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Women’s Basketball Media Day
Oct. 17, 2011
Head Coach Joanne Boyle Press Conference Transcript

On what she has learned about her team so far in practice:
The more time with them on the floor, the better. We’re up and down. In some ways it’s like coaching 10 freshmen, because everything is so new to them. You have to put that in perspective and know that you’re going to have good days and bad days. And know that within the practice, there’s highs and lows. So more time with them, they’re coming along.

On the teams strengths and weaknesses:
They’re a really good group. They want to win. They want to please. Ultimately, long-term, we’re going to have to get more athletic. I want to get longer on the wings and get some more speed. Our job as coaches is to put them in a position to be successful. What does that entail? What are we going to look at? I think we’re shooting the ball well right now. That’s something that we do pretty well. We’re trying to build an offense around that and allow them to be more successful. We have to be a better defensive team and for us, we’re going to have to pick and choose our times to play man and pick and choose our times to zone up. We’re going to have a combination of that. We’re not very deep, as a team, so we’re going to have to be smart as coaches. I’d like to run, but I’m not going to let them run unless we’re taking care of the ball. That’s been kind of some of the things we’ve been seeing in practice – being lackadaisical with the ball. We’ve got to be a really good rebounding team this year. We’ve been trying to emphasize that as much as possible in practice.

On any similarities between this team and Richmond and California:
All my teams have been different. They’ve all been very different. At Richmond we had one big post player, we had more of a four-out, one-in look. At Cal we had two dominant post players so that’s a different look.

On whether she sticks with a system when taking over head coaching job:
It’s hard to just pigeonhole kids into a system that doesn’t necessarily fit them. When we were at Richmond, I had a lot of help and learned the Princeton offense. And that was a really good offense for us out there. We were a pretty good passing team and we ran the ball well so we could run that. We shot the ball well. At Cal when we went to two big post players we obviously couldn’t run that. The triangle (offense) made a lot of sense. Obviously you build a lot of quick-hitters and some things like that but the triangle there (at Cal) was good for us. The triangle here would not be good for us.

On defense:
It has to be part of who we are. The defense and the rebounding have got to be part of our identity day in and day out. Because otherwise you shoot the ball well now, but in games there’s no guarantee. But you can always defend and you can always rebound. So I know a lot of people talk about letting it go by the wayside, as long as you’re scoring points they don’t care, but that’s just not who we’re going to be.

On China Crosby:
She’s been pretty good so far. Paul (Murata) our trainer has done a great job managing her. Mike Curtis and Katie Fowler, our strength and conditioning coaches, had them all summer so I think they kind of really got to work with them in terms of building up their bodies a little bit. And getting ready for what’s going to be expected of them when we took them over in the fall. She does not take possessions off. She said her knee feels good. You know, she does a lot of pre-work with it prior to practice and then after practice she keeps it moving and flexible. She shows up everyday, she really does. She brings an energy everyday. She’s not mistake-free, I mean she makes her share of mistakes just like everybody else but she shows up every day. Mentally and physically.

On what she wants her teams to be known for:
Always that they are a hard-working group. Eventually that they play smart basketball. That they compete every time they step on the floor. They leave it out there. Eventually like I said, I want to be a smart team. I want to be a fast team, I want to be able to play fast. Again those things come over time.

On her impressions of the ACC:
It’s hard to say. The thing that I lack a little bit of is the knowledge of the ACC. Being out on the west, I know they’re very talented, but I don’t know as well as I would have if I was on the East Coast. So it’s a little bit of an unknown what to expect with that. So I think for us it’s coaching the girls that we have here to the best of the ability. Coaching them up and adding more good pieces.

On the cohesiveness of this team:
That’s the one great thing, as a coach I’ve had to go in different places and you’ve got to fix some of that stuff. We do need work with leadership and we talk about what that means. But in terms of a group that gets along and cares about each other and spends quality time with each other in a good way – they have that.

On Mike Curtis handling strength and conditioning for women’s basketball:
Ed (Nordenschild) is in charge of lot of different teams, and he is in the other building and it was really difficult for us to be in this building with everything that we’re doing here and then go lift. It’s been good, Mike Curtis wanted to hire someone to help him. It made sense to go with Mike, he’s in this building and he’s done a great job with the men. Katie Fowler, she’s been great.

On Simone Egwu:
Simone, she’s just a UVa student-athlete. She fits that mold. She comes in, the one thing I can say about Simone is she works hard everyday. She does that in the classroom and she does that on the court. I want to build her confidence a little bit, at times she gets a little shaky with that. We just try and talk to her in terms of what we need from her this year. She’s very responsive. She gets in the gym extra. She’s putting a lot of time in the gym outside of practice. I feel like she’s doing her part to get ready and to move this team along. Everyday, I have to say she’s another one that shows up everyday and works hard.

