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Head Coach Kelly Graves, Gonzaga Women's Basketball - Responses

1. Since this is your third season at Gonzaga, I am sure you will have a winning record. Where do you expect to finish in the WCC standings?
We always set a goal of winning the WCC Championship. Some years that goal is more realistic and attainable than others but you always have to strive for that goal. I feel that we can reach the upper half of the conference if we can improve throughout the preseason, get some breaks here and there, and get that great team chemistry successful teams must have.

2. Last year's freshman class seems like it was the best overall class in the WCC. What do you expect from them this season?
It sounds odd to say that we are looking to our sophomores for our leadership but the fact is they are our most experienced returners. Shannon Mathews is one of the top two or three point guards in the league. Ashley Burke reminds me more and more each day of Tracy Morris and Raeanna Jewell keeps getting better and better.

3. It always takes a while for a new coach to get going with a new school. You've done a great job in turning around the program. Is this the year that Gonzaga moves into the top half of the conference or do you see yourself needing a couple more years to recruit and develop your players? Good luck this season. Thank you for your positive wishes. I certainly hope we can climb into the upper tier of the conference and feel we're capable of doing so. We have a tremendous sophomore class, a great freshmen class and have another banner class coming in next year so the future looks bright--we're getting close.

4. What will it take to get the Gonzaga women's basketball program at the same level as the men's?
No question our men's program is tremendous. I am a big fan of their coaches and players and they are great ambassadors of our university and conference. We'd love to get ourselves to that level and we work hard each day to make that happen.

5. If you could have one player from a different team on your team, who would it be and why?
That's a tough question because our league is filled with superb talent. Why settle on one--why not give me a dream team? I'll take:

Hinojosa--Pepperdine--competitive, steady, wants to take the big shot
Nakamoto--San Diego--Heart and smart
Davis--Saint Mary's--one of the nicest people you'll ever meet and hits the 3pt.
Murray--LMU--brings lunch pail to work everyday
Slaughter--LMU--who doesn't need a 6'3" shot blocker in the middle?
Lee--Pepperdine--quick, a leader on the floor
Annas--Santa Clara--just gets it done, tough
Sauer--USF--versatile, hard worker
Coach Sollars--if you must win one game, he's the best. As the hair has gotten more and more silver, he gets better.

6. What style of basketball are you guys going to play this year, uptempo or half court?
I love teams that can fly up and down the court but we're a little too slow to break all the time and a little too small inside to play a strong half court game so hopefully we can defend well.

7. What aspect of coaching do you enjoy the most?
Being around my players and coaches every day. I love the relationships that I develop with my team. To me, that's what coaching is all about.

8. Which newcomer on your team will have an impact this season?
We have three newcomers among our top six and I like each one. Bailey, a 6'0" freshman G-F is solid inside and out. Anderson, a 6'1" freshman forward, could be a star in this league (great rebounder). And LeCoultre, a 6'4" forward from France, has exceptional outside skills and smarts.