Christyn Williams from Central Arkansas Christian (Little Rock, Ark.) is ranked as the No. 1 overall player in espnW’s Class of 2018 rankings. Williams is the lone high schooler to make the USA Basketball Women’s U19 team that will play in the FIBA World Cup beginning July 22 in Udine, Italy. Williams has agreed to keep an exclusive blog for USA TODAY Sports of her journey. The team finished up training camp Friday and will head overseas for a three-game invitational, beginning Tuesday. Williams also is coming off a gold medal with the United States’ U18 3X3 team.
Team USA beat Puerto Rico 104-46 in the Round of 16 on Wednesday and faces France in Friday’s quarterfinals. Williams had 11 points and five rebounds against Puerto Rico.
We’re excited to compete for a medal. We have to win three more games and just knowing that is exciting in itself. We’re almost there to win the gold after we’ve been waiting so long and working so hard. It’s do or die.
France has competitors. We scrimmaged them, and they were pretty tough. But, we can do it. We will have to work together, like we did against Puerto Rico, and we will be fine.
I thought I’ve played well the times I’m in the game. I’m sort of still trying to learn my role. I’ve been being a good teammate and contributing in different ways, but it’s definitely an adjustment from what I’m used to. I’m starting to get used to it, but it’s been difficult.
We haven’t had time to see much of Italy or do much. We can walk around by the hotel and mostly have pizza. We’re playing basketball, eating, sleeping and repeat.
Thursday is an off day. We had shoot-around. We came back and got cleaned up and had some lunch. We have time with our family and then we have a parade of players with all the countries represented. We’re walking in as a team. That should be fun.
It means a lot that my parents made the trip from Arkansas. My parents are my biggest supporters. For them to be here, makes me feel good. A lot of people don’t have that opportunity, for their parents and family to be here and watch them win a gold medal.
I’ve played a lot of basketball this summer and I’m a little exhausted both mentally and physically. School starts Aug. 9, but I’m planning to take some time off when I get home before I start training again for the high school season.