March 7, 2004

One-on-One with Women's Hoopster Ashley Graham

March 4, 2004

The Santa Clara

With the women's WCC Tournament underway, freshman guard Ashley Graham of the sixth-seeded Broncos basketball squad took some time Tuesday to sit down with Sports Editor Brian Betz.

BB: What's the mood with the team going into the tourney?

AG: We're definitely really excited to go out and play. We do know it's tough to beat a team three times like USF, but we want to keep it one game at a time. We're not even looking ahead at anything else but Thursday at 2.

BB: Is there anything specific the team's working on in preparation for that game?

AG: Um, just knowing their personnel really. That's what it comes down to and just being able to get the stops when we need 'em.

BB: 2-5 at home in the WCC, obviously isn't very good. But how much are you going to rely on the home-court advantage for the tournament?

AG: That's really nice to have the tournament here, especially for freshmen, it's nice to have friends and family come here and watch us at home. We'll hopefully get fans out there. That would actually give us an advantage.

BB: That's the thing: Fan support hasn't been there, even for the men's team most of the time. Is your family coming down?

AG: Yeah, my parents. So two. It'll be cool for them to see me play.

BB: Have they gotten to see many of your games?

AG: They just came to the games by where I live, near Seattle. So Gonzaga, Portland.

BB: Did you ever believe before you got here that you'd have such a great year as a freshman?

AG: Um, I didn't know what was going on with Kayla (Huss) or anything so like my goal in coming here was just to make an impact. You know, whether it was coming off the bench or just getting a few minutes to go in there to do whatever I could. Unfortunately, Kayla had to get hurt, so a lot of us freshmen are getting significant minutes.

BB: Being one of six freshmen on the Freshmen All-WCC Team, what's that mean to you?

AG: Well, it doesn't mean too much. More importantly, what are we going to do in the conference tournament? Like, individual awards don't mean anything if we as a team don't go anywhere.

BB: Has the transition to the college game been as easy as your statistics indicate?

AG: It's a huge change. The pace of the game is way faster and especially being the point guard, I'm supposed to be setting the pace. And as a freshman, you know, I'm used to going a lot slower. But the coach definitely has confidence in me to, you know, push the ball. It's not easy, but it's an adjustment that has to be made right away, especially with so many freshmen on the team.

BB:Do you feel like a born point guard?

AG: I definitely prefer point guard over any other position. And that's, you know, what I came here to do.

BB: What's going to happen once Kayla (Huss) gets back next year?

AG: I haven't really thought about that too much. I don't know. Hopefully we both can work together out there on the court, whether one of us runs the two or one, you know.

BB: Well, it'll be a strong back court in any event. But what other schools did you consider?

AG: I was looking at actually USF, Weber State, Colorado State, that was about it.

BB: So why here?

AG: I wanted to come to California in the first place. I liked the area, not necessarily the sun but just the whole aspect of being in California. And then I really like the coaching staff. And the team. I knew a few of them cause some of them are from Seattle.

BB: Yeah, how big of an influence were they?

AG: I never actually knew any of them personally. I kinda knew Kayla (Huss) cause I had seen her around since I was little. I actually looked up to her when I was little.

BB: Did you play any other sports growing up?

AG: It was pretty much just basketball. I tried out soccer for a while and volleyball for a while but I stopped those even before junior high.

BB: Are you a big NBA fan?

AG: Yeah. I like the Spurs. I like New Jersey, but the Spurs are definitely my favorite overall. I like their point guard and I like Tim Duncan.

BB: Not the Sonics?

AG: Um, no. Especially since they got rid of everyone good.

BB: You mean like the old Gary Payton-Shawn Kemp days?

AG: Yeah.

BB: You've got a basketball with you. Do you carry it around often?

AG: I don't take it everywhere but I'm usually shooting, like after practice. So it goes with me some places. It goes with me on the road trips.

BB: It's your friend?

AG: Ha ha, yeah.