On her thoughts on a rotation:
I think we have eight or nine healthy. So it will be eight or nine. Who is going to be our starting five in three weeks? Who’s going to be our first sub off the bench? Our first guard sub, our first post sub. We’re kind of working all of that out in practice right now. I hope and would expect that, and I think the players know this, we want everybody to contribute this year. We want it all. There has to be a system to it though. I’m typically a coach that’s going to have the same starting five every game. Typically. Unless something happens. I like consistency and I like a routine. That would stay consistent with people coming off the bench as well.

On Erinn Thompson:
She’s not 100 percent. She’s in and out. That’s kind of what it’s been for the last year or two.

On who is performing well in practice:
Ari’s shooting the ball well. Kelsey, Lexie, China. There are some days that Kelsey doesn’t miss a shot. But I think in general, Frankie has been out for a little while, but obviously last year she shot it. All of our guards are shooting it well, they really are.

On Ataira Franklin:
I think for, I call her Frankie, she’s had a lot of game minutes. They’re always at a different level when they come back their sophomore year. And then they’re at a different level when they come back their junior year. She got some really good game minutes, she can guard one through three. She can really shoot it. The thing we’ve been working on the most with her is her footwork. Just trying to get her more efficient with her shot selection and getting to the rim. A lot of that is just her footwork. Her ball-handling, get her really in the gym working on her ball-handling. I want her to be a great rebounding guard for us. Her versatility – I hope she can do a little bit more than just shoot the three.

On limiting turnovers:
They run a lot. We just talk about it everyday. We put them in a position to be successful with the ball and obviously when you give them a little freedom and you take away that structure that’s kind of where you see them kind of not hold onto it as well or as much. We talk to them all the time about valuing possessions. I want to be an up-tempo coach and I want to do that. They do not want to be a team that walks the ball down the floor. Scripting out who touches the ball – I don’t want to be that type of coach. But they’re going to have to learn. Believe me we’ve been running a lot in practice because of turnovers lately. They understand it, they get the concept.

On taking over for Debbie Ryan:
She’s great. I guess I just don’t let that stuff bother me. This is her program. She’s done a lot. She’s built this. She’s been here for 34 years. All I’m trying to do is come in and coach a group of young women and coach them up. Bring more talent to the team and be very, very competitive in the ACC and hopefully on the national level. I’m a ‘wake up, do my job, go to bed and feel good about it’ type.

On how the ACC has changed:
It’s grown. More teams in it obviously. It was an intimate conference when I was in it and now it’s covering the entire East Coast. It’s a very fast conference. They like to play fast and shoot the ball early in the shot clock. Those are the two things I’ve noticed the most watching film. Again, we’ve got to compete with that, which means we have to get more athletic and deeper. We have to be a little bit more durable.

On Sarah Imovbioh:
I didn’t know the situation until I got here. So we got that resolved and first and foremost she’s here. And the NCAA allowed her to be here. And they also granted her four years. For her to have an academic year of residence – hindsight is what it is – but she really gets to get grounded in her school work. Would I like to have her this year? Of course I would. But I’m ecstatic that I get her for four years. Everything for her this year is volunteer. She can work out, strength and conditioning, on a volunteer basis. She was allowed to play pick-up in the preseason, but now that practice has started she is not allowed to participate in practice at all. Everything is on her own. She can watch practice but she can’s participate. She’s pretty diligent. She’s got a system down now. She’s a great rebounder, a great athlete. She hasn’t even touched where she’s going to be by the time she’s a senior. She’s got a great work ethic; she could be an unbelievable player.

On the team chemistry:
It was huge. You think about, I’ve done this this is my third time. Coming into a program there is no way to prepare to be head coach at any program. You just don’t know what you’re walking into. Every place is different. One of the things I’ve really valued is walking in and them having a great foundation with each other. That hasn’t always happened. There’s a lot of work that goes into building that. It’s not perfect, but it’s really good. There’s some really good pieces. It took a lot of time off my plate, in terms of not having to get that changed. Ultimately, you’re coming to change a culture no matter what. Whether it’s the work ethic or the intensity level or expectations. To not have to get them to work with each other was a big part of us moving forward with things.

On how long it takes to truly get to know your team:
I’m going to say a year. I think you have to go through a season. Going through practice is one thing, but going through games and travel and all the highs and lows that come with a season. It takes a season.

