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October 11, 2017
San Francisco, California
JUNE DAUGHERTY: Good afternoon to everyone. It's great to be here. Really appreciate seeing a lot of familiar faces and some new faces as well. Very excited about Washington State's women's basketball.
We are healthy and coming off a Final Four run in the WNIT, which I think has definitely built a lot of confidence into our players.
We've had the best spring and summer that I've witnessed in my 10, 11 years here at Washington State. The players are playing with a lot more confidence. They're a lot more hungry about continuing to play in postseason.
A lot of great leadership from these two and other teammates, and a lot of talent.
We are very up-tempo. More so than we've ever been. We scrimmaged the other day, and I had officials in. And we scrimmaged against what we call our gray squad, the guys we play against. And we put a lot of points up on the scoreboard. And I don't think it was because their defense was so bad.
So very excited about the season. Have a great schedule, a great team, and ready to take some questions.
Q. From last year it felt -- the last couple years, just the injury thing, every time you got momentum, there would be some injury. I don't know how you addressed that with your team or you just forget about it. How do you go through that? It seems like it stopped your momentum.
JUNE DAUGHERTY: Yeah, first of all, I'm just so excited that everybody's healthy now. We gave them a lot of vitamins all postseason, all summer. They've worked really hard, our doctors and trainers worked really hard with them.
I think one of the unique things is when something bad happens, there is a lot of good that comes out of it. And there was a lot of good that came out of it for our team. I think the mental toughness that this group showed last year, not losing one, but two, but three starters and then a fourth player for the season like they did, they just bounced back. They did not allow anyone to make excuses for them.
I think that they're to be commended about the fact that they were able to say: You know what? We know they're hurt, but we're good, too, and we're going to keep playing and get better. And that's exactly what happened.
To see them make that run, that was the third year we were in the WNIT. But to play four out of five on the road and win the way we did in the WNIT I think really talks about how mentally tough they really are as a group, the leadership in the program. And I'm pretty proud of this group for what they did.
They also know it's time to move on from that, and that's something that we're working on right now.
Q. Can you talk about that WNIT run, what you learned from it and what you take from it and move forward as you start a new season?
CAILA HAILEY: I think our team learned a lot from going as far as we did in the WNIT. Like June said, that was in the past, and now we're focused on a new year. We have new goals this year with everybody coming back. There are high expectations, and as it should be, but I think that that kind of tested us a lot with the injuries as well.
Like she said, it is a testament to the coaches and to the players and how tough we are.
PINELOPI PAVLOPOULOU: I also want to say that last year in the WNIT we had a lot of experience, because we had three starters going down and then a fourth player, and this year we only lost one senior from last year, Eva. Everybody's coming back this year.
The WNIT was a great experience for us because there were tough games, one after the other. It was a quick turnaround. We had to travel a lot to various and different places that were far from us, learn to scout, and be quick to learning the new system.
So it gives us experience as a team. We're hoping to carry that on to this year. We know last year is over, so we need to get that experience and use it for this year.
Q. Pinelopi, your WNIT run was especially good, and you upped your averages significantly from regular season to postseason. What worked for you during that run? Is that something that you could take forward to this year? Coach, what did you see from Pinelopi during that WNIT run?
PINELOPI PAVLOPOULOU: One thing that I changed personally was to sleep more. I knew it was very important to get rested and recover from game after game. I knew I was getting more minutes on the floor. So I needed to kind of balance my academics more than I did in the past.
So that was a good observation from my strength coach. He said: What changed? You're getting eight hours or more of sleep, and look how good you're playing.
So I'm keeping that in mind for this year.
Another thing is the starting point guard went down, so I was the one up. And I really wanted our team to go far. I didn't want the season to end in the Pac-12 Tournament like the year before. I got confidence from that. I was looking at my teammates and I wanted them to be successful and have a successful year.
Especially Eva, our senior last year, I really wanted to play, as a team, play good for her, so that she finishes with a great experience her career at Washington State.
JUNE DAUGHERTY: Well, you can see we've got some team chemistry. The whole team was challenged when starters were going down. One of the things that happened with the injuries is we played 10, 11 players deep.
So we did have an opportunity where Pinelopi and Chanelle Molina, the young lady that went down with ACL, they played a lot of minutes. They're used to being in the leadership roles that they're in.
So I think that really helped us, is the fact that we've played a lot of players. They've had significant minutes on the floor. They just had to up them quite a bit.
Q. Coach, we talked last year about Lindsey Wilson, performance consultant, working with you. You talked about how great this off-season has been. Is there anything you've done that's different this year in terms of preparing for your team?
JUNE DAUGHERTY: Yeah, Lindsey's program is awesome. I've known her for years. She's a great high school player and had a great college career as well.
But for us this year, we've tried to take a different path. We've brought in speakers. We've brought in some different speakers. We'll continue to bring in speakers.
One of the speakers that will be interesting to a lot of you in the room is that Bill Moos really wants to talk to this team. We had a long conversation this summer, Bill and I did, about the program has arrived. It's great that we've been in the WNIT the last three or four years, but this is about getting into the NCAAs and going deep in the NCAAs.
Bill and I both believe this program has the opportunity to compete for the title in the Pac-12. We haven't been able to feel that way in a long time at Washington State.
So speakers will continue to be a part of what we're doing kind of behind the scenes, if you will, with the program. It will be fun to see how they react to the different speakers that we have programmed with it.
Some of it is a little bit of a surprise. They don't know. It's kind of ongoing as the season goes on. Some of them will be picked up on some road games with former players and standout people that will, I think, make a great impression on this group.
