Editor's note: Charlie Creme, Graham Hays and Mechelle Voepel each vote to determine espnW's national player of the week, which is awarded every week of the women's college basketball season.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- In their matchup with Notre Dame on Sunday, UConn wanted to take advantage of what freshman Christyn Williams does best.
"The game plan in the beginning of the game was, on rebounds and misses, we were going to look up the floor and throw it to her," Huskies coach Geno Auriemma said. "If she had a chance, I wanted her to attack the basket every time. And she did, because she can. In practice every day, she'll get to the basket against anybody, anytime.
"So when you're telling a kid, 'Listen, in the biggest game you've ever played in your life, I want you to do what you're really good at' -- that's pretty easy for a kid to understand. Take the ball and drive it to the basket."
Williams did that with a dominant start that set the tone for the rest of the game. She scored 16 of her game-high 28 points in the first quarter, including eight points on layups. She also hit two 3-pointers in the opening period. She made things very difficult for No. 1 Notre Dame, which fell to No. 2 UConn 89-71 at Purcell Pavilion.
Williams looked totally comfortable, never hesitating to score when she had opportunities. With that stellar performance and her 15 points in a 99-63 victory over DePaul on Wednesday, Williams is the espnW player of the week.
She was 11-of-16 from the field against the Irish and 7-of-9 against the Blue Demons. For the season, Williams is shooting 63.2 percent (36-of-57) from the field. And that's an especially high percentage for a 5-foot-11 guard.
Auriemma praised Williams and fellow freshman Olivia Nelson-Ododa, the only reserve who saw action Sunday, saying that despite their youth, both contributed to the maturity that the Huskies showed the entire game. Williams played all 40 minutes, along with junior guard Crystal Dangerfield.
"I didn't do much in that first half, but we had someone step up and do something really big for us," said senior Katie Lou Samuelson, who was scoreless in the first 20 minutes before finishing with 15 points. "We gained a lot of trust tonight in our young guys. They just played exactly how they wanted to. I felt we were pretty composed throughout the game."
Williams, the youngest of six siblings, is from Little Rock, Arkansas. She said she dreamed of playing for UConn, and Sunday's game was exactly what she hoped that experience would be like.
"Like with every game, I learned a lot," Williams said. "I'll take all of this and push forward."
Also nominated: Napheesa Collier (UConn); Chandler Smith (Gonzaga)