MSU Spartans
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Women's Basketball
Michigan State 59, Wisconsin 50
 
 
 

 

 
 

Jan. 25, 2009

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Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant

On Allyssa DeHaan...
She is a tough matchup with that turn around jumper. She has been really great for us down the stretch by making key shots when we need them the most. Being an upperclassmen and in the position that she is in, those are shots she needs to make and I thought that she did a great job for us.

On the game as a whole...
The one thing about Wisconsin is that they defend you well enough that they are always going to be right there down the stretch. They capitalized on our turnovers. I was proud of how we were able to keep our composure and make some shots and free throws down the stretch. It's never by how many that you win; it's just that you win and then you move on. You just play the best that you can and move on.

On Lykendra Johnson...
I thought that she did really well in the second half. I thought that, in the first half, she was a little lethargic. She was just kind of going through the motions. In the second half, she was a big spark for us at the top of that press. She scored in transition for us. We really worked at posting her that half and she got some good looks and finishes down there.

On the Spartan defense...
I do think that we are doing a good job of defending people. The thing that I like about this team is that we can defend them in the quarter court playing man and we can also play zone. I think that going back and forth, and being able to switch things out to what's working best really is helpful to us. I think we were very athletic, whether we are playing man or zone, because we are big and we can move. I like Cetera Washington's minutes for us, defensively. She has just really given us a spark.

On playing for the large crowd...
Given the situation, with Kay Yow passing, we were trying to honor her. She kind of paved the way for so many young women to run out into an arena of 10,000 fans. She really built women's basketball to a kind of special situation, as to what it is now. She was a pioneer in that. We coupled that with our fans and how great they are. They really appreciate women's basketball. We talked a lot about that, especially in the second half. We needed to come out with more fire, enthusiasm and toughness. I thought we did. We fought harder.

Wisconsin Head Coach Lisa Stone

On Michigan State's size...
Their size is certainly something that is a great asset to them. Their halfcourt pressure into their zone obviously made us sputter a little bit. They have great size at their guards. I thought Lykendra Johnson had an outstanding game. That was a very tough matchup for us with her on the perimeter, but I thought our kids fought. They really fought hard. We had a great game plan and defensively did a very nice job on the glass. We did a nice job, but there were just too many extra possessions for them due to turnovers and that's something that we talked about with our kids.

On coming back from large deficits multiple times...
I didn't think fatigue was an issue actually. I thought we did a good job of managing our minutes, keeping (Lin) Zastrow fresh, and using our people in the first half. I thought we did a good job boxing out. Their size allowed them to get some offensive rebounds on us. They finished the half with six points in transition. We addressed that issue and stopped the transition in the second half, and defensively we did everything we can. I thought we played a great defensive game. Offensively, we just have to take more value in the basketball and get good shots. When you turn it over, you don't get a shot attempt, so that's an empty possession. That's something we're going to work on.

On not starting Rae Lin D'Alie...
We've certainly been seeing a lot of improvement with Teah Gant at the point guard position, and it's also a size issue. When we brought Rae Lin in, they went right to the post and utilized their size. This is one of the biggest teams in the Big Ten. I mean everybody's six feet tall or better, so it seems. We went with the size issue - we're a defensive-minded team and our best matchups are what we started.

On MSU's post play...
Everything they do offensively is `get the ball inside.' Everything is north-south, whether they're driving or running the high-low or they're going inside. (Aisha) Jefferson has some quick moves on the block. She's an amazing player on the baseline. And (Lykendra) Johnson, they went with their big guard down low and then they want to go in transition. But if you look at Michigan State statistically, they lead almost every Big Ten stat in the big categories - blocked shots, field goal percentage defense, and they get to the free throw line too. One thing we wanted to make sure that we addressed was to limit the high-low. I thought Lin Zastrow did a nice job on (Allyssa) DeHaan inside. She's such a great player. I thought Mariah Dunham did a nice job on Jefferson, and we brought the double when we needed to, but we put them on the free throw line a little bit too many times, and they did capitalize. We did out-rebound a very, very good rebounding team, and our kids played their butts off. Our team really did, they played hard. We just needed to have a few more possessions and a few less turnovers.

 

 

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