by Chris Camello (@chris_Camello)
BRADENTON, FL — It’s been three games now since Los Angeles Sparks head coach Derek Fisher opted to bring guard Riquana Williams off the bench. So far, it looks to have been a savvy move.
Williams scored a team-high 21 points going 5/5 from three-point range and 7/9 overall in the Sparks’ 97-81 win over the Minnesota Lynx.
She spoke about embracing her new role coming off the bench.
“Like I always talk about, I always enjoy coming off the bench,” Williams said after the win over Minnesota. “Whatever is needed from me I’m going to do to help our team win and be where we want to be at the end of the season. I just stay ready and do what’s expected and what’s needed.”
Williams also talked about the importance of feeling the game out, and being able to knock down shots or create plays for others.
“It’s kind of a feel and a read, don’t think, if I’m open shoot the ball, if I’m not, drive really hard to the basket and create something else for my teammates,” Williams said. “I know how explosive I am; sometimes I may get comfortable standing out there at the three-point line. I think people are forgetting I was a drive-first guard when I came into the league.”
Fisher spoke about the bench still creating that chemistry but the value of having players you can trust.
“They haven’t played together before, they’re all out there figuring each other out,” Fisher said about the second unit. “They deserve the credit for being able to perform at such a high level (in) a game like today. They trusted each other, the ball was moving.”
“That’s the difference for all great teams, being able to have players off your bench that teammates can trust and coaches can trust,” Fisher continued.
Williams along with veteran Seimone Augustus, who scored 13 points against her former team, are those players Fisher can depend on to consistently lead that second unit.
Williams can clearly catch fire in a hurry making her the ideal player to come off the bench. As the season progresses, that scoring punch and playmaking will make her a bigger X-factor for the team.