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Michigan State 65, Iowa 54

Jan. 17, 2013

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Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant

On winning a hard-fought game...
We'll take it. You don't complicate winning, and as frustrated as I was about our team in the first half, I liked our fight in the second. I thought we did some nice things offensively, people got it going. I thought Klarissa [Bell] stayed aggressive, Annalise [Pickrel] hit some big shots for us and I thought defensively we were solid. The one thing I think we did well is that we were able to contain their drives one-on-one, so we didn't have to always be in help situations for them to pitch to shooters, and that was a big part of our gameplan. And I thought our guards did a great job handling their DHO's [dribble hand-off's] and their breakdowns, not 100%, they [Iowa] made some tough shots in fire situations under five seconds [on the shot clock] but they were challenged and they were tough, so I liked our fight in the second half.

On the importance of Annalise Pickrel's 3-point shots in the second half...
[Annalise Pickrel] can extend the defense and she's a great shooter, and we tried to move her. We moved her from that deep corner a little bit and the wing, and we put her at the top in one of our zone offenses and just adjusted some people and really tried to put pressure because they were playing through the point position. And as soon as we put her up there, they couldn't do that when she got a shot, and they didn't realize she was up there. Then after they did, it opened up other opportunities for drives.

So it opened up some different things just by the fact that Annalise Pickrel was on the floor and ready to shoot it.

On her team overall performance and now being 15-2 on the season...
I just was upset at our first half. I thought we were a little flat. We didn't attack offensively as well as I thought we should have and that was what bothered me, but I did like our fight in the second half.

I was really upset with our baseline out-of-bounds defense. If we're going to keep moving on and get better and continue to win in this league, we have to be better in certain areas and that was what was in my head.

Sometimes you should celebrate the good things and I do that in the locker room, but then as a coach our job also is to see what's wrong and fix it. So my first thought is, what do we have to do better?





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