HARTFORD, Conn. -- Gabby Williams played just the final 1:48 of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's game against St. John's last Sunday. She was not effective in the Huskies' previous games against East Carolina and Duke.
But the freshman forward was a force against Tulsa Wednesday night, finishing with season highs of 15 points and nine rebounds in 21 minutes as No. 2 UConn rolled to a 98-60 American Athletic Conference win at the XL Center.
"I think I'm starting to get my confidence back," Williams said. "It was kind of a rough week last week. So the main thing was just to bring all the energy back. I think it was mostly just my lack of energy and focus. When you start to get tired after traveling and all that stuff, I kind of let it get to me."
"My thing is I just want the coaches to know every time, 'OK, Gabby is going to give us this when she gets in.' I just want to be consistent in a few things."
Williams is averaging 7.7 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Huskies (13-1 overall, 3-0 AAC) and leads the AAC in field-goal percentage at 65.6.
Tulsa had no answer for Williams' athleticism as she did as she pleased inside.
It was also a boost for a Huskies' bench that has struggled.
"It’s not that Gabby doesn't have the ability to do that, with a lot of these kids it's being able to sustain it over a period of time," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Today was another example of how good she can really be. It's something that we see here and there. We don't see it all the time or enough times to make us happy or her happy. But the last couple of days have been good for her and today was great for her."
Williams' classmate Courtney Ekmark hit the first two 3-pointers of her season and finished with six points and three assists.
Painful journeyTulsa made its first trip to UConn and sophomore guard Ashley Hughes won’t forget it.
With 4:49 left in the first half, a collision between Hughes and UConn freshman Kia Nurse left Hughes, who was called for a foul, with two broken front teeth. UConn's Moriah Jefferson called out Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman and the team trainer to wipe the remains off the floor.
Two minutes later, Hughes returned to the game wearing a mouth guard and on the next Tulsa possession buried a 3-pointer. It was her only points of the game.
"I was hoping that the rest of the team would feed off of that toughness," Mossman said. "I think our freshman, Jordyn Holmes, did. When she sees Ashley Hughes go down like that and come back in the game, I think that tells Jordyn Holmes, 'Hey I’ve got to go be better.' I think our whole team needs to feed off of Ashley Hughes' toughness."
Tulsa will host the Huskies for the first time on Feb. 21.
Edwards heads westFormer UConn player Sadie Edwards has officially transferred to the University of Southern California, the Pac-12 school announced Tuesday. Classes at USC begin Monday.
"As a player, Sadie has great size and length and can play either backcourt position," USC coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said in a statement. "Sadie has a versatile skill set, and a hunger to help us reach our championship goals. She is a bright young woman and an excellent student that we expect to impact our team from day one. She'll be practicing and training with us immediately, and we are so excited to have her."
Edwards, from Meriden, appeared in six games for the Huskies to start her freshman season and totaled five points, two rebounds, and one assist with seven turnovers in 29 minutes. She informed Auriemma of her decision to transfer after UConn returned home following its win at Notre Dame on Dec. 6.
"I choose USC because I think it's an ideal fit academically and athletically for me," Edwards said in a statement. "During my visit, my father and I felt at home, which is very important to me since I'll be so far away from my family. I really enjoyed getting to know Coach Cooper, who is a legend and who I know I will learn a ton from. She made me feel at home. I also really liked the girls on the team. They were down to earth, funny, and genuine. I think that it's a great group that I can fit in well with on and off the court."
Edwards will be eligible at USC following the end of its Fall 2015 semester in mid-December.