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October 11, 2017
San Francisco, California
LYNNE ROBERTS: Thank you all for being here. We're excited to be here. This is coming in on my third season here at Utah. So I feel like I finally feel settled. This feels like my program. Like we're really -- like I explained on camera on set that it feels like wet cement right now. We've kind of laid the foundation, players headed in the right direction. Like our staff is in the right place. You know, just continuing to work and grind and continue to climb.
It's an exciting time to be part of the Pac-12. Even though the conference graduated a lot, I think it's better than ever. As exciting as it is, it's also really challenging as we continue to climb and build, and we're doing it in the best conference in the country.
So looking forward to the year. I think at this point in October, every program is full of enthusiasm and optimism and all of that. We're no different in that. So we're looking forward to getting going.
Q. Is there a blueprint to reaching the upper echelon of this conference and staying there? And without tipping your hand, what do you guys need to do to get there?
LYNNE ROBERTS: What was the second part?
Q. What's part of that blueprint of working your way up to getting with the Cals and the Stanfords and UCLAs and staying there?
LYNNE ROBERTS: I don't think there's any secrets to it. There's no hand to tip. I think it's two things. One, it's culture, and you can't ever sidestep that. You can't ever take a shortcut on that. That's the number one priority. In terms of culture, recruiting good kids and just the foundation that you want.
Then the second one, you've just got to recruit talent and get better and better. You look at those teams that you just mentioned, and that's what they've done. They've got established, healthy cultures, and they've got talent.
I feel like our culture's in a really good spot. I know culture is such a clichÃ© word, but in terms of who we are, how we operate, how we conduct ourselves, how we work, we're in a good place.
I didn't recruit these two, but feel like I did. They definitely feel like they're mine, whatever that means. We've got really good kids. They're not kids, but we've got great players, we really do. They're doing whatever it is we ask them to do, and we're continuing to recruit young talent.
So this is the third program I've taken over. The other two I did before, we won a championship, and had never been done. And that's the goal at Utah, and I believe that we can do it.
Q. I know you like to be up-tempo, and you couldn't always do that previously. What kind of styles will this team have this year?
LYNNE ROBERTS: Well, I think, yeah, I still -- just my coaching philosophy, coaching style, I always want to try to be up-tempo. We didn't really have the depth to do it the last couple years to the level I wanted to. We're more up-tempo than they had been.
But this year I think we have the best post play that I've ever coached. We have, you know, we're two, three deep at the four and five spot. We have legitimate size. We've got 6'6", two 6'5", and two 6'3". So we're big. It's exciting style.
So we still want to be up-tempo, but we'll probably play two post players at the same time. So kind of a new type of offense, but philosophically the same in terms of the object of the game at the end of the day is to score more points than you're playing.
Q. For both of you -- I guess I'll go, Emily, after a couple years with Coach, just your reflections on the transition and your experience in this change to Coach Roberts. I'm curious on this year's roster, you guys are seniors. Here we go. When you look at the roster, you look at the personnel, kind of what your outlook is for the year?
EMILY POTTER: Yeah, I have to thank Coach Rob and the coaching staff for letting us take our time and transition. I think it's always hard. They didn't recruit us. They were given us, and they did a really good job of trying to find out what we're good at. She didn't try to make me a point guard. She wants me to put in the best --
LYNNE ROBERTS: World's dumbest coach.
EMILY POTTER: She's going to put me in a spot to be successful, and I'm really excited to play in this new offense we have this year, and I think that will really showcase our talent.
So, yeah, it's been a process. I think Coach said last year second year is always the hardest, and I think it was. So I think we're ready to make a jump this year.
TANAEYA BOCLAIR: Yeah, in response to the roster, I think we finally have all the pieces that we need to kind of click and ebb and flow throughout the season. I think throughout the years we've had like specific things. We have drivers and we have someone that can shoot, but they were a missing post play or just anything.
But I feel like our freshmen this year, yeah, they're freshmen, but they're catching on quick. They are willing to learn. Their work ethic is great. I.
Feel like we have a good base of upperclassmen that know the system. We know what Coach Rob wants. Just being able to transfer, like Coach Rob said, the culture down to the freshmen and teach them in practice that this is what working hard looks like. This is what it looks like to play Pac-12 basketball. I think that's a lot. It could really progress a lot faster this season than we have any other season before.