On her reception on the recruiting trail:
My first three weeks after my assistants were hired, I think we had like 30 kids on campus. Some of them we were overlapping, so when one was walking out another was walking in. They’ve done an unbelievable job of getting people in the state of Virginia up here and getting them exposed to us early. That has been huge for us. With the 12’s you’re late getting in on what the remaining 12’s would have been. Our focus has really been lately as many 13’s and 14’s on campus and give them complete access to us. (Assistant coaches) Kim (McNeill), Cory (McNeill) and Katie (O’Connor), they did all of that. I’m pleased where we are.

On how many players she normally has on a roster:
If we can get the players that we want, we might have to carry higher numbers.

On building the Virginia alumni relationships:
When I first got here, I tried to get on the phone with as many alums as I could that I actually knew. We did that and obviously really just got involved with mail and facebook and access to us. We had some of them back this week (for Homecomings). We want to run something in the fall or spring. I want to get the alums, and keep the alums. There are a some high-profile people who are in great situations to be great mentors for these young women. That access to us and us to them is huge. I want them to be a part of this. I want our kids to understand that there are a lot of great people that came through this program and laid the groundwork.

On defensive improvements from a season ago:
We’ve got to be able to guard and pressure the ball. We’ve got to be able to keep people in front of us. We’ve got to have great help side. We’ve got to understand basic defensive principles. We can’t get lazy, we have to stay in a defensive stance. Defense is so much about grinding things out. If you want to relax for a minute, take a pause on offense, not on defense. Transition defense is another big part of where I think we need to be better this year. A lot of that goes into stopping ball and ball pressure and understanding basic defensive principles. Ultimately you have to have a lot of heart to play defense.

On the team facing her former team, Cal, and Texas, coached by former Duke head coach while Boyle was an assistant there Gail Goestenkors:
We’ll be going to Hawaii over Thanksgiving and I think I get to play all of my friends this year so I’m excited.

On Ariana Moorer:
She’s been doing great. She came in and it’s difficult for seniors because they’ve had a coach for three years. So they get one year with us. They’ve had a lot of history with Debbie and with the previous staff, which has been great, but they really bought in. Initially seniors could be the ones who are a little bit resistant. But Ari spends a lot of time in the gym, she spends a lot of time with Cory working on different things. She’s very committed and she wants to get better and she wants to learn the game. And I think she’s very open to that. She’s done a really good job. I want Ari to understand the leadership piece.

On China Crosby’s confidence:
Any time you’re injured, there’s so much frustration that goes along with that. I can’t speak to what has happened prior to us being here, but all I can say is that she’s healthy now. She seems very confident. I shouldn’t say very confident, she’s building her confidence. A lot of the players are in that process of building their confidence. She controls practice. She’s shooting the ball well. China knows her thing is that she needs to make lay-ups and easy baskets for us. She’s got to take care of the ball. She’s got an edge to her, I like that.

On the expectations of this team:
When people talk about wins and losses, I just want to improve throughout the season. I want us to get better and better and be playing our best basketball in February. It is what it is at that point. I can’t measure it by wins and losses right now because we haven’t played a game. It’s about improving and getting better. I want to be a great defensive team and I want to be a great transition defensive team. I want to be a great rebounding team. I want our players to lay it out on the floor for 40 minutes. I want you guys to see great leadership from them. If those things can happen, I think the wins will come. It’s hard for me to sit here and say ‘can we get 20 wins next season?’ I have no idea.

On playing China Crosby and Ariana Moorer on the court at the same time:
It’s tricky. We need to play them together, but we can’t play them together all the time because they’re going to have to come in and give each other some rest. We’re going to have to pick and choose our times to play them together. Just because we play some zone doesn’t mean it’s going to be a soft zone. We can protect ourselves in some ways. But they have to take ownership, when I talk about being smart players. Staying out of foul trouble is about being a smart player. They’re going to have to be on the floor a lot. They have to be in sync with each other and of what’s expected of them.

On continuing the build the fan base:
Win. Winning does that. Winning brings success and people want to be around success. We got to win, eventually. We have to bring an exciting style. We might not have the players to have the exact style but if we’re playing an exciting brand of basketball by just working hard and by being a great team.

On whether she recruits to her system or tailors the system to the players she recruits:
I’ve learned as an older coach who I can and who I can’t coach. So I’ve got that down. It’s not set in stone. I’d like to stay athletic. You’ve got to have some scorers on the floor. The one thing I know we’re missing is some good length. We need more physicality and be able to play more physical.

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