MSU Spartans
Rotating image
Women's Basketball
Ohio State 65, Michigan State 62
 
 
 

 

 
 

Jan. 9, 2010

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes |  Photo Gallery 

Michigan State Coach Suzy Merchant

On their team's offense today...
The ball was not dropping for us, but I think we did a nice job at certain points. I think we were struggling to score a little bit and we missed a cutter a couple times that I thought could have gotten us a layup. It was a hard fought game and I thought it could have gone either way, but down the stretch they were able to get some fouls called and make their free throws which are what good teams do. We still had an opportunity at the end with Allyssa DeHaan's good look at the basket. She is one of our better three-point shooters, and Lykendra (Johnson) is an amazing screener so we knew we could get her open and get a good look with our big, but the ball just didn't drop for us.

On Ohio State's defense in the second half...
We had opportunities and went zero for eight from behind the arch in second half and you have to make some shots, obviously. I thought we had opportunities with some really good high post looks and there was a couple of wide open ones that just didn't fall for us, and had they fallen, instead of a back and forth game maybe we would have been up four or five. It could have gone either way because we had good looks with the right people shooting.

On the difference between the first and second half for Aisha Jefferson...
We really needed that little bit of consistency there, but she came out of the gates very strong, which sparked us. The other thing I thought she did a really nice job for us today was defensive rebounding in the first half. Their kids go to the rim very hard, especially their post players, and I thought we did a nice job of keeping them off the boards. I think we had a lax in the start of the second half, and I think they hit three three-pointers or two three and a long two-pointer maybe. We just were a little bit flat and they caught us off guard a little bit, but then I think we fought and battled back. It would have been nice for her to play like that for both of the half, but I thought she played hard.

On coming up short on the offensive side...
We came up empty a couple of times, but they are a good defensive team and I thought we had good looks. I felt like we were getting very good opportunities but at that point when you work really hard to get a defensive rebound or a steal, you want to take advantage of that. There was a period of time where we did a really good job of fighting and then came up empty of the other side. I think that hurt the momentum a little bit and got into a lull, and just needed one of those to drop.

On what makes Ohio State so hard to stop defensively...
When you have a point guard that is attacking, aggressive, can go north and south at the rim, hit three-pointers and make assists along with a five-man that can run up and down the floor who is also very powerful, strong and mentally tough you just had to put pieces around them. Coming in here that was no surprise to us because in the league they have taken about 250 shots, and those two had taken half of them. I did think that we did a nice job of not letting other players get a way form us. It was kind of like pick your poison, but the disappointing thing is that half of Jantel's (Lavender) points came from behind the foul line. Those are points that we just cannot give her, and I think we did a nice job of making tough shots for her because she was 5-15 which isn't really great. Either way I thought she did a nice job of forcing the issue where we would get a foul called. (Samantha) Prahalis is a very good player and she is hard to contain and if you help off of her a lot she is going to find it and make everyone else that much better. We had a shot to win it though, we had an opportunity and it could have gone either way. The ball just didn't drop for us, but I was proud of how our kids fought.

Ohio State University Head Coach Jim Foster

On his team's second half performance...
I really liked our defense more down the stretch. I think down the stretch in close games we're always going to have an opportunity, because we have a great point guard and we have a great center. We just have to be patient and make sure their involved in those plays, but you have to get stops and I think we did a great job of that in the last five or six minutes of the game. I'm just changing up our defense a little bit and making the shots a little more difficult and getting rebounds.

On how he changed the tempo in the second half...
Well, we just talked about our pressure and how we wanted it to be, and I think we took more time off the shot clock. I think that they were starting their offense a little bit later and a little bit deeper, and as a result we were able to effectively stretch them out and start to limit their opportunities and start to rebound better.

On how point guard Samantha Prahalis and center Jantel Lavender did in the second half...
We have two great players. They are very competitive, they want to win games and they're going to put their responsibility into the game. They're not afraid to take the shot that counts or the shot to win, and if they miss it their coming back the next time convinced that it's going in. They are both good foul shooters, both can attack the basket off the dribble and both can shoot the ball very well when open from distance. So I just think we have a nice combination of those two on the floor and others have to match up with that.

On their defensive stops, specifically after turning the ball over...
We're probably playing to fast on our bench, but what I like about us this year is that we forget it. We'll remind ourselves in a film session that we could have done things a little differently and we'll grow from it, but it's about the score, and when we keep score in practice it gets feisty, it gets loud; it gets a little bit nasty. But I think they've learned the value of stops and I think they've learned the value of winning. Even though you turn the ball over, if you get a stop, you get another chance to win it, but if you just give up baskets and you want to exchange baskets I think you're in trouble.

On how critical the stretch at the end of the first half was...
I think it was a big deal, and I thought that was probably our best blip of basketball in the course of the game, but again we just never let it get too far away. We just kept plugging, and again I say this all the time to my team, the pretty ones are so easy to win when your shooting high percentages, but it's figuring out how to win them when there not pretty. It's figuring out how to win when it's a street fight, then it's something else. It's not necessarily a basketball game; it's a lot more physical. The game is being called a certain way, and you have to adjust and you have to adapt.

On Prahalis and Lavender being the only two to score the last 17 minutes of the game...
I called those plays. Again, if you're going to run a lot of pick and roles with two great players, you have to be able to defend it.

 

 

SHOP NOW

at the official
Online Store