Q. Emily, you led the team in scoring and rebounding, but you also led them in fouling out. I wonder how you balance -- because I think to take your game to the next level, how do you stay on the court and yet still be super aggressive? Can you work on that? What do you do there?
EMILY POTTER: Yeah, defense is always a work in progress for me. It's something I want to take pride in. We did defensive boot camp the entire first week of practice last week. Only defense for the entire week. Yeah, I think I just need to trust my abilities on defense. I am bigger, obviously, than a lot of the girls. I need to trust that I can defend them if I move my feet and I work towards it. So trust in that and try not to foul as much. Know that I need to stay in the game for my team.
TANAEYA BOCLAIR: I can add on that. She and I have talked a lot, and it's the burden of leadership. If she fouls out or if she gets two fouls early and she has to sit or that knucklehead third foul really early in the third quarter, those are things as a senior that we're all counting on she's got to eliminate.
She knows that, and I think she's in a good place to -- that's just part of maturing as a player, understanding as frustrated as you are and how much you want to go for that block or whatever, not taking the bait.
I think she's in a right mental state. It's not like we haven't talked about it and stuff. But at the end of the day, I don't know that you can practice not fouling. Like you have to choose in that moment to be disciplined and not foul.
Q. Going off of that, you have a 6'5" and 6'4" freshman coming in. Emily, how's practicing against somebody your size? Is that helping this year?
EMILY POTTER: Yeah, it's definitely great. The more bodies, the better, and different types of players. People that are more like better, a lot stronger than me. Or a lot more mobile than me. Like having those two different types of players to play against is good because that's what I'm going to see in games.
So you want a variety. We also have Megan Huff who is more of a shooter. So that's been a challenge for me, making sure she can defend the three-point shot as well. So having that versatility really helps. So come game time, we'll be well seasoned and seeing everything already.
Q. Maybe a little more on Maurane Corbin?
LYNNE ROBERTS: Maurane. She's French Canadian.
Q. I've heard she's got quite the personality.
LYNNE ROBERTS: She does.
Q. Would any of you like to expand on that?
TANAEYA BOCLAIR: Yeah, me and Mo have become good friends since she's been here. On the trip to Italy, we sat on the back of the bus together and started French lessons. So she's been teaching me some French words every now and again.
But I think playing CEGEP basketball in Quebec helped grow her game and helped prepare her a little more for coming here to college. She's definitely very outspoken, and she understands the game, and I think that helps a lot.
So I feel like her confidence with us on the team, like she knows. She's so fun. I don't even know how to explain it. She's so fun, so willing to learn, but also willing to interact with us. Never shy. Just hearing her like when she says her words in English that aren't really English, So what are you trying to say? That's her level, like the bonding.
LYNNE ROBERTS: She's a great interview, too. Some of the slang that just doesn't quite translate, she went -- this is a fun story. She went into our trainer, who's name is Claire. She said, Claire, I have new. I have good new. Claire was like, What? She said, I have good new. She said, What do you mean, news? She said, No, I only have one. So stuff like that.
It's just constant and entertaining. She's great. Her name is Maurane, but she goes by Mo because everybody thinks she introduces herself as "Moulin."
So she's great. She'll get a lot of playing time. And she's a fun interview.
Q. I want to talk about the trip to Italy. Favorite things you did? You talk about team bondings. There are a lot of new, young kids. Did most of them get to go along?
LYNNE ROBERTS: Yeah, they all did.
Q. Talk about experience. I was watching you vicariously as I worked while you were overseas.
TANAEYA BOCLAIR: Yeah, I think the Italy trip helped us bond and get that much closer as a team. It's only October, but we've been together so long already it feels like we're mid-season team-wise.
We're all definitely really close. Some highlights for me from the trip was definitely Rome those first couple days. Did a lot of sightseeing from the Vatican. Seeing that was amazing. Then Lake Como, we all went swimming. Most of us went swimming when we got to Lake Como. Then we found out that's not a thing that locals do, and it's apparently gross to swim in the water there. We thought it was great.
LYNNE ROBERTS: We thought it was amazing. We wondered why no one was in the water. We were just in it. We were wondering why they were all staring at us.
TANAEYA BOCLAIR: We survived. No one got sick.
Q. (Off microphone)?
EMILY POTTER: He was in his house. The window was open.
TANAEYA BOCLAIR: Yeah, he was in his house. We creepily boated by.
