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Oregon Women's Basketball

Graves confident in improvement against Washington State

January 20, 2021

The Ducks are coming off a tough 57-41 loss to a talented Arizona squad on the road in Tucson. After having their game against Arizona State in Tempe postponed last week due to COVID-19 cases and contact tracing within the ASU women’s basketball program, the team will have gone more than a week without facing another Pac-12 school by the time it faces Washington State on Friday.

Oregon Women’s Basketball Head Coach Kelly Graves met with members of the media on Zoom Wednesday afternoon to address preparations for Washington State. 


On response from team in practice, leaders coming out from Arizona game

We have had two really good practices this week. We looked really good and played really hard. They were competitive practices, the most competitive we’ve had in a while. We’re trying and you can tell. They’ve realized we have to be better this week.

On who’s been leading team to bounce back

Erin Boley has stepped up and Taylor Chavez. They understand the culture and the game very well. They’re trying to understand the roles they have. We aren’t excited with where we’ve been. You take a hit and it kind of rocks you for a second. You have to regroup and fight your way through it.

On break

We had a tough game at Arizona. I dont think the world is coming to an end. It was nice to have a couple extra days. I would much rather have played the game in Tempe. We’ve turned our attention to Washington State.

On making up Arizona State game 

There’s always a concern with games getting cancelled. I’m hopeful we will play Sunday. I don’t know how the make up (against ASU) will work. They (Pac-12) may go with the teams that have the most games missed.  

On what it will take to beat Washington State

They’re good because they know who they are. They have two really great players, superstars. The two (Leger-Walker) sisters are excellent. Their inside game is coming along as well. They don’t make a ton of mistakes. They get good shots each time down. They defend well and scout well.

We’re going to have to be really good. That win up there has proven to be pretty big for us. That kind of road win benefits you.

On tightening rotation

I don’t know about giving more or less time. We’ve put a certain unit together a little bit more this week. We’ve basically divided up our lineup in practice most days almost all year. We’ve basically set on a group we think will work for us and play it by ear the rest of game. I don’t know if well see the same revolving door we did (against Arizona).

On Sedona Prince’s health 

I was glad she got to play a little bit. You can tell she’s a little rusty. She’s still a little limited iin practice but she should be ready to go this week.

On how the team can regain identity 

We can’t turn the ball over as much. We can’t deal with pressure in that way. We’ve got to be a little more patient offensively. The one good thing that came out of that, we gave up 57 points, 20 of them came in the first. That’s a nice job against a team like that.

There were some things to build on. It wasn’t all bad down in the desert. We knew we were going to have some highs and lows. I didn’t think the down would look like that. Hopefully we learned from it and we can be better.

On Nyara Sabally 

She’s been great. She continues to be impressive especially on the boards. She’s become our go-to player in a lot of ways. She has to continue to finish better and maybe get to the line a little more. I think she’s going to continue to grow. She’s played 12 games in two and a half years. It’s relevant. We’re going to need her down the stretch, If we hope to make a splash in the NCAA tournament--she’s going to have to be a big part of it. 

On WSU Coach Kamie Ethridge

She’s a basketball person. She understands the game and played it at a high level. I think a lot of people don’t know she’s in the hall of fame at Texas and that’s saying something. You can tell her players are very well coached. I followed her career for years when I was at Gonzaga. We talked a lot and tried to set up games but it never worked out. 

On having no fans this season

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t have an impact. I think they’d love to at least have their families. I still don’t understand that. It’s a bigger deal here. You’re telling me 12,000 fans wouldn’t impact a game?

It’s impacted our program more than others I think because we truly have a home court advantage. We had a few families that were going to fly out for the ASU game. I go to Costco and rub shoulders with people every time I’m there. 

On Charliese Leger-Walker, being familiar with her

I saw her in Belarus when I went that summer. I watched them play a couple of times and she was very impressive. She has proven to be everything I saw and more. She reminds me of Sabrina in a lot of ways. She doesnt get sped up. She’s strong and knows how to play the game. 

On balancing cancellations and preparing for tournament 

I have a coaching friend I follow on Twitter and he tweets out blessed to see another day. You have to have that approach. We are fortunate each day to play not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

Friday will be our 13th game and that’s the minimum number you have to play to be eleigible for the NCAA tournament. I am really proud of my team. I’ve been so happy they’ve had really good attitudes. We wanted to get the taste out of our mouth after Arizona. It’s good to be back home. m confident we are going to play well. 

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