waiver was denied. It’s a situation Williams described as a “brand new slate”.

“Getting back to this year, I’m just ready to get those bad memories from last year out,” Williams said. “We’re really excited to just start over. This year we’re starting over.”

While the timetable of that restart hangs in the balance with college athletics trying to navigate the pandemic, one thing that seems certain is that Williams is as confident as ever and ready to get back out on the court.

“I’ve been working hard and I’m excited for y’all to see,” Williams said. “It’s about time. It’s about damn time.