Ataira Franklin at Media Day
Nov. 6, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - On Tuesday, Nov. 6, head coach Joanne Boyle and guards China Crosby and Ataira Franklin fielded questions from the media about the upcoming season. Below are some of their responses from the press conference.
Coach Boyle's opening statement:
"I'm just happy to be here and I can't believe our second season is almost underway but we're excited trying to build on last year's season of 25-11 and trying to take it to another level. We open up Friday against James Madison and we're quite excited to get the ball out and start playing some basketball."
On the health of the team and who is available:
Coach Boyle: "We know Lexie Gerson is out for the year with her hip surgery. Jaryn Garner has just started coming back. She actually got in practice and was able to go up and down a little bit yesterday. I don't know that she'll be ready for Friday but hopefully if not Friday, soon. Raeshaun Gaffney is still working to come back and we're probably looking and a December or January time frame with her."
On Gerson being out for year and how that hurts the defense:
Coach Boyle: "She did a great job for us. She really bought into the system last year and her length really helped. Obviously, she really has an energy on that end of the floor but again, every team deals with injuries and you have to find people that are going to step up and contribute. Sometimes that is an opportunity for your younger players. We are just trying to work rotations right now and see who fits in there. The upperclassman are experienced so it's not like they are learning sometime new. We can get more out of them on the defensive end of the floor early where last year we were pretty much teaching it at this time. You are always going to have other people step up and hopefully other people can contribute."
On the freshman filling roles:
Coach Boyle: "I think they are all naturally gifted. I think the big question for freshman is their learning curve and how much can they pick up. I think they are all going to be able to contribute for us this year. It is just a matter of when are they going to be giving us significant minutes."
On facing JMU to start the year:
Coach Boyle: "I think we, as a group, said, `what do we want to do this year? What was our season like last year and where do we want to go from there?' We are trying to look at a season and not an individual game. It is not a `make-or-break'. Obviously, we want to win and we are going to do everything we can, but we are also looking for what the season can lay out for us."
Thoughts about the upcoming season
Ataira Franklin: "We are excited. We are eager to play. We are definitely a team that is hungry because of how things went for us last year. We thought we should have been in the NCAA Tournament, but that is just more motivation for us. As coach was saying, we want to look at things collectively. We want to get better each day to improve on the season we had last year. Everyone is excited. We are ready to go. It seems like it went by so fast. Friday is right around the corner." On the the recovery period from her injury:
China Crosby: "This is my second surgery. This first one was much longer than this one. I felt like this one I bounced back much quicker and that is thanks to [strength and conditioning] Coach Anderson, [strength and conditioning] Coach Curtis and [former trainer] Paul Murata who was here and went to South Carolina. I felt the summertime was the time I really had to grind it out. I didn't go home until the first week of August. The summertime was the time I had to put the work in. I tried my best to put the work in and I got the results that I wanted."
On how point guard duties will be divided when China is not in the game:
Coach Boyle: "Right now, Kelsey Wolfe. She shifts over there for us. Faith Randolph is really comfortable on the wing right now and I don't know if she is really ready to play two positions. Jaryn Garner came in yesterday and ran some point for us. Without missing a beat, she got us into a couple of things we needed to, so she might be our third option. Obviously if we need to [Franklin] can always bring the ball down for us and get us into an offense. Right now that shared responsibility is mostly on Kelsey."
On Sarah Imovbioh
Coach Boyle: "She is a tremendous athlete, but very raw. So much potential. She needs game experience. For now, it's just been practice, but when the lights come on and the fans are there, you are going to see some things we weren't able to do last year just on the boards and running in transition and hustle plays. Her learning curve is learning the game of basketball. Hopefully she will make up for that with her innate abilities and just being able to do things some other people can't do. Her ceiling is really high. Right around that Christmas mark, I expect her, after getting some great experience, to be in a position to really help us in ACC's. She's in that post rotation. She gets in early off the bench and see how she is playing and then monitor [her usage] from there."
On Sarah Beth Barnette:
Coach Boyle: "I think she is a true four. She can really shoot the ball and she can extend the defense. When we were scrimmaging the other day, they were playing that match-up zone, and she came in and really helped us there. She had some poise. Sometimes she has poise and sometimes she needs to work on that. She has had a year of college basketball at a very successful program. We are expecting her to bring that wealth of knowledge and help as we move forward in the season. For all of the new players - Sarah Beth and Sarah I and the freshmen - our system is new to them. Their growth is going to happen throughout the season. It is not going to be immediately felt on Friday or next week. We have to be patient and bring them along. I am still trying to figure out where I can use her. Those four players are special when they can score, but you have to find a way to use them. She needs to help us on the defensive end to be on the four. If she does have a weakness, she knows it is on the defensive end. She needs to sit down and guard for us and be active on that zone and be aggressive. I think she has a little bit more to learn on that end of the floor than the offensive end of the floor."
On the lack of size in the post
Coach Boyle: "We brought in Ashley Earley who was a phenomenal post player at Vanderbilt. I thought she has brought to the table teaching our posts different things. I feel that we need them to be a presence for us. I tell them every day that we need balance on this team. There needs to be an inside-out. They've embraced that. We are challenging them to be a presence for us. We will deliver the ball. The guards are definitely better this year. We have emphasized getting post touches. We need to have more of an inside-outside game. I thought Simone Egwu, in particular, did a really good job in the scrimmages. I think she was our second leading scorer. We are going to be a better team if we have that. If Frankie or China can step up and give us 20 points every night, that's great. But if that's not the case, we need more balance on the team and we have to have our posts involved in it. I feel like, in the preseason, there has been more of an emphasis on that and they are doing that and our guards are recognizing that. We'll see as we move forward."
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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