MSU Spartans
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Women's Basketball
Michigan State 83, Penn State 77
 
 
 

 

 
 

Jan. 29, 2012

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Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant

The importance of a much needed win...
It was needed no question about that. I think it was a combination of things, I certainly understood the team needed a win; we needed to do it at home for our fans that come out and support us. With it being alumni day today I think to me it was just an added importance. You don't want to disappoint those people who wore the same uniform these kids do, and so for me I felt we needed to make them proud, make this crowd excited again and fired up. So it was a big win for a lot of reasons certainly a general win was good, but then you add in some of the other things in. We felt we had to accomplish today for those people who give to our program.

On the difference of play today compared to past games ...
Well we scored the ball. I mean we scored 34 point in the first half and as simple as it sounds it matters. You can't dig yourself a hole. I thought it helps to put pressure on the other team to make shots when we are in those situations. It was affecting our defense, and our defensive energy the fact that we weren't scoring the ball. So it was important for us to get off to a good start changing the lineup a little bit moving Taylor Alton to the four position to try to adjust a little bit to open things up. Which it did playing Penn State she played the three against them and they didn't like to guard the space when we run that kind of high ball screen spread offense. We felt like now they have been prepared for her at the three and now she is at the four that might cause them a little bit of issue. I thought Klarissa Bell was solid. She played some good defense out there and obviously had some big plays down the stretch as well.

On the play of sophomore guard Klarissa Bell and her getting the start...
I felt she had been playing well in the minutes she played. It wasn't that she didn't deserve it but Taylor Alton plays that spot too. We were bringing Porsche Poole off the bench and we felt we needed a change and she done well enough. I thought her defense; we could get someone with her length and athleticism could stay with Maggie Lucas and keep her in check. And offensively we needed to drive and attack the rim and that space and that's one thing she can do. As you mention she had some big plays for us down the stretch us.

On the importance of the play of Porsche Poole as of late...
Well it is huge. It creates a lot of offense in a lot of different ways. I don't really think they had an answer for that. They tried a lot of different ways to defend the ball screen. She has a high I.Q. of the game and she can she back side defenders; she knows when she can get to the rim. I thought she did a really good job of finding open people as well. So she can create in space and she can create in transition. If you can do that she keeps them honest with her ability to knock down jumpers and three point shooting as well. So I think she sets people up to be better. We have really needed her to step up the last few games. Get a guard that was attacking and scoring out of the gates and she did that.

Penn State Head Coach Coquese Washington

On the message she will relay to her team and how to bounce back...
Well, it won't be hard to bounce back from this. There is a lot of basketball still left for us this conference season. So, we just have to regroup and get back to the gym and work on some things, defensively for sure, and I think we will be fine.

On the defense Michigan State played in the second half, specifically Klarissa Bell on Maggie Lucas...
Well, I think Michigan State is a pretty good defensive team and they play pretty good team defense.

On Nikki Greene's foul trouble and not being able to get into the game...
She is definitely a big presence for us, she anchors us on the defensive end and she helps us get off on our transition game. So when she had the early foul trouble in the first half, I think it took us out of our rhythm certainly and it was hard for us to get anything going.

On how this game speaks toward the conference as a whole and how many loses it would take to win the Big Ten...
I have no idea how many loses it is going to take, or wins I should say, it is going to take to win the conference. Our conference is very competitive and I know the coaches look every night and go this is a tough match up. You can throw the records and the standings out the window because we just have really good players and good coaches in this conference.

On being able to cut the lead to a one-point game at halftime and then letting Michigan State go on a run...
We knew that they were going to come for 40 minutes and play a tough, hard game. They had been struggling a little bit, but I knew they would come out and play hard and they would play with a lot of fire. They did it both halves; first half and the second half they started out with a lot of intensity

 

 

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