EXTENDING HER RANGE
Williams’ focus on becoming better three-point shooter has paid dividends
While playing in France this offseason, Sky guard/forward Gabby Williams’ focus was building on her 2019 success in hopes that she could become more of a consistent offensive threat.
So far in the WNBA season, her work has paid off.
Williams is more confident in her game than ever before. She’s sinking threes and isn’t letting any of her anxieties hamper her success as they had in the past.
Take last weekend as an example. Williams had an off night July 30 against the Lynx. She went 0-for-6 from three-point range, scoring four points in 23 minutes.
Williams had never missed that many threes in a WNBA game because she had never attempted more than three in a game.
In previous seasons, Williams would dwell on her mistakes and overanalyze everything after a game like that, which would lead to her being timid with the ball in the next game in fear of letting her teammates down.
But Williams has flipped the script. Instead of falling into a cycle of self-doubt, she moved on and dominated her next game against the Mystics, going 4-for-5 from the arc and recording 16 points and nine rebounds.
“I feel like I was very hesitant and I would hold onto the ball too long when I would shoot because I was always thinking twice about it,” Williams said of her past self. “But now I’m not thinking twice so much. It’s all one motion versus me kind of pausing in the air or slowing down my shot.”
Williams’ hesitancy cost her points and kept her back from reaching her full potential, a trait that had haunted her since her UConn days. But Williams said she isn’t going to let that be the case moving forward.
“If this is what I want to do, if I want to develop my shot and I want to become a better shooter, I have to be OK with missing,” Williams said. “The best shooters in the game shoot 40 percent, which means they’re missing over half of their shots, so that’s just something that I’ve thought.”
That newfound mindset, paired with the experience of being in her third WNBA season, has made a world of difference for Williams and the Sky, who are 4-2.
Two weeks into the season, Williams has already surpassed the number of threepointers she made in each of the previous two years by three. She has gone 10-for-28 (35.7 percent) from the perimeter in six games.
“It’s been a process to get her there,” coach James Wade said. “She worked on [three-point shooting this offseason], and so it’s like the fruits of her labor. It wouldn’t make sense that you do all that work on your shot and you don’t shoot it. So we encourage her to shoot the ball, and she’s found confidence.”
That confidence has helped her overall game — from defending to ballhandling and playmaking — and has made her a player other teams can’t afford to overlook.
“She’s like a point forward when you have her at the four, and it’s tough to guard,” Courtney Vandersloot said. “Her athleticism is just above everyone.
“Now she’s starting to really get comfortable, she’s really found her outside shot and she’s just a threat. She does so much and she attacks the game on both ends, so it’s been fun to watch. I knew it would happen eventually. We just had to be patient with her, and you can tell she’s just made strides in the last couple of years.” ✶