MSU Spartans
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Women's Basketball
Michigan State 72, Purdue 54
 
 
 

 

 
 

Jan. 21, 2010

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Michigan State Coach Suzy Merchant

On what she told her team during her timeout...
I think we got a little lackadaisical with the ball and they got a few extra possessions. We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball and making good decisions, not necessarily a great play. The other thing we talked about was our press attack. I thought we were a little sloppy with our press attack and we needed to tighten that up. Defensively, I thought our energy changed a little bit, we got more passive than we were in the first half.

On the team's initiative...
Well, I think they played with an edge to them tonight. And I thought we played with a little more toughness, especially defensively. We tweaked some things that got us off to a great start. We got our transition game going, and I thought that was big. That is the one thing Porsche Poole can do for us is get out and run, she did a great job of attacking the rim. Jasmine Thomas' speed can also ignite our game. We were throwing the ball around a lot, but I thought we were putting a lot of pressure on their defense. We got stops and steals, which put them on their heals a lot.

On Brittney Thomas' three-point shots...
(Brittney) making those shots made us a different team. Which sounds simple, but the game is simple and she kept it simple tonight. She took shots that were open and she was ready for them, which is really great to see her do. We need her to continue to be a force. I thought her, Jasmine Thomas and Porsche Poole were very aggressive offensively tonight, and that is what we need. I thought Aisha Jefferson looked incredible on both ends of the floor and she brought a lot of energy, especially in the second half. I really felt good about her performance and what she brought to the table.

On how they adapted to Purdue's press...
We just made some poor decisions at first. We were trying to make great plays but we were passive in the beginning. I felt like we didn't handle their press very well in the beginning, but we adjusted our press attack and made them guard us a little more.

On playing three guards...
We switched to the three guard attack because of Purdue's pressure. Brittney Thomas, Jasmine Thomas and Porsche Poole work well together and they play well together. I think that Brittney and Jasmine bring the speed and Porsche helps on offense because she is a very good passer. A lot of that was dictated by Purdue's pressure and I wanted three girls who could handle the ball, and wanted to handle the ball, and sometimes with Cetera Washington and Lykendra Johnson you don't get that. They are more power guards than ball-handling guards. I'm glad we went that way and I thought it paid off for us.

On how the team persevered through the game...
Well, tonight I saw people stepping up and wanting the ball, making plays and shooting the ball with confidence, and rebounding the ball with confidence. I think we went into the defensive situation deciding that we were going to continue to get steals, tips and loose balls. We started to have a presence about us that I didn't like, which is when I started to make substitutions. But overall, I thought we had good energy and good leadership down the stretch. When I called the timeout I didn't have the feeling of `here we go again', I probably should have, but I didn't. I really believe that this team is resilient. It is frustrating what happened to us the last couple games, but I do feel like this team had more in their tank. I felt confident that we were going to be okay.

On the importance of winning this game...
Every game is important; this one was as big as the next one. When you go on the road it is hard to win, so it is important to take advantage of the home court. You have to find a way to win every game.

Purdue Head Coach Sharon Versyp

On the team's effort in tonight's game...
We had some great layups that we missed, probably about eight to 10, and if you just make half of those--you're not going to make all of them--but if we could have made half of those then obviously you don't know which way the momentum will go. We had some good looks, and I think that's the next thing we need to be able to do. My biggest thing today, win or lose, was to play exceptionally hard, give as much effort, execute a game plan. Michigan State did some things to take out some of the game plan--that's what you do in every game. But our transition defense was really bad. [Michigan State was] leaking somebody out and we were supposed to have two players back, and our point guard was the only one that got back, so that was a huge thing. If we could have made some of those shots and those layups I think it could have been a little different.

On how her team played in transition...
We didn't get back. Two players were supposed to be back at half court and we just didn't get back. If our two guards aren't going to crash the boards they need to be back and doing something different, and they were never back. Some of the rebounds that they had, the defensive ones they had were deeper than usual, it wasn't underneath the basket. We didn't get hurt when the rebound was underneath the basket, we got hurt when all of a sudden there was a loose ball, maybe at the free throw line, and somebody was always leaking out. We discussed it, we just didn't obviously react real well to it. I thought the second half was better, but then our transition defense got a little wary.

On the affect of Raburn, Howell and Malone--the team's top scorers--being unable to make shots drop...
That kills us every game. We won't win games if they don't score. You look at all our stats; they don't score, we don't win.

On how Freshman Guard KK Houser played...
KK is energetic, she's quicker than anyone, she's really starting to understand things, she's really communicating better, understanding execution of a game plan and where we need to get the ball. She's coming along exactly how we were hoping and she's really stepping up right now.

On Freshman Forward Ashley Wilson...
With Ashley, she does the little things, I just wish she was rewarded more. I just wish she could score for us more, that's that next piece. She works so hard and she gets on the offensive boards, that's the type of kid that you wish could score about 15 or 16 for you just because she works so hard on both ends of the floor.

On playing on the road in East Lansing...
We used our depth as much as we could. I felt good about the effort; we kept getting after it and doing all of those things. So now it's cleaning up a few things; if we shoot 35% or 38% then [the game] is different. You go with the people who have experience, and if our experienced players aren't scoring then obviously it makes it very difficult for us, one of them probably has to score a lot of points for us to even get over that hump.

On what happened to spur Michigan State's 17-0 run after Suzy Merchant's timeout at the 13:45 mark in the second half...
We turned the ball over about three times in a row and they got layups. And then they just got the crowd into it, we kind of shut the crowd up [before that point]. And playing at home is huge anywhere you're at right now. It was a timely timeout, and we didn't execute two plays in a row, and it killed us and they got wide open layups. They were able to get six points just like that and then obviously it was a battle to try to get back.

On the impact of Brittney Thomas' play for Michigan State...
She's the one that's been struggling, and she hit a lot of outside shots. She obviously is a competitor, love the kid. She's a competitor and she is going to step up. If your team is kind of in a rut there for a little bit, you've got to have a player that steps up, and she stepped up for them big time. She played one of her best games.

 

 

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