MSU Spartans
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Women's Basketball
Michigan State 65, Penn State 44
 
 
 

 

 
 

Feb. 4, 2010

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Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant

On how tonight looked like the defense from last year...
The last four, including this one, we've really tightened that end up. I think we've taken a lot of pride on that end of the floor and really stepped up and got stops when we needed to. And if that's something that's going to be there every night, obviously we like our chances and certainty feel like that's been the catalyst for us to get our offense going as well. I think from our guards to our posts, I think that Allyssa (DeHaan) the last two games has had 11 blocks combined and she's just been really aggressive going after people and their shots. It's really great to see that because she really is such a major factor. Last time we played them, I thought Nikki Greene played a really good game and kind of got the best of us, so we were a little fired up to rectify that and I think Allyssa did a great job with that as well as Lauren (Aitch).

On if this was one of Britney Thomas' best performances of the year...
I would say I thought early we had her on Tyra Grant, and then Alex Bentley got away from us, so we switched it out in the second half and she held her to no points in that second half. I think Tyra ended up with six and it was nice to see a combination of Cetera (Washington) and Lykendra (Johnson) going back and forth on her, but I thought those three did a great job defensively. We were disappointed that those kids had 18 out of their 27 points in the first half and they weren't a surprise to us. And also we were a little disappointed in them getting away from us in the first half. I thought those kids really did a great job and it was a great effort but I think Brittney definitely needs to be recognized for her defense for sure.

On what the strategy is for rotating girls on strong offense threats like Tyra Grant...
I think she is a really, really tough match up because she's so powerful and they posted her up. She can take you off the bounce, she can shoot three's, she can get you all the way the to the rim, she can dish it. She is a very powerful opponent and offensive threat. I thought having Lykendra, Cetera, Brittney, Kalisha (Keane) was on her, there was a couple possessions where Jasmine (Thomas) was on her, Porsche (Poole) was on her. I thought rotating our kids on her really made it difficult. She could never get used to the defender and what they were doing and the size and the quickness. It was a little bit different throughout the game.

On Allyssa DeHaan playing a little more angry after getting dinged up...
Yeah she was very aggressive I thought on both ends of the floor. We had a great collective team effort on the offensive end so that was nice to see everybody get a little piece of the pie there. It was funny, the ref was calling a trainer out and she just got hit I was like give her a chance to stand up and see if she can fight through it. I was really glad to see Allyssa do that. She really stepped up for us tonight and I thought that was huge and very instrumental for us.

On the play of Lauren Aitch and the Spartan bench...
I would be remised if I didn't talk about Lauren Aitch and her minutes off the bench. She was critical. Her energy, her scoring, her rebounding, she was a big catalyst. I think we outscored them 35 to 7 off the bench and I thought our bench was big and certainly her and Kalisha (Keane) came in and gave us a nice one-two punch.

On playing Lauren Aitch and Allyssa DeHaan together...
We can. We do and some of it is match-up driven. This is a team that is really big; there is a time when they had three post players in, like how we can play Kalisha (Keane) at the three. It felt like it was a good opportunity for us to do that. There are other teams that it is harder to do that with just on the defensive side. It was nice to see the two out there together and we try to do that when we can, when it is advantageous for us.

On Kalisha Keane's game growing in all aspects...
I think she's doing a really good job of playing within the flow. I think she only took, to me, one bad shot tonight. She was just trying to force the action a little bit and I talked to her about that. If your going to do it, let's try and get all the way to the rim and not hit a pull up jumper. I think she is really doing a nice job at playing at a cadence and a speed that is comfortable and not trying to force the action too much. I think there's times in her first couple years where she would try to hard almost, so it's nice to see her flow between a three and a four, and she did that the last two games, and not let it effect her ability to be effective on the offensive end.

Penn State Head Coach Coquese Washington

On what Michigan State did different from their first meeting...
I don't think they really did anything differently. They pressed a little more and played with a lot more energy, almost an anger, this game. You could see the intensity. I don't think they did anything differently, I just think that they executed better.

On if Michigan State had more of a swagger on the defensive side of the ball tonight...
I wouldn't say swagger. I think that they probably had a little more energy after the bye week and you could tell because they came back with fresh legs and had a bounce in their step. They got to loose balls, got extra rebounds and things of that nature. They played hard tonight. I don't mean to say that because I think that they're a team that plays hard every night, but they took it up a notch and made some plays this game.

On what they did defensively on Tyra Grant...
I thought they were very aggressive with her; every team that we play is aggressive with Tyra because she's one of the best scorers in the conference. I thought they did a really good job on trying to make her make tough plays. At our place, she was able to make some tough shots and those same shots didn't fall tonight. In our first game, she was able to get to the free throw line but she didn't get there tonight. They did a good job of making her run and making her take tough shots and obviously she didn't make enough of them.

 

 

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