NCAAW Championship Live: UConn vs South Carolina Score

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She doesn’t rule the limelight or the floor like Paige Bueckers. Unlike Azzi Fudd, she is not a cornerstone of UConn’s future.

But if the Huskies win their 12th national championship Sunday night, Christyn Williams will have been a big reason — partly because she’s one of the main reasons her team plays in Minneapolis.

Over 135 minutes in UConn’s first five tournament games, the senior guard from Little Rock, Ark. averaged 14.2 points and 4.2 rebounds. Though she struggled early in Friday’s game against Stanford, a 3-pointer later proved electrifying, and she gave offense to the Huskies in Monday’s game against top-seeded North Carolina State in a game that ultimately led to double overtime led, early foot. And moment after moment, she stood poised and calm to parry a clutch shot from behind the arch or a free throw when UConn desperately needed a point or two.

She’s also offered a dose of something approaching an all-overlook lead, though Sunday’s game will be her first appearance in a national title fight.

“We’re just going to come out and play like we’ve played all season and lead like we’ve led all season and threw the first shot and put a lot of energy and intensity into the game,” Williams said of himself and Saturday the squad’s other active senior, Evina Westbrook.

“It starts with the seniors,” she added, “so we’re going to bring it.”

It hasn’t been a perfect path this season, Williams conceded after Bueckers was injured in December and she attempted to serve as her alternate.

“I feel like I was called to take on this role because she averaged 20 points,” Williams, a sociologist major who also spent part of the season restricted because of coronavirus rules, said this weekend. “I think that backfired for me. I feel like I was trying too hard and trying to force things and it just wasn’t going well. So all I had to do was look in the mirror and say, “Do what you do best,” and that was the basket. I sort of got back to it and my shots started falling after I started getting to the basket and improving defense.

Now she is preparing to hand the program over to Bückers and Fudd.

“They’re young and they just have so much confidence, so I have a lot of faith in them for the rest of their years here,” she said at the start of the tournament. “I’m really proud that I had the chance to play with them this year and last year. But I have great faith in her. You take care of business.”

But she has one last test first.

“I think our team just learned that we can conquer anything,” she said last week. “That game with double overtime was very tough, but we stayed calm the whole time and were very balanced. I just feel like the most important thing is that we know we can grind it out if we need it.

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