Q. Coach, can I ask, when you came to Utah, you kind of hit the double bonus. You had the Pac-12 recruiting platform, and you had a lot of really significant facility upgrades. How has your recruiting elevator speech evolved over the last couple years with Utah?
LYNNE ROBERTS: It's been great. The one thing we can speak to is the one thing we sell is just the level of the Pac-12 and how great it is. What we need to find at Utah -- you know, I don't know, for better or worse, Utah is not the sexy sell. It's not -- we're not on a beach. We're not.
And so for us -- and we're climbing. So we have to find those kids that want to be in the Pac-12. They want to play at the highest level, and it is.
But they also want to be the first to do something. So Utah women's basketball has a ton of success historically -- 15th or 16th winningest program in NCAA women's basketball history; 18, I think, Mountain West Championships.
But we haven't done it in the Pac-12 yet. We have to find those kids that are Pac-12 talent, Pac-12 ability, Pac-12 mentality, but that want to come to a place because they want to be the reason we do something for the first time.
With that said, that's been what we've been trying to find. We've gone international a ton. Our 2018 class, can't really talk about it, but it's going to be a great class. 2017 was very, very good, and it just keeps getting better.
But a lot of that is the facility. But I think more Utah's -- our facilities are I think better than anybody's at this stage.
But Utah's a cool place. It kind of sells itself. We kind of fight the perception versus reality when you get on the phone with a kid or family and they come visit. It's like, wow, this is really cool.
What makes it really cool is more the people than our locker room. While the locker room is incredible, while the facility is ridiculous, I can admit that, that's not why you pull the trigger and come to Utah. It's because of the people, and it's because you want to come to a place that's Pac-12.
It's amazing. All the things like this. But you want to be the reason that Utah women's basketball does something that's never done in the Pac-12.
Q. Emily and Tay, this may be difficult for you to answer since the season hasn't started yet. What do you hope that Utah fans and basketball fans in general are saying about this year's Utah team?
TANAEYA BOCLAIR: Yeah, I think that what we want to do always is work hard and achieve like full potential. We don't want to leave anything behind for a season. Knowing now we don't know what that potential holds or what that potential necessarily means.
But for me and Potter and all of us seniors, our main focus has been leaving it all on the court and leaving behind what we've learned over these four years and what seniors before us, our captains before us have taught us -- to always work hard, to leave your heart on the court and be completely invested in the people that you're with.
Like everybody keeps telling me, like, you're a senior. You're never get these years back. Now it's completely clicking. I don't want to leave.
LYNNE ROBERTS: I don't want you to either.
TANAEYA BOCLAIR: These girls have become family, my sisters, and some of my best friends forever.
EMILY POTTER: Yeah, I think I just want people, when they watch us play, to say, like, wow, they really love each other and want to play basketball.
I want you to see on the court that we're all one unit. We love the coaching staff, we love each other, and we just play really dang hard. So I'd love for that to be visible every time we step on the court.
Q. You have six newcomers and your own recruits this year. Can you give us a quick rundown what you're expecting from these newcomers?
LYNNE ROBERTS: Well, we're going to need them. We have a couple injured. A couple are going to redshirt. One because of injury, one kind of developmentally. But we're going to need them. The one that she was on our team last year, Megan Huff, she's a transfer from University of Hawaii. She was a volleyball and basketball player there and wanted to get serious about just focusing on one sport. So she redshirted last year. She's going to be an impact player for us.
I think Emily gets so much attention on defensive scouts. It's going to open things up for Megan a lot. So she's going to play quite a bit. Tori Williams, a guard out of Idaho, a freshman, she was the big Idaho State Player of the Year, very highly recruited. She can score. She's got a good feel for the game. We're going to need her to play.
Then Corbin, we were talking about Mo Corbin, I think she's going to be an impact player for us too. She's a freshman, but she just plays so dang hard. She's still learning. And there is the language barrier even where she might not even know turn left, turn right, but she has nose to the ball and plays her tail off. So she's going to make plays regardless. So she's a little ahead of the game, farther than I thought she'd be.
So I think those are the newcomers. I know we've got some great returners. Obviously, these two. Then Erika Bean at point guard. And then we've got some good guards coming back too.
So we're a little deeper than we've been, we can shoot the ball better, and I'm cautiously optimistic.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports