MSU Spartans
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Women's Basketball
Penn State 76, Michigan State 55



Jan. 6, 2013

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Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant

On today’s step backwards in terms of overall season progress…
I think maybe some of that is (Courtney) Schiffauer has played a total of three minutes in 40 minutes in back-to-back first halves as far as in the Big 10. She’s a very good passer who can do some things for us, take people off the bounce and kick. We get a little bit out of sync; I felt like when our shot wasn’t falling then that was it. We had quit triggers and we weren’t going to get a ton of offensive rebounds because we were trying to take out their transition offense by getting back. We got to score the ball. You have to give them credit though; I thought Dara Taylor has not been a very good scorer for them. We watched lots of film and people play triangle and two on them and don’t guard her at all. She’s a 20% three-point shooter. You’ve got to give her credit; she came in here and knocked it down today.

On success in newer areas in terms of game play…
We had really good looks. I felt like we did a really good job of spreading them out. Becca (Mills) had open shots, Annalise (Pickrel) had open shots, we missed some layups in there, we missed some at the foul line and it just seemed like those were the things that had been going our way prior to that; but our guard play was not very good from a perimeter standpoint. Klarissa (Bell) is better than that. We’ve just really flat-lined from an offensive guard position at this point. Those kids have got to do a better job of stepping up and knocking down shots.

On the reason for turnovers early on…
I just think we were playing on our heels and trying to create things that weren’t there. I thought to see Becca (Mills) get the ball and start driving into the teeth of the defense, same with Jasmine Hines, that’s not what she’s good at. I thought we forced a lot; we’d drive too far and not kick it when we’ve done a nice job of penetrating and pitching. I thought their pressure got to us. I didn’t think it was overwhelming pressure. I didn’t think our point guards got us into a flow very well with (Dara) Taylor up in us and the full-court situation. That got us out, a little bit, of our ability to run our offense but it’s not like that’s the first time we’ve ever seen it so we played a lot against that. I didn’t like our response today. I just felt we were very flat-lined offensively and had an aggressive mentality from the guard position. I think that contributed to our turnovers.

On the size of the team and the competition…
We don’t have much size right now. I mean we have one on the bench but it doesn’t do us much good. We’ve got a couple on the bench actually that could’ve really helped us today. I mean Arial (Powers) and Branndais (Agee) are 6-1, 6-foot guards that are built a lot like Penn State’s guards. I felt like Maddie (Williams) could have been a difference maker as a shot-blocker in there. I thought in the first half we did a decent job of fighting the duck-ins and making it challenging for them to score and all of a sudden we didn’t do it. They had eight offensive rebounds. I thought Nikki Greene, the start of the second half, got away from us. There were a lot of rebounds on our side that were to be had. We did a nice job of defending the post in the first half.

Penn State Head Coach Coquese Washington

On the win over Michigan State…
I think our conference is one of the toughest, if not the toughest in the nation top to bottom. Every game is a battle. It doesn’t matter what the records are. It doesn’t matter where people’s placing are in the conference. It’s just a battle every day. So to be able to come in here and come away with a win, we feel really thrilled about that. Michigan State is a really good defensive team. So to come in here and to have the success we had today, I am really thrilled about that.

On the differences of play today…
The biggest thing we wanted to do today was to establish ourselves inside. I thought early in the game with Mia Nickson and Nikki Greene, we were able to establish our inside game. We wanted to have balance. With some of the games in the past we haven’t had enough offensive balance between our guards and posts. We wanted to get that balance and I thought we accomplished that today.

On Penn State’s defensive play…
I think our defensive coordinator Fred Chmiel, he’s the one who is really the architect of our defense. He’s inspired a lot of passion in our kids about playing defense. I think that they understand in order for us to be successful, on the levels that we want to be successful on, we can’t rely on outscoring people. We have to be able to play both ends of the floor. Our kids are developing a mentality that we want to score and that we also want to be tough on the defensive end.  I think we get that toughness that starts with our assistant coach Fred Chmiel.

On the play of Dara Taylor…
Dara is a very capable shooter. She is also an extremely gifted passer. Sometimes she will pass an open shot in order to try to get the teammates involved. One of the things that we’ve encouraged her to do is to be a dual threat. Shoot the ball when you’re open and if you’re not open pass the ball. I thought that tonight she did a really good job at taking advantage of the opportunities, playing smart and making great decisions with the ball.




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