MSU Spartans
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Women's Basketball
Michigan State 64, Northwestern 52



Jan. 8, 2009

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Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant

On the changes made to the starting lineup...
(Courtney) Schiffauer and Lykendra (Johnson) are extremely athletic and long, so it allowed us to put Lykendra at the top of the zone to maybe get her hands on some things and to be the top of that pressure. She can be pretty intimidating. I think Schiff can cover ground as the back side of that zone and then we become a better rebounding team. The philosophy of the one-and-done piece becomes more realistic when you have a back line with Aisha (Jefferson) and Schiffauer and Allyssa (DeHaan) and then you add Lykendra and Brittney (Thomas), who can spread the wings and take the weak side out, and it allows us to do some things on offense. I definitely thought our defense sparked our offense.

On shutting down Northwestern's perimeter shooting...
They can really shoot the basketball, and there are kids on that team that can put that thing in the hole in a lot of different ways. Our goal with the pressure, obviously just like everybody's, is that if you can't create a turnover, hopefully you're taking time off the clock. I thought that helped a little bit. They do such a great job making sure Amy Jaeschke gets good looks in there. I felt like her foul trouble eliminated some of her ability to be as effective as she normally is, but I think that zone helped a little bit in terms of the backcourt pressure to not have so much time to find her.

On changes made to the team's offensive game plan...
We felt that we needed more movement, and we have something we can go to on the perimeter with Al on the inside and there's a lot of cutting and moving, but I think the biggest thing was that we shared the ball a little bit better. I thought we did a nice job of finding some gaps and penetration. I think that's another thing Schiff and Lykendra add a little bit. What Lykendra doesn't do off the bounce to draw of the gap, she does off of a cut to get into a gap. Schiff does a nice job of just drawing a little bit of help for shovel passes and kicks. I thought she did that early and got a couple people some looks. (Schiffauer and Johnson) have added a lot. I thought we started out of the gates stronger than we've ever started and I thought our offensive flow was solid as well.

On Allyssa DeHaan's play...
She was great. We had a nice talk yesterday, and I know that she's been frustrated with her up-and-down play. She felt like she had a lot of confidence even though I still contest that she didn't play as well at Ohio State as she did against Purdue, and everybody gets that, but their pressure really got to our guards, which kind of affects our ability to get the ball inside. I though everybody did a nice job of finding Lauren (Aitch) and Al on the inside. But Al really wanted that thing in there, and you could see she had a different presence about her, and I think she's feeling good about what she can accomplish on the inside. She just had that same presence inside that she did against Purdue.

Northwestern Head Coach Joe McKeown

Opening statement...
Michigan State played very well tonight and all the things we had worked on to try and offset their strengths, we did not do a very good job on tonight. They found ways to stop us from scoring as well, and when you start playing from behind and get into foul trouble that really starts to cost you the game. I know they [Michigan State] had struggled a little bit the last couple of games, but I thought they played very well tonight and we couldn't take them out of their rhythm. In the first half I thought we did a pretty good job, and considering we were only down seven at halftime and not being in foul trouble I though we were okay. But in the second half they made good runs, along with being a terrific rebounding team. When they come to Northwestern we are going to have to really address that, which is going to be the biggest challenge for us.

On having Ellen and Amy Jaeschke in foul trouble...
That really hurt us especially against a team who is probably one of the top two rebounding teams in the league. Michigan State took advantage of that tonight, and even though Amy had a tough night she is having a great year. It's tough but we will bounce back.

On Michigan State's defense...
I thought we did a terrible job attacking their defense especially in the first half. We attacked their press well I thought, and in the second half we attacked it better and tried to kick it out more to where we wanted to. But they got to our shooters and I thought (Allyssa) DeHaan did a good job taking away in the inside, so we have to do a better job of finding gaps in their zone which they played very well tonight, while ours looked liked Swiss cheese.

On their unforced turnovers...
When we beat Wisconsin and played Ohio State we didn't turn the ball over and played great in both of those games. We are not an explosive offensive team, so for us to win, the score has to be in the low 50s, and we are not going to be able to win when we just turn the ball over to the other team. I do have to give Michigan State a lot of credit because they took us out of the game in many ways and you can see the potential they have. It might not be all put together yet, but there are nights when it's there and tonight was one of those nights.




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