Unlike many of his peers in the coaching profession, Kelly Graves isn’t afraid to let fans see what’s behind the curtain.
During No. 5 Oregon’s 84-71 victory over Washington in the Pac-12 opener, Graves wore a microphone for the Pac-12 Networks broadcast.
“Well, I didn’t change. So hopefully they have a beep button,” Graves said after Friday’s game at Matthew Knight Arena. “We’ll see what kind of calls and emails I get. …
“I think it’s nice. We’ve always been open to that kind of stuff.”
The “mic’d up” television segment captured Graves pushing buttons during the intense rivalry game.
Ruthy Hebard missed her first seven shots and was spotted by the coach at the top of the key while the Huskies were corralling an offensive rebound under the paint.
During a timeout, Graves asked the star forward: “Are you going to do it your own way or our way? … Good, because your way ain’t working.”
Graves, while exchanging a high-five with Hebard as she returned to the court, added with a smile: “I like getting on you, man. I like getting on you.”
Later in the game, Graves told Hebard: “If you want to play, then they got nobody that can stop you. You want to do what you’ve been doing, then we’re in trouble.”
Hebard finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots to help the Ducks (12-1, 1-0) close out the victory in their conference opener.
Graves has also challenged sophomore Satou Sabally, who makes scoring look easy, whether she’s knocking down shots from behind the three-point arc or driving to the basket, to also use her sleek 6-foot-4 frame to help Hebard in the rebounding department.
Sabally, who was averaging 4.9 rebounds entering Pac-12 play, had 19 points and 12 rebounds against Washington.
“When she does that, we become an entirely different team,” Graves said.
Graves wanted to make sure his players enjoyed the win over the Huskies (7-7, 0-2). But before dropping the mic, he also made it clear the team didn’t begin defense of its Pac-12 championship with the same sharpness it had against Mississippi State last month.
Oregon hosts Washington State on Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena (3 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) expecting another tough game from a program projected to finish near the bottom of the standings.
The Cougars (6-7, 1-1) beat Washington last week and are coming off a competitive 76-69 loss at No. 11 Oregon State.
“I feel liked we’re going to be the hunted one this year, and it’s good for us,” Sabally said. “I mean, we are a championship team and it’s good when everyone is hunting us. We were prepared for it.”