Q. Just kind of going off what Coach just said, talk about the progress that you've seen with this program and how these things that they create for you, what it's been like. There are a lot of positives, but also the things that they're bringing in now, different speakers and different motivational tools, to try to help you build chemistry with this team. Talk about how that's been for you.
PINELOPI PAVLOPOULOU: It's been a great experience because I've never had this opportunity in my life before. And Coach June makes sure that we introduce ourselves to people that we see on the road as well. We get exposed to things that could be good for us in the future.
So it's a great learning experience because we hear from their lives, from either successful people or people that have been in our position and they struggled and then they rose.
It's good to see where we're at now and where we want to go as people, as maybe professionals or basketball players, whatever it might be. It helps us in our lives.
CAILA HAILEY: Yeah, just piggybacking off of that as well, I can tell I've changed so much since my freshman year, and that's all because of June, all the things that she's done for this team, preparing us outside of basketball for life in general, as far as meeting people, like Pinelopi said, getting to know people, learning about people's lifestyles and what they've been through and learning from that and taking that into our life and learning from what they've gone through and taking that on.
Like even now, I never thought I'd be a captain ever. Like I said, that's all because of June. And she's prepared me for life. I feel like now I'm confident in leading this program because of June.
Q. Your teams are known for having an international flair. Kelly Graves talked about recruiting overseas as well. He says that oftentimes he noticed in Europe and Australia that the kids are taught skills and that that really doesn't happen as much over here. You see the influx, especially from Australia that's now a gold mine for players coming to play here. What do you think about his comments, and do you find that that's true?
JUNE DAUGHERTY: Well, I would agree with Kelly on that. We see him quite a bit overseas, him and his staff. Basketball is a global game. Because of FIBA TV, now Facebook, the Internet, you know, there is quite a bit of interest from the student-athletes overseas. They can check us out. Pac-12 Networks is in 30-some countries, and they see our games.
So we get a lot of interest not just from Australia, but from Europe, and Athens, Greece. We have kids from Serbia, France, Bulgaria, Portugal. Did I say France? Serbia, yeah, Australia as well.
But I agree with Kelly because over there we get to see practices, we get to see quite a bit of games as well. But the fundamentals are taught at a very early age over there. And fundamentally the players in those countries are a lot of times way ahead of our age groups, and a lot of that has to do with the way they teach the game.
So it's great to be able to go over and recruit kids from all over the world. I believe we're the most diverse team in the country, if you look at our roster. Where we're all from, whether it's Los Angeles or Bulgaria, it's great. It's great.
But basketball is a global game on the men's and women's side. It's fantastic to be able to go to homes across the world and talk about getting a world-class education at Washington State, to be a part of the Pac-12 Network, to be able to be seen the way that they're able to be seen these days. It's a win-win for everyone.
Q. Couple new freshmen on the roster. Only two faces that I'm not familiar with. So this is for you, Caila and Pinelopi, first, before Coach. What do you like about Taryn Shelley and Celena Molina?
PINELOPI PAVLOPOULOU: That should be a Disney character, Celena Molina. I'm going to start with Celena, because she's a stud. If you watch her social media pages -- her Instagram, her Twitter -- she's really loving Pullman, everything about it. She takes pictures all over the campus, in the city -- or town.
And both of them are great kids. They have great character. They have already bought into our program. They haven't caused any trouble.
What I like about them is they always have their eyes and ears open, ready to learn from us. So it's important that we as leaders set the right example for them and move on. But they're receptive, so that's a good thing.
CAILA HAILEY: Yeah, very receptive players, very respective players. I think they fit into this culture perfectly. There are times when I'll pull them aside in practice and say, hey, make sure you're doing this or that. And they'll say, okay, great.
And Celena, she was on my team and she didn't understand the drill, and she was on the side asking me questions. I said: Go in and do it. It's okay to make mistakes.
That's what I love about them. They're open to making mistakes and know that it's okay to make mistakes as a freshman. They want to get better. I love their work ethic as well.
JUNE DAUGHERTY: Just so finish that. Celena's a very unique athlete and very athletic, very athletic. Right now she's ahead defensively than she is offensively, and that's okay, especially for a two-three guard in our program.
Taryn Shelley has really soft hands, and that's a great thing when you talk about a post player at 6'4". She's learning the system very quickly. She's somebody that offensively is not going to have problems scoring, but she's got to learn the other side of the basketball, like most freshmen, defensively.
So excited to have them both in the program. Thanks for asking about our new up-and-coming stars, I hope.
Q. Is everybody -- I know you had so many -- not only so many injuries but so many crazy injuries last year. Is everybody full-go now? There are no restrictions?
JUNE DAUGHERTY: Yeah, they're full-go. Every day they're in practice, and it's great to have the numbers out there.
Q. I wanted to go back to something you said a few moments ago, Caila; that you never expected to be a captain. How come?
CAILA HAILEY: Just always having people in front of me. I'm always the one that kind of looks up to other people. I never expected to be the one that people look up to. I'm always the one that's trying to learn.
I feel like I'm always -- as an underclassman, I always make mistakes, and just trying to learn from my mistakes. I feel like once I started taking outside of basketball more serious, and I felt like that kind of carried over, I'm way more mature than I was my freshman and sophomore year. I know the system inside and out now. Like I said, that's all a testament to June.
Q. Expand on that a little bit. Did she say anything in particular? Was there a moment that helped you believe in yourself?
CAILA HAILEY: Yeah, definitely. June's always encouraging me. She told me way back she could see me being a leader for this program. In her saying that, I wanted to be a leader. That's what made me change myself, my character. That's what made me grow as a player.
Like I said, leaving this program I know that I'm ready for life now outside of basketball. So I'll even if I never play basketball again, I know I'll be ready for what hits me, and that's because of her.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports