When the Sun acquired Courtney Williams midway through the 2016 season, fans in Connecticut certainly knew who she was.
In college at USF, Williams made a name for herself after scoring multiple 20-point games against the Huskies in her career – one of just a handful of players to accomplish such a feat.
Sun fans embraced Williams right from the start.
“Right when I got here, they showed me so much love,” Williams said with a smile. “Even before the draft last year, I had Sun fans sending me messages saying how much they wanted me here. I definitely think my games against UConn left an impression.”
Williams immediately flourished in Curt Miller’s system, especially toward the end of the 2016 season. Because of that, Sun coaches expect the trend to continue this year.
That is to say, they’ll need her production and spark if they want to make noise in the East.
“Courtney’s going to be big for us this season,” Curt Miller said. “She looks great in camp. She plays with so much energy on both ends of the floor, and really has a unique skill-set.
“When she gets hot, she’s incredibly hard to guard.”
After the momentum the Sun ended 2016 with, Williams felt more motivated than ever to make improvements in all facets of her game.
She said in the WNBA, players have to “read” each possession/defense/offense to an enhanced level. Rather, you can’t just “run a play.”
Essentially, Williams married herself to the game.
“I wanted to work on everything,” Williams said with determination. “Extending my range, ball-handling and really just learning the game. It’s a different game than in college, and I think it just takes some time for rookies to get used to the speed and strength of the players. Not just myself, but I think all our rookies started to get a feel for the [professional] game late [last season] and it showed in our play.”
More than anything, Williams wants to be dependable. That means being more consistent and producing on both ends of the floor each night.
“I want the coaches to know if we need a bucket, they can depend on me to do that,” Williams said. “If we need a stop, I can do that, too. Whatever the team needs me to do on a given night, I’ll be that player for them.”
That mindset and philosophy – combined with Williams’ hard work – makes her a coach’s dream.