Michigan State 60, Michigan 55
 
 
 

 

 
 

Jan. 4, 2012

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Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant

On the second half run and the play of Jasmine Hines...
I thought she did a really good job of pinning and sealing and keeping people behind her. I think she has kind of learned, and more recently we have been working with her on burying people deeper and trying to get in and use her god given strength to her advantage. We know how they play defensively, so we were trying to put her in positions where she could pin and seal and keep people on either side of her so she could finish. And then she had that big gather and kicked it out to Annalise Pickrel who knocked it down at that time. She just does some really good things; there is no question about it. She is really a commanding presence in there and she forces people to have to make changes.

We kind of went to a high-low look and we put some shooters in the deep corners so it made it difficult. I think Schiff (Courtney Schiffauer) did a really good job of forcing the action inside, and when they helped she read it and we skipped it. I think our wings did a good job of reading their backside defense. That is the thing with Michigan, they pack the paint and you are going to get opportunities on the weak side, if you can knock them down obviously you are in good shape. I don't think we shot the ball particularly well, with some of the open looks we had but we got the job done.

On the hustle plays of Courtney Schiffauer...
That is the thing she has been doing for us. Even against Indiana she was a great defensive rebounder for us. She is such a spark, she plays so hard and I think she does a lot of little things for us. The one thing I do think she is doing a good job of offensively is making good reads as a passer. We have struggled (at that). When we lost Kal (Kalisha Keane) we lost a really good face-up 4 passer, she created a lot of offense just by getting the ball where it needed to be when it needed to be there. Moving Schiff to that four spot, when we had some injures to (Madison Williams) has been real positive for us. And she had to play good, we didn't have Becca Mills, she had to play well, it was really good to see her step up.

On the play of Lykendra Johnson...
I thought you have to credit our perimeter people; she got a lot of opportunities at the right time. I felt like Jasmine Hines was really pinning and sealing, and working as a post-man. I thought Lykendra was really the benefit of some good defensive drives, dumps or weak side skips. But she can do some things. She is not in the best shape that she was a year ago and I thought that reflected her ability to defend on the perimeter tonight. At the end of the day she has the experience and the kids really respect her and she is doing a great job as a leader.

On the rivalry with Michigan...
It is a big rivalry in anything; it doesn't matter if it is football, basketball, baseball or hockey. There is always that sense of pride, it is what it is. Anyone that grew up in this state certainly understands it. And there are not many people that are on the fence about it, either you are blue or you're green. Our kids are green and this is their house and they definitely wanted to make sure that they stepped up to the challenge tonight. It is a rivalry that it doesn't matter what your records are, who's injured or who's not injured, who's playing well or who's not playing well, at the end of the day I think it is going to be a battle. I was really proud of our team with the injuries and the situation we were in and how young we are I think our kids did a great job tonight.

Michigan Head Coach Kevin Borseth

Opening remarks...
Our kids have done pretty job of bouncing back after losses this year. We look forward to get going on Saturday's game.

On how difficult it was having Rachel Sheffer in foul trouble...
In the first half, obviously it was a little difficult. I think Sam (Arnold) got tired and we put Kendra (Seto) inside a little bit and the big kids went to work on us. It was tough obviously, because Rachel's been in the whole game for us, the whole year, in spurts. We have to make some adjustments, obviously. It was difficult.

On what the biggest difference was between the first and second halves...
I think the biggest difference in the game was that stretch where offensively we weren't sure exactly what we were doing. We turned the ball over and they hit shots. That was the game. That was the whole game, to answer your question. That stretch right there. Had we been able to answer, have some fluidity to our game during that stretch right there, it would have been a different outcome, I believe. We had a stretch where we just... we weren't sure exactly what we were doing offensively. We turned the ball over, they came back with a couple of shots and I thought that was the swaying difference.

On the Wolverine's stretch during the first half...
Well, basketball is a game of spurts. A lot of times you're lucky enough to have one good spurt in a game that's enough to carry you. We had a spurt in the first half that got us the lead, but I think we probably squandered that a little bit in the process. You can't afford to turn the ball over. You can't afford not to be tough in a game like this, especially when you're going to the basket. We had a lot of opportunities down inside that lane. We had two lay ups to start the game. We just shot air on two wide open lay ups. We have to be able to hit shots in that lane, too. Spurts are important in the game. Theirs was a little bigger than ours.