Post-Game Quotes
 
 
 

 

 
 

Feb. 8, 2009

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Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant
On the Spartan defense...
I felt like defensively we had a solid game plan. We had to make some adjustments on how we played them the first time, obviously. I think that we made some adjustments that made her (Jantel Lavender) have to struggle a little bit at times to get a good look at the rim, which was the most important thing.

On Brittney Thomas' injury...
Certainly, when that happens, you have some reservations, especially going into a game against Ohio State with the way they pressure. I felt like our kids, as disappointed as they were, believed that they could find a way to make it happen. We had our post players having to bring it down against pressure. Al (Allyssa DeHaan) was handling it and getting it in the back court. We needed effort by everybody to step things up and say "we can make this happen." I give a whole lot of credit to our defense and every player that played for doing the little things to make it happen.

On protecting the ball...
We talked about it and said that we just have to back up into them and just make sure we hang on to it. We wanted to get a good look at the rim. Even if we did turn it over, we were able to get back and, for the most part, make sure that they had to go against our set defense. I don't know if there was any kind of major adjustment in the last 15 minutes, except for I think our kids just buckled down and made sure that we didn't give it back to them.

Certainly I believe that we have players who can do it. What was hard is that we had one day to prepare and simulating Ohio State is very hard. I know it didn't look pretty to a lot of people but it was the best approach, given our circumstances. I just think it was hard to simulate. There just comes a time when you have to be a player. I think that Cetera handled it down the stretch and so did Al and Lauren. They found a way to make it happen.

On Allyssa DeHaan...
She was really ready to play and we sure needed her today. We just could not get through the year, especially now without Brittney. We have to have people showing up and making a difference at both ends of the floor and I thought we had that. We have to give Al a lot of credit. She is playing with some pain and you could hardly notice it out there today compared to the last two games. She's been really pushing herself to make it happen.

On what the victory says about the team...
We certainly have a lot more games left. I think that the one thing that they showed me tonight, especially under adversity, is that they had a whole lot of desire and will to play at a higher level and demand that from each other. They do play with a lot of heart, but the one thing we talked about is that heart and emotion only takes you so far. This is about execution, being focused and doing the job. I thought our kids made sure we handled it with some poise and some presence. That's what I saw out there tonight.

Ohio State head coach Jim Foster:
On changing their game plan due to Brittney Thomas' injury...
We did not do a good job of reversing the ball, and started the game taking our shots too quickly. Based on what they were going through, we knew they were going to struggle getting the ball up the floor letting us get some opportunities early but as the game progressed they got a little more confident in that area. We had three or four people doing their job when it came to defending, but then the fifth person would let the ball come up without the right kind of pressure we needed to put on them. That hurt us along with us being in a quick shot mood, and not taking advantage of the things that make us a good basketball team. They did a great job and I don't think we did a very good job.

On Michigan State's turnovers...
They had 20 turnovers, so I don't think they handled the ball very well. It was more our fault defensively. Once they got the ball in their set they had a bunch of big bodies on the floor and a couple of mismatches that they took advantage of. We did not take advantage of our mismatches and our opportunities that include moving the ball and getting our players to spread the floor and attack of the dribble. In the second half I think Ashley attacked off the dribble and had four baskets and we had opportunities to do that in the first half and didn't because we were quick shooting.

On Dehaan making two three-pointers...
She made the first and you have to give her that, and then you can't let the second one happen. When you look back on a game that close those kind of decisions hurt us. That goes all across the board thought. Mentally we were not to the level to beat this team today. They played with a lot of emotion and played a lot harder than we did, and they took advantage of what they could do and we did not take advantage of what we could do.

On the difference between the first game against MSU and the second...
You really can't evaluate them right now. You have to wait and see how they are without Thomas. We did not prepare to play that team and they did a great job. Now people are going to see they don't have a point guard and how they are going to play them. Today they did a terrific job and did what they had to do on both ends of the floor. They got the ball into the offensive end and once they did that they executed well and took advantages of the mismatches. But we kind of helped them along by the way they played offensively in the first half.

Ohio State guard Ashlee Trebilcock:
On the missed opportunities down the stretch ...
I think I got great shots off them, but they were just not going in. I mean zero for seven speaks for itself from the three-point line. I had wide open looks but they were not falling.

Ohio State forward Jantel Lavender:
Thoughts on the game...
I think we basically just got out-played. Michigan State came out and played extremely hard and we did not match their intensity out there and we ended up on the short end.

On the message their team is trying to send...
What we have been talking about for a couple mouths now is that in order for us to be a good basketball team we need to reverse the basketball. It's almost like we refuse to do it, and in the second half I thought we got more quality shots and some second shots as well. In the first half there was not rhyme or reason to what we were doing.