Add to Calendar
Skip to main content Skip to footer
BUY TICKETS

Post Game Quotes: Michigan

Feb. 11, 2018

Recap |  Box Score

Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant

On mindset of the team...
I feel good about this team. The last time that we played Michigan we had six post players and  a guard. I had Taya (Reimer) playing the point. Our kids have played really hard; they have fought really hard. It was a fun game to be a part of. It set the tone with Lexi (Gussert). I don't think anyone bleeds more green than Lexi Gussert. She is a Yooper, and she is a Spartan through and through. It was nice to see her set the tone, especially early.

On the rivalry...
It is a big rivalry. If you grow up in the state; you understand. Like I said before, there isn't a gray zone. You are a Spartan or you are a Wolverine, and there is no in between. I definitely grew up a Spartan, and every kid who plays for me is a Spartan through and through. Just like the Wolverines. I am sure they don't care for us that much. I know that when it comes to Michigan State, especially on our home floor and in front of our fans, you want to make them proud.

On Taryn McCutcheon’s defense…
I told her after the game, we’ve played four years against Flaherty and she’s really, really good, and I thought Tori (Jankoska) the last few years has done a pretty good job on her. But, that’s probably the best I’ve ever seen anybody. She can evade screens, she can get up underneath it, she can guard the ball. I think what we were trying to do tendency-wise with her was effective and then when she got her fourth foul we were using Coco (Gaines) who’s 6’2”, 6’3” with length just to try to mix it up and buy some time for Taryn, but I thought that was the best I’ve seen for sure defensively.


 

 

On forcing turnovers…
I thought we did a good job of getting their gaps. There are certain kids on their team who aren’t aggressive getting the ball, so we tried to play off of them a little bit and double and do some things. Especially when they were driving a little bit to have permanent help guys versus having them off their shooters so I think that was part of their turnovers. They couldn’t get into a flow, and then Taryn just denying her the ball, usually she’s just a quick pin down or a quick flare screen and she’s got the ball in her hands. I thought Taryn did a good job of disrupting their offense by not letting her get the ball initially. I thought that helped a little bit with the turnover situation.
 
On the last turnover forced…
That was big. I thought our kids dug down. I thought about changing out one kid in there, just from a defensive perspective but I just, it just seemed like that team was going to have a little bit of will to them. I thought our kids did a really good job switching screens, and then evading when it came to Flaherty

On the importance of the Pink Game...
Obviously, it is something that we are all touched by. Seems like by now someone should have figured out how to stop that, but we want to do our part. It used to be about awareness, that was what it was about initially. But now we need to do a better job raising money, and get this problem solved in our society. I think the fact that we have had people in our program that have had cancer. We have, my associate head coach (Amaka Agugua-Hamilton) her mother’s life was lost to cancer. So, it runs close to the heart for sure. So, anything that we can do to certainly give back to the cause is important and it’s a special day and a special game. I think Michigan State does a great job.


Michigan head coach Kim Barnes Arico

Opening statement…
Credit to Michigan State, they did what they had to do to be successful tonight. I think they jumped on us… we were able to get out right away and then they jumped on us after we went up 7-0 and made that run. We battled until the end, but were never really able to recover.

They got some big stops down and we got some stops too, but then we couldn’t score a couple of those possessions down the stretch. So credit to them after playing us a couple of weeks ago, that was a great win for them and it was a great basketball game.

On Hailey Brown’s injury…
Not too much. She’s going to be evaluated in the next couple of days. Our trainer looked at her although we don’t really have too much information.

On the turnovers…
That’s been really the problem and we work on it. I mean, I know everybody probably says, ‘why aren’t you working on that or that late game situation?’ but we work on it every day. I think coming into the year we really knew that that might be something that could be a problem for us because we weren’t returning a point guard. But we have kind of, at times, handled it. Deja Church and Katelynn Flaherty and Nicole Munger and Jillian Dunston have done a good job and then at different times when we get frazzled a little bit, when we get bumped, when it gets physical a little bit, we have turned it over.

So it’s definitely a work in progress. I think part of it is not really having that true point guard. You know Katelynn has done a tremendous job for us filling that role, but now we’re looking to Katelynn to distribute, to score, to do a little bit of everything, so now we’re pointing at somebody else to relieve some of that pressure for her which I think Deja is doing and is going to improve on.

On what play they were trying to run when they called a timeout at the end of the game…
We were trying to get Hallie (Thome) a touch in the post first and foremost because we felt like she was having a lot of good one-on-one situations and then when we didn’t have her to try to get Katelynn off a flair screen – a flair screen to a re-screen – and I think everyone became hesitant right there. A couple of people had some open looks and just kept passing the ball and we got a violation.

On playing Michigan State after beating them by 26 previously this season…
Oh yeah. I mean anytime we play them, especially here, regardless of what their roster says or what their injuries say, they’re just really a difficult team to beat here. That’s how it is in the Big Ten. That’s what some of our kids are figuring out, it’s not easy to go on the road and win. Obviously (Lexi) Gussert came out, she didn’t play last time, and she really helped them take that lead in the first half. She made a lot of big baskets for them and (Taryn) McCutcheon controls their team so having those two back made a difference, but even if they weren’t we knew coming here was going to be incredibly difficult because that rivalry is real and they were going to really, you know, be better coming here.

On the foul with three seconds to go on the shot clock at the end of the game…
Yeah, how about that? How about that? I mean, golly, I couldn’t see it all the way over there, but I’m interested to go back and see how bad that foul was to…wow. I don’t know what the heck happened over there, that was something, we defended and got until three or four seconds left and then you know that really hurt. But in those situations we were with a lot of younger kids because Hailey went down and Jilly (Dunston) had fouled out so for some of our kids it was the first time in those situations. And that’s just got to be something that sometimes you learn with experience and hopefully you get through it without something like that happening, but we weren’t fortunate with that today.

On not having Brown at the end of the game…
Well Hailey is a great 3-point shooter and she obviously made a 3 and you know she’s tough with the pick-and-pop and the flair screen to Kate and so she had made one pretty soon, pretty recently before she got hurt, so that definitely, not having her in at the end of the game took away one of our best 3-point shooters. Next to Kate she’s probably shooting it the best of anyone on our team right now. So not having her in at that point definitely hurt us.

Partners & Sponsors