MSU Spartans
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Women's Basketball
Ohio State 64, Michigan State 56



Jan. 15, 2012

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Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant

On the attitude of Michigan State's team after the game...
They were down and know they didn't play well. We just couldn't make shots. That first half was terrible; we went six and a half minutes where we couldn't make a shot. The film will tell certainly, we were getting good looks, but we just weren't finishing.

We just dug ourselves a hole in that first half where you shoot 27 percent, 26 percent, 11 percent. That second half when our offense wasn't going, our defense wasn't speaking loud enough. We can play better defense when our offense is going and it needs to be the other way around.

On the effects of physicality of the game...
I thought we were soft. I thought we were complaining about getting bumped and what not, instead of concentrating and holding it strong and keeping our space and owning the space. I definitely thought the physicality from the perimeter to the post bothered our team.

On the last possession where Michigan State couldn't get a rebound and Lykendra Johnson wasn't on the floor...
Becca (Mills) was scoring the ball prior to that. She came in and gave us a huge spark and without her offense we wouldn't be in a position to care about our defense of rebound to be honest with you. That is the part with her, I'm trying to challenge her to be more physically tougher, she is mentally a tough kid, but physically tougher and stronger and that is exactly it, you get your hands on a lot of rebounds, but you don't snatch it or someone takes it from you and you have to do a better job of that. That was a pretty good situation right there where she could have stepped up and grabbed the ball and instead there was a foul on us.

On Michigan State's free throw shooting...
That's disappointing; we have been a solid free throw shooting team. On the stats sheet it looks like we should have won the game. We doubled up them on free throws and we were fouling at the end too and sending them to the line on purpose. I felt like that was a nine point swing right there, we lost by eight. If we would have made those free throws it might have made a difference. It just takes the air out of the bag a little bit when you're not knocking free throws.

Thoughts on playing Ohio State once this year...
We only get them once and I'm glad it was at our place. You know you have to give them credit, maybe (Samantha) Prahalis didn't have her best shooting night, but she made two really big shots really late in the shot clock that were impossible to make it seemed like. Taylor Hill banked in two threes and one of them for a foul. Everything kind of came at a time when we didn't want it to.

Ohio State Head Coach Jim Foster

On Tayler Hill's three-pointer after Michigan State's timeout...
Tayler's three-pointer wasn't a set play because we were running a zone offense, so we were just responding to what the defense was doing. We just wanted to get organized during the timeout and afterward Tayler got a wide-open look and took the shot.

On getting three chances to score in one possession late in the game...
We have some very young post players and they are learning as they go. What our post players gave us at the end was the competitiveness that's necessary to close out the possession. They just kept going after the ball until it was ours.

On giving Michigan State their first loss in the Big Ten...
I think this is going to be a very interesting year in the Big Ten. There are a lot of teams capable of beating a lot of other teams and I think the race will go until the end. A few years ago we won with four or five games to go, and that was the worst thing you can do. I think it is good for the conference and good for post-season play when there are a lot of teams fighting until the end.

On playing in front of a large crowd...
It is beneficial for our freshman to play in front of a large audience like this. We seem to be the catalyst for promotions when we go on the road. We play in front of a lot of large crowds and they make noise and are loud. What we have to learn is how to make them be quiet. You don't want to know the other team's fight song. We've actually spent some time talking about how you handle big crowds before we go on the road.




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