HARTFORD— After recording the fifth triple-double in UConn history, junior Gabby Williams followed up her historic performance with her seventh double-double of the season and a game-high 19 points. She also added 10 rebounds and five assists in the Huskies 91-42 home win over Houston.
With both teams off to a slow start to open up the game, Williams was able to provide early offense for the Huskies as she connected on her first two shots of the game. UConn was able to pound the ball inside all game, as the Cougars’ starting lineup featured four players under 6-feet and three under 5-foot-9.
“I was trying to just get offensive rebounds, as I was not finding guys as well today,” Williams said of her first quarter performance. “I knew I was quicker in the post so I just tried to score that way.”
In the first quarter, Williams was able to score eight of the UConn 17 points as her and junior Kia Nurse outscored the Houston Cougars by themselves. This was her second game in a row scoring eight points in the first quarter, as she was also able to collect six of her 10 rebounds, including three on the offensive end.
“Sometimes we throw the ball into Gabby and just stand there and watch her play, because she is able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, we get fascinated and watch her” head coach Geno Auriemma said. “The first quarter seemed to be Gabby against them.”
From the end of the first quarter to early in the second quarter, the Huskies went on a vintage 21-0 run, as Williams was able to provide back to back inside finishes during the run. She finished the first half with 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists, coming up just a few assists shy of back to back triple-doubles. The Huskies as a team were able to force 16 first-half turnovers and dominate the Cougars by a 28-10 score in the paint.
“We cannot just rely on our talent to beat teams and take days off,” Williams commented about what they thought was a disappointing first half, despite leading 43-18. “There were a lot of people at the game today and they did not really see us do anything that special. We take that to heart.”
In the second half, Williams did not play in the fourth quarter as she was subbed out with under a minute to go in the third quarter. She was able to score five points and add three more rebounds in a quarter where she was 2-4 from the field and 1-1 from the line. Overall, she was 8-14 from the field and 3-3 from the free throw line. The Huskies finished the game outscoring Houston 56-26 in the paint and shot 48.6 percent from the field.
“When things aren’t going that great, you can always throw the ball to Gabby down low, she will always make something happen,” Nurse added. “She is always an energy giver, something that she will always bring every day that is important for us.”
With 19 points in the game, Williams tied her career high in points, which she set against SMU two weeks ago. This was her second game of the year with no steals, as Auriemma joked about post game.
“It was another 19-10-5…it was a lousy day all-around, she had no steals, what was the point of her even showing up,” Auriemma said.
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.