Just don't talk about the size of Sun's Courtney Williams
Mohegan — Courtney Williams is one upbeat young woman. The Georgia-native is quick to laugh and smile and exudes Southern coolness.
Just don't mention concerns over her size, though.
"Size, sometimes it can play tricks on people," said Williams, a 5-foot-8 rookie guard. "I'm going to play (hard) regardless. I can jump. I can run. If you're bigger than me, I can get by you. If you're taller than me, I can jump as high as you.
"It doesn't really matter, my size."
Williams and Connecticut play the Dallas Wings at 7 p.m. Friday in their final home game of the season at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The Sun (12-20) acquired Williams, the draft rights to injured rookie post Jillian Alleyne and the Phoenix Mercury's 2017 second-round pick on June 25 as part of a package for center Kelsey Bone.
Williams was the eighth overall pick in April's WNBA Draft. She was the ninth-leading scorer in Division I her senior year (22.4 ppg) at South Florida and averaged 8.4 rebounds.
WNBA teams liked Williams' scoring ability and other-worldly athleticism (she can touch the rim), but were concerned about her size. She weighs only 136 pounds.
"People bother me when they say that, too," Williams said about those concerns. "In college, there were tall people, too. I didn't come into the league and think, 'everyone is crazy tall.' There were tall people in college and I still averaged almost 10 rebounds a game at 5-foot-8.
"I've heard it a lot, 'Oh, I don't know how she's going to hold up in the league. She's little.' It's like, all right, Cappie Pondexter (of the Chicago Sky), she's one of the best players in the league (and 5-9). Look at (Dallas') Odyssey Sims (5-9), all these players who are as short as me."
Williams paused for a moment, as if she realized she was ranting.
"I'm sure (Pondexter and Sims) hear the same things, too," Williams smiled and laughed. "So there's no pressure. It's all good. I do what I do."
Sun coach Curt Miller said: "The fun part for me as a coach is I've enjoyed through the years coaching kids with a little bit of an edge, a little bit of an air of confidence, because I think the greats have that. Courtney is a very confident player and she has an air about it the way she carries herself, the way she believes in herself out on the court and I think that bodes well for a young kid in this league, that she's not intimidated and not overwhelmed.
"Our team needs a little bit of that, her confidence."
Williams has averaged 16.6 minutes, 7.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 17 games as a Sun reserve and has become a fan favorite. Some are familiar with her work against UConn (she was that rare player who actually performed well against the Storrs' leviathan). And it's not every day one sees a player of Williams' stature get up so high and rebound against much larger players.
"Well, good. I can bring something new out there," Williams said of the reaction she generates.
The Sun took to Williams quickly because of her friendliness and sense of humor, traits Miller values in the locker room.
"She's brought energy," Connecticut's Chiney Ogwumike said. "She works hard and challenges us on every possession (at practice), but more so, her positivity and fun attitude."
Miller said: "She's a dynamic scorer and playmaker. She really likes to get out and play in transition. ... In the half court, when your play breaks down, she's given us an extra player who can create her own shot. She's a player who's instantly impacted us at the offensive end and we can run plays through."