Michigan State 66, Minnesota 52
 
 
 

 

 
 

Jan. 23, 2011

Recap |  Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant

On Cetera Washington's performance...
I felt like she was really crashing those boards hard. She didn't run the lanes as well as she normally does in our transition break but she was really focusing on getting to the rim. I thought she did a great job off the bounce for us and finding open people and rebounding it.

On the importance of the captain group...
The Big Ten is a grind and I remember four years ago how green we were and how frustrating we could be at times where we would have great performance and struggle at times because we were playing freshman or kids who didn't have a lot of experience in the league. It really is enjoyable to have that experience. They know how Minnesota plays. They know what they have to get through. They know how physical they are. They know what their strengths are. It is one of those situations as your seniors go leaders and performance wise in your upper classmen usually your team goes that way.

On taking advantage of opportunities...
That's the defensive side of the ball as far as getting tips and steals and defensive rebounds that lead to opportunities and transition and maybe even points off turnovers with tips and steals. There is no question that this team can be really hard to handle in terms of when the shot goes up. It was the best effort I have seen collectively us give on the boards. Going into this Minnesota was a plus-rebounding team and they were bigger than us. One of the keys to the game was that we focus on the rebounding piece both offensively but equally important defensively.

On Lykendra Johnson...
She had about 20 minutes to shoot on one of her threes. It is important that we don't defer shots and that we are a team and not just about one persona and it is your responsibility when you're open given the situation. They plays that we are running are designed for our bigs to be away from the basket and our guards to be closer to the rim but at the same time we can play traditionally as well. Lykendra has had really good games where she had to be that power-five guy and tonight she had to be a little more face up and driver and shooter for us. It didn't take her out of her ability to defend her rebound which I think is showing a little bit of maturity on her part. She has had some really amazing games this year in the position she is playing.

On Taylor Alton and starting...
Her 3-point shooting. When you watch the film Taylor is not going to mess up defensively. She is someone who really understands and has high IQ for the game defensively. She is always in position to help or rebound. She extends the defense as another 3-point shooter.

Minnesota Head Coach Pam Borton

On the key to the game...
It was completely rebounding. They are the best rebounding team in the Big Ten they are averaging 40 rebounds per game. And that is just what they do. They rely on second and third opportunities I think there was a time where they got four rebounds. They weren't making some shots but I think they did what they needed to do to win the basketball game today and that was rebounding.

On Lykendra Johnson's performance...
They had a big center the last four years but a different type of center. What Lykendra brings is a lot of toughness. I don't know how many points she got off of second opportunities but she is a great rebounder, she is tough. I think she will be even tougher when she begins to develop her outside game and gets a little more consistent with her outside shot. But she is a tough matchup.

On Lykendra Johnson's 3-point opportunities...
Our whole game plan was to protect the paint and contain penetration and if they were going to take shots, we were going to let certain people on their team take those shots. She was 2-for-7 from the three, she made a couple. But what they did a good job with was they got second, third fourth opportunities in the last 10 minutes.

On Cetera Washington's scoring and rebounding...
That's why she is playing. That's why she is on the court for them. She is a senior and she has been through a lot on this team. A lot of success I think she is a player and knows what her role is and does it extremely well. She had five offensive rebounds. She had five baskets and probably scored after every offensive board she had. But she does a great job on the boards and that is her role and she is tough. We were playing off of her a lot and it gave her a head start to the rim.

On the play of Kiara Buford, keeping Minnesota in the game...
Yeah she really did. She did it single handedly. I think Amber Dvorak was in that mix as well. She made a couple layups inside. But we need to find a consistent second scorer even third scorer. It is different every game but we need for consistency out of our players at times we have three freshmen on the floor and the inexperience especially on the road versus a ranked opponent is a great experience for them. But I thought Kiara did a great job but she just needs a little help.