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Butts, Warthen Travel to Pac-12 Media Day
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 10/24/2013
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day Press Roundtable
Arizona: Coach Niya Butts and Candice Warthen

Opening Statement
Niya: “Thank you for having us here. I’m looking forward to season, it’s great to have
Candice back, we’re trying to stay away from injury bug…unfortunately we couldn’t
dodge it, we lost Alli Gloyd who was one of our starting posts, so she’s out for the
year, and that hadn’t being announced until now. It was an ACL tear in a scrimmage –
right knee. It sucks ,but hey you have to push forward, and you know difficulties
mastered are opportunities won. “

Talking about who can step up:
Niya: “Our young group, our freshmen, they’re equipped to do so. Jones out of Texas
who for us was a top 100 kid coming in is gonna help us…Workman will help in that
position. As well as James, they understand what happened when she went
out…Candice is eager to get back from being out a year and a half. She went down
after we started 12-1, and came back at end of conference play, didn’t see a lot of
action. I’m looking forward to it…ready to toss ball up. I wish I could still play, that’s
just how competitive I am.”

Candice on changes since she’s last played:
Candice: “I’m a different player in the mental aspect and my leadership role has
increased, so I’ve gotten a lot better at that…I think I’m faster with ball now, it’s an
area I’ve been trying to focus on while I was out, so the change of speed use it more
now. I love the game more now, I really do. When I was out it was difficult watching
and not being able to help team, so now I’m going to be able to take advantage of
every opportunity I have.”

On keeping up with conference improvements:
Niya: “Its about going every day and trying to work and improve and make yourself
and your staff and team better. Everyday we go out with that goal in mind. For me I
always want to get out on floor and play the game, less talk and more play…get out
there and play and do what we know we’re capable of doing. We have the pieces to
make that happen. Especially gaining Candice back and the style of play, some of the
rule changes will up us with the way we play. So we’re looking forward to that...speed,
athleticism, and quickness - those are our strengths.”

On what the half court will look like:
Niya: “In the half-court, we’ll have quick hitters but we’re implementing new things
that’ll plays to a lot of strengths…Candice is penetrator and will play to her strengths,
as well as our other bigs on the floor. We’ll still use quick hitters and isolate but hopefully we’re scoring in transition and don’t have to run much half-court. But at the end of the game it slows down for everybody and you have to be able to score half court.” 

On rule changes: 
Niya: “For us, me I stress defense…when I go back and watch tape when we’re at our
best and getting up and pressuring, speeding up and making teams play fast, I look at
shot clock and how much time has run off clock, where you took your time and were
patient with the basketball, those would be turnovers now…so for us that means
intensify, be more aware and then the lower defensive block will allow people to make
plays in paint that you don’t have to focus so much on the line.”

More on Gloyd:
“We were scrimmaging last week – I believe we scrimmaged on Wednesday – we
found out on Friday night didn’t think it was ACL, but the final MRI came through
Friday evening. Surgery upcoming soon, don’t have a date for you.”

On the strength of the back-court:
Niya: “It better be a strength, we feel like we have good guard play we’re going to
need solid point guard play, I think Harris will also step in and be able to do good
things for us in that role. But our guard play has got to be strong, they have to be
catalysts on defense and offense as well.”

Assessment of conference this year:
Niya: “Our conference has been hit with some injuries I was shaking my head last week
thinking we’d avoided the injury bug that hit UCLA, Utah, Oregon…and then last
week that happens and you think you have to be kidding me. But the conference is so
different, the makeup, we’re unlike conferences where you can generalize, but we
have so many different coaches with different styles that Pac-12 has something for
everybody. You can find someone in the league that’ll play your style…you know
you’re gonna get a little bit of everything, it’s not predictable.”

On needing to win the close games:
Niya: “I think for me as the leader of the team, you have to make sure you keep
everyone grounded and not give in to that…it’s easy to do when you lose those
games and you’re this close to winning them…for me as a coach, we’ve really been
stressing its all the little things and at the end of the day they aren’t real little. When
you’re 2-3 possessions away from a win, you think about how could we have made
that play where you were out of a stance, in practice when we’re stopping and harping
on this, as a player you may think it’s not a big deal, but at end of the day all the little
things add up and become huge. Big ships don’t turn quickly…you can’t let up on
that…you can’t let them slide, especially as close as you are, knowing that is not
talent…you have to be able to push through those, and push thorough hard.”

On how that sinks in for players:
Candice: “It can get a little overwhelming during practice, but we know we have to
trust what coaches are saying …hey know what they’re talking about, we have to be
tougher and fight through hard times…when we get hit we have to hit back and
learn how to finish, play for 40 minutes. As a freshman it’s always a bit challenging
coming in, but as seniors we get frustrated too…everyone has to talk to each other
and keep everyone on the same page and be positive.”

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