MSU Spartans
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Women's Basketball
Michigan State-62, Purdue-67



Jan. 27, 2013

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Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant

On the team handling fatigue …
Probably fatigue and you have to look at the fact that no one on this team has really had to get the job done. Even the senior class has been very role-oriented, and if you look at the roster it’s because of our injuries and our depth issues that  we can’t sub people out; we need them. They’ve been put into a position that they need to step up and perform, and there is no excuse because there is no one else. I wish I could play Madison (Williams) tonight; I really do. It was frustrating to watch their posts go 14 for 19 on our posts and ours go basically three for 20; their two posts and our two posts. I know we have our limitations, but it just seems like it is such a struggle and I’m waiting for someone to get annoyed and put the team on her back and say, “not today.” Sometimes Klarissa (Bell) does it, sometimes she doesn’t. She’s been not very good the past couple of games. We just can’t shoot 30 percent from the floor with the shots we’re getting and shoot 50 percent from the free throw line and win games in this league. We can’t put that much pressure on our defense. Fifty-nine points defensively is enough to win a game.

On senior leadership…
I really need Jasmine Thomas and (Courtney) Schiff(auer) to step up. I mean that’s what seniors do is not play out of their mind, but certainly play at a high level. I’m not throwing them under the bus; that’s the reality. Any good team that wins in this league has good senior leadership, for example Drey Mingo. I thought she did a great job in there-really commanding and demanding and having a presence; she was the difference in the game with a double-double. We just need more out of those two kids consistently. I thought Jasmine Thomas played very good defense, but that’s not our problem. We should be able to defend and score the ball. I watched the tape and have broken every game down like you wouldn’t believe. We’ve got to finish, there’s just no other way. When we finish, we can beat anybody. When we don’t, it’s going to be a struggle. And we still had a chance, they just need to decide. We need some senior leadership. We certainly need Kiana (Johnson) to shoot it better than what she shot it, but at least she was being aggressive. She was out there really trying to make something happen.

On the team’s confidence and where it needs to be going forward…
You could probably ask the girls that, I’m sure they’re frustrated, like I am. I know we can do it. They’re what, 15th in the country and it’s an overtime game. We just have to finish and we have to be better than 30 percent from the floor and nine percent in overtime. You’ve got to have some people step it up and take over. I thought their senior did that and Drey Mingo, she was impeccable. She really made some tough shots. That one when we went up and she hit that runner left-handed over (Courtney) Schiff(auer). I mean that was a tough shot. I thought (Courtney) Moses got away from us down the stretch at least from the free throw line. That’s a veteran junior scorer just taking over and finding a way. We have to get more of that. I’m not going to over-do it, but you have to be disappointed. These are games you’ve got to get. You’ve got to step up to the plate and be more aggressive and get the job done.

Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp

On having experience in close games throughout the season …
When it went to overtime I just smiled ad told my players that we have been here before, and that we’ll be fine. I think when a coach doesn’t panic I think it makes it easier on the players. We executed every play that we called within those five minutes except for one. In overtime I have some different sets, but the kids executed everything I called and they made the plays.

On the play of April Wilson …
She’s a gamer. We knew they were going to try and take Courtney (Moses) out of the game, so KK (Houser) stepped up and knocked down some shots as well. We continue to give the kids confidence and April won’t back down, she will keep shooting it.

On being able to win despite 21 turnovers …
We’ve turned he ball over 30 times in a game, so 21 is nothing. It’s a weakness of ours but we have one games with that many turnovers before so we are used to it. It’s not something I want to continue, and I felt that if we took care of the ball and rebounded we wouldn’t have been in the situation we were in. I told the players it’s going to be a good lesson or a very bad lesson that we would figure out at the end of the game.

On the play of Drey Mingo …
Drey and I had a long talk on Wednesday about specific things. She’s a sixth year senior and her future is right around the corner and she was putting a lot of pressure on herself. We just chatted and I told her we were going to put her in positions to shoot the three and have her on the wing. We moved her around a little more than normal. She’s most effective when she can play the 4 position and Taylor (Manuel) can play the five. That’s her true position. She took control and did the things that we needed her to do.

On the importance of rebounding throughout the game …
We grew up. When you have your best rebounder who was struggling today in every facet of her game, I put KK on the wing a little bit more so she could get more involved. She is quick and was able to box out and go after the basketball which really helped out. Drey also got more rebounds today, and everyone else also took care of business. Out rebounding them was big for us today.

On the physical nature of contests vs. Michigan State…
I think
both coaches are all about defense. We like to score, but it’s a defensive battle in every facet with both guards and post players. We have a similar style to some degree, so it focuses on defense and usually comes down to those few offensive players who can make some shots.  




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