Jan. 19, 2014
Box Score |
Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant
On inability to make shots in the second half…
Yeah, we got really good looks. I don’t think they made any kind of major adjustment that caused us an inability to score. I thought Becca [Mills] had some really good looks. Kiana [Johnson] was getting to the rim. Those two in particular didn’t finish very well today and that obviously hurt us. We were getting the shots we wanted for a period of time, but then we stopped crashing, stopped hustling, we just kind of stood around and watched for a little bit. They were a more aggressive team and that’s why they won the second half and won the game.
On what the Spartans learned from this game…
Well, I felt like we reverted backwards a little bit on the offensive end and everyone kind of became a little bit of a one-on-one guy instead of moving the ball around and staying the course. I thought defensively, that’s a pretty high-powered offense and we did a pretty good job. Their two guards went 9-for-34 and that’s good. We held them to 33 percent and we beat them on the boards. We just did a really poor job executing offensively as a group in the second half.
On lack of hustle due to inability to make shots…
I think so. I think the air kind of went out of the bag a little bit. The frustration got there and every little thing kind of multiplied. Things we were doing defensively to bother them, I think we stopped doing. We let the ball go to the corner a handful of times. We had some missed-cues defensively that we didn’t have in the first half when we were scoring. There was some effect at the other end; still enough to win the game. Like I said, that’s a very high-powered offense. Defensively we weren’t spectacular, but we were good enough. Give them credit. They got three defensive rebounds - one they stole from us, one on a free throw over Becca [Mills] and the other one Aerial [Powers] just kind of stood and watched and it ended up being a foul when it was a chance for us to get some momentum. At that point, they were out-hustling us and getting after it a little bit harder than we were. Time was of the essence and we had a couple really nice stops or they missed the free throw, and they just did the better job of getting to the ball than we did. And what we had, we didn’t take care of it. I thought they did a nice job off of turnovers - really attacking us in transition and getting themselves to the free-throw line. There was a big discrepancy in the free-throws today. They shot 36 to our 14. They were just a more aggressive team in the second half, offensively.
On the amount of minutes key players played leading to fatigue….
No, they’ve been playing those kinds of minutes. I mean, their starters didn’t do the same. You get media timeouts - these are televised games, so they’re extra-long. I don’t think it was fatigue or anything like that, because I felt like we were attacking and getting there. Usually fatigue kind of sets in with your inability to turn the corner and get there. I don’t think it was about the minutes. I really felt like, for us, the air went out of the bag, we couldn’t make those easy shots and we weren’t really hustling to get extra opportunities at that time.
Penn State head coach Coquese Washington
On if a seven point margin felt fair…
I thought coming in the game, it was a tough place to play. They get a great crowd. I thought they did a good job of feeding off their crowd in the first half. Being down seven, especially without Aerial Powers having played a lot of minutes the first half, I thought it was tough. I thought if we could sure up some things defensively, if we could find our rhythm on offense and get some baskets in transition then we would be okay and that kind of happened for us the second half.
On the message at half time…
Defensively, we were just not matching up in transition. I felt like in the first half, we did a fair job of defending them in man to man. I felt like we had done a fair job of defending them in the half-court, but we had given them too many baskets in transition. In the second half, especially in probably like the first ten or twelve minutes of the half, we really limited their transition opportunities. That allowed us to set our defense and make them play against our half-court defense. That really was helpful for us.