We are getting closer and closer to the playoffs. Teams are slowly getting into their groove. Connecticut just locked up a top 3 seed last Friday with an road win versus the New York Liberty. Courtney Williams played spectacularly in that game and over the past couple of weeks. She is sending a message to the rest of the league: Underrate me at your own risk.
Locked in against the Liberty
With 2:38 left in the 3rd quarter, Connecticut trailed 59-56. Williams went to the line for a pair of free throws with 13 points. About a minute later, the Sun had tied the game at 61. The Sun jumped out to a lead heading into the 4th quarter, but then something happened that completely changed the feel of the game.
At about 9:16 in the 4th quarter, Courtney Williams grabbed a long rebound after a 3 point miss by the Liberty and brought the ball up the middle of the floor. Alyssa Thomas set a ball-screen in the middle of the floor, Williams went right recognizing that the defense goes under the screen and elevates from midrange and gets nothing but net.
Then, the Liberty took the ball out of bounds and Brittany Boyd tries to set up offense. What’s coming is Marine Johannes is coming from left to right off an Iverson cut after receiving two screens from the elbows. Williams reads it perfectly, anticipates the pass, and intercepts the pass. She pushes the ball up the floor, stops at the mid-range once again and splashes another jumper.
She stops, turns to the away crowd, bumps her chest and says “That’s me, I DO This”
This sequence lasted 20 seconds. In these 20 seconds or so, Williams shifted the momentum of the game in the favor of her team, the Sun did not look back from that point on, cruising to a 94-84 win. This sequence should just how much Williams can change the game and lift her team. Williams finished the game with 26 point and the South Florida product in her fourth year is clearly finding her place among the league’s best guards.
Playing great as of late
Courtney Williams has been on an absolute tear lately. In her last 5 games, she is averaging just under 21 points per contest (20.6) and is furthering her contribution on the boards with 6.4 rebounds in those games.
Williams’ trademark, as highlighted in the sequence above, has to be her ability to knockdown midrange jumpers consistently. It is one of her weapons that she is starting to become known for around the league. The true value of the mid-range will be shown in the playoffs if she can continue to make them consistently. Defenses will usually tighten up in the playoffs as teams’ focuses will be to guard the 3 point line and the paint.
Another impressive aspect about Williams’ game is her high level of activity when she is off the ball. Not only is she a great on-ball defender, but Williams plays the passing lanes as well as any guard in the league which results in her getting a lot of deflections and steals. She recorded her season high 6 steals on August 19th versus Seattle.
Getting hot at the right time
If the Sun are going to shake off the disappointments of past seasons and make a deep playoff push this year, Courtney Williams is going to be an essential piece to their success. It is fair to say that with how she has been playing of late, Williams has established herself as one of the elite all-around guards in the W.
The Sun (22-9) face off against the Dallas Wings (10-21) on Tuesday at the Mohegan Sun Arena, in their pursuit of chasing the 1-seed overall.