CRAWFORD | Jeff Walz summer Q&A, WNBA, newcomers, more - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Jeff Walz summer Q&A, WNBA, newcomers, more

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- All right, I'm going to admit something. University of Louisville coach Jeff Walz held a news conference to update some news with his women's basketball program today, but I got distracted by his 13-month-old daughter, Lola, during the news conference and only caught about half of what he said.

So here's a transcript of a portion his news conference from today -- with the obligatory Lola photo gallery attached.

Opening statement: All five of our freshmen are here, they're all in class and they're all participating in our summer workouts. I'm really excited about where they are, and even more excited about where they're going to be in two or three months.

Myisha Hines-Allen and Arica Carter arrived a few days ago for the start of our third session of summer school. Sydney Brackemyre, Ariana Freeman and Mariya Moore have been here for our second and third session. Mariya will travel with me on the 26th out to Colorado Springs for the under-18 USA Basketball, so she'll have a great opportunity to play about two and a half weeks with some of the best players in the country, and then the opportunity to represent the U.S. in the Tournament of Americas.

Our returning players, we have two who have decided to transfer.  Munni has decided to look at NAIA programs. I don't think she's ready to announce that yet, but just looking for the opportunity to get more playing time. And Starr Breedlvoe also is looking to transfer. SO those two will not be on the roster for the upcoming season, but we thank them for what they did for us and wish them the best of luck.

Any questions, concerning our roster and players?

Q: How do you go about starting to replace someone like Shoni (Schimmel), who for four years did so much?

A: It's the same thing everyone said when Angel (McCaughtry) graduated. How are you going to replace her? You aren't. Now what we have to find out is we're going to find players who can come in and do their own thing. Shoni was not Angel. Shoni played a completely different game than Angel played, but had tremendous success for us. I've got Sara Hammond and Bria Smith returning, Jude (Schimmel) returning. I'm expecting more from those players. Megan Dienes, Courtney Walton, all of them have worked extremely hard this offseason, knowing there's opportunities for them. So I'm really excited to see what our returning players are going to do, then you throw in a very talented five freshman who, I told the returning players, from Day One as soon as our season ended, these five freshmen are coming in here with the idea of taking their playing time. So we have a group that is going to challenge our returners, and going to give us good depth, and it wouldn't surprise me to see a few of them starting for us.

Q: What's it mean to your program to have two players in the WNBA All-Star game?

A: Well, it speaks volumes to have two of your players the past six years starting in the All-Star game, it just shows you what we've been able to do here. We take great pride in developing our players. Our fan base is a big part of that. I just read today where Shoni's jersey is the No. 1 selling jersey in the WNBA. A large part of that is our fan base, there's no question about it. So it's helping to establish what we know we have here, but now it's getting out on a national stage, which of course will help out with recruiting. We're in on some of the best players in the country, and a lot of that has to do with what we've been able to do with our players who have moved on. So I'm really excited about that. My wife and I are going to travel down on Friday and be there at the game on Saturday to cheer them both on. It's a big day for our program and a big day for those two young ladies, and I wanted to make sure I was there for that. Asia Taylor, she's been doing great things up there, they're very pleased at Minnesota with what she's been getting done. I expect her to stick around for a long time and continue to improve. She announced on her Twitter account that she signed a contract in Italy and will be going over there to play once the WNBA season is finished. So we're just excited about that, and excited about all our players. Antonita Slaughter is going to Europe, Tia Gibbs has had some offers to go to Europe. So I expect to have seven or eight of them who will be playing in Europe.

Q: With this class coming in, what's your assessment of how competitive you'll be in the ACC?

A: I expect us to be very competitive. We've got, you know, it's going to take us a while to get a mix together to get a good feel for who is able to do what, which groups play best together, and those kinds of things, but I'm really pleased with the talent level. We are going to count on some freshmen, so there are going to be some growing pains.

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