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April 17, 2020

Ruthy Hebard

New York, New York

Q. Can you kind of give us some background on what you were expecting this evening?
RUTHY HEBARD: I was just really excited and hoping and wishing whatever team picks me, but when I saw it was Chicago, I was super excited, and I talked to the coach and he's a great person and there are some really great players and people on the team, so I'm super excited.

Q. Have you had much time to think about the fit in Chicago, and obviously it's very, very exciting, but part of you is probably hoping that you and Sabrina [Ionescu] could play together?
RUTHY HEBARD: Yeah, but I'm super excited for Chicago and Courtney Vandersloot who played for Coach [Kelly] Graves is there and I already got a text from her, so I'm really excited that Chicago picked me, and I can't wait to work with my new teammates.

Q. I know that you were born here. Did that thought of, well, maybe it would be returning to my birthplace ever come up in your brain in the run-up to this?
RUTHY HEBARD: A little bit. I was kind of thinking like oh, Chicago picked me, it would be so cool to not only play for a great team but just to be able to see and learn a little more about Chicago, where I was born and stuff like that.

Q. I just saw there's news that there will be a parade back in Fairbanks. Can you describe for us the excitement of what that will be like for you this evening and what a parade looks like in the age of social distancing?
RUTHY HEBARD: I'm just super excited, and yeah, there's something going on, and I know it's like -- they're just going to drive through and people are going to be in their cars, so there's social distancing. Going to drive through and wave and see a lot of familiar faces, and it's so nice to have my town backing me and supporting me.

Q. What are the main things that you learned during your time at Oregon, how you grew and matured not just as a player but as a person that you're going to take forward into the league, and then Chicago being kind of a team that is really strong and almost made the WNBA Finals last year, what are you going to bring to that team when you walk in?
RUTHY HEBARD: I'm hoping to bring just another player who wants to work hard, who wants to reach the next step and make it to The Finals and win a championship eventually. That's what I'm hoping to bring, and something from Oregon that I'm going to take forward is probably just the opportunity and take chances and be able to adapt to whatever is going on, and I'm just super excited to do that in Chicago.

Q. The special that was on with Oregon the other night on the Pac-12 Network, they said that you made Sabrina softer and Sabrina made you harder. Do you agree with that?
RUTHY HEBARD: Yeah, in some instances I do. I think we all know Sabrina is super competitive, so I was always the one who would come give her a hug and make her laugh, and she was always the one that came to me and said, okay, it's game time. It was really fun to be able to play with her.

Q. A couple of questions I have, one, have you had time to discuss with Coach [James] Wade about how he'll use you offensively and defensively? And the second thing is do you know of any family or other connections that you have with Chicago or know much about your Chicago origins?
RUTHY HEBARD: No, I don't know anything really about my Chicago origins. And the first question, can you say the first question again, please?

Q. I was asking about anything that you know about how you'll be used offensively and defensively, if you've had time to discuss that.
RUTHY HEBARD: Oh, no, I haven't had time to discuss that yet, but I'm really excited to be able to discuss that hopefully soon, and hopefully soon we'll be on the court again. But I know he's a great coach, and however he'll use me, I know hopefully I'll be great at it.

Q. My question is just which part of your game do you think you need to take a step forward in to play at the next level in the W?
RUTHY HEBARD: I think that I'm really excited to bring my consistency. Hopefully that keeps up in the league. And just being able to finish strong around the rim and finish over the larger players.

Q. Three Oregon players drafted in the top 10. Is this the best day in Eugene?
RUTHY HEBARD: Yes, it is. It was great to be able to be drafted with my two teammates. I know if Eugene could have a party right now, it would probably be a pretty good party.

Q. I'd also like to ask you if you have seen the tweet by Allie Quigley, your future teammate?
RUTHY HEBARD: If I saw her tweet?

Q. The tweet by Allie Quigley.
RUTHY HEBARD: I haven't seen that yet, but I'll go look soon.

Q. She said that they wanted a Duck, and here you are.
RUTHY HEBARD: Thank you. I'm excited to play with her.

Q. My first question is what message do you have for young athletes in Fairbanks right now?
RUTHY HEBARD: I would just say keep grinding. You know, it's always hard, or you hear it's hard to be from Alaska and all that, but I think if you put your mind to it and put your heart into it that no matter what people say, I'll tell you that you can do it, and as long as you're having fun, I think everyone will go far.

Q. I know this isn't the draft that anybody expected, but what's it like to be able to be at home in your hometown and be able to celebrate this with your community?
RUTHY HEBARD: It's great. I mean, I'm so happy to be here, and I'm just -- I never thought I would be in Alaska for a draft, so it's great, and I know a lot of people are happy and excited, and it's nice to be able to be around close family and friends during this time.

Q. How do you think playing on the national stage in Eugene, in Oregon, in primetime, in big time games like that, how do you think that can help you transition easier to the WNBA?
RUTHY HEBARD: I think I just know about the bigger stages, which is really a blessing, to be able to know what it's like, what an ESPN game is like, what like a top Friday night game is like, and that's going to hopefully be able to transfer well, and hopefully I'll be able to be comfortable right off the bat playing in games with these great players.

Q. You kind of touched already on how different this draft was being with your family and surrounded by them in Alaska and how it's nice, but is it safe to say that maybe this isn't how you envisioned your draft day would unfold when you were a kid dreaming about being in the draft?
RUTHY HEBARD: Yeah, definitely not, and even earlier this year. I know I was super excited to be able to go on the stage and explore New York with Sab and Satou, but given the circumstances and everything, now I'm like, okay, this was awesome, it was fun, and it was still so cool that they were able to put it on and have it happen the way it was. They did a really good job, and I'm really happy.

Q. With so many unknowns about the upcoming season, from when training camp might open or when the season might begin, what's next for you in this process? How are you going to take advantage of this time off to grow your game or just kind of get yourself ready for the next step of your career?
RUTHY HEBARD: Yeah, definitely. During this time I'm just going to continue to keep in shape and find a gym whenever I can to work on my game, work on getting my shots down, and staying in shape so whatever we get called and whenever all this clears up I'm ready to go and hopefully make an impact.

Q. I wanted to ask, with them doing the Zoom, it looked like you had a little bit of a delay and you kind of got cut off before you could have your big moment on national television. Did you guys laugh about that or have a different reaction?
RUTHY HEBARD: Yeah, we laughed. It was just funny. We were kind of waiting, and I think, dang, something messed up after all the time we took to set it up. It was fun, and my parents were there and my brothers and my grandpa. They saw the reaction, they were happy, and that's what matters.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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