Feb. 23, 2012
Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant
On Taylor Alton's defense...
Taylor's a good defender, actually, on face up kids like that that are pretty more like 3-point shooters. I thought, you know, Tear'a's lateral speed and she can handle too, they're pretty comparable. Taylor's pretty smart. We felt like we had to move some kids around, for sure, on her. But I was really pleased with our ability to defend their big three. I thought Lindsey Moore struggled to get good opportunities and (Jordan Hooper) had 15 points but I thought they were hard earned and she had to take good shots to get there. Then (Emily) Cady, I didn't know what her status would be with the knee injury after the Wisconsin game. I don't know how healthy she was, to be honest. I thought our defense was very, very solid.
On the outside shooting in the game...
I think K. Bell (Klarissa Bell) scored the first seven points. I thought out of the gates, everybody was a little aggressive. I think that it helps. I think our team gets fired up when Taylor (Alton) starts off knocking down shots and it opens things up a little bit more. I think we got some things in transition and K. Bell was aggressive out of the gates which you need to be on that back side in transition. People are starting to key on Porsche (Poole) in transition and get to her on the right wing so now it opens up our left wing a little bit more. I thought we did a good job of finding K. Bell and she wasn't as hesitant this game as she was last game. It was good to see.
On this team's character on making this late-season push...
That's our goal. Our goal is to win every game we play. Sometimes it doesn't always happen. I think you look back and wish you could take that Illinois game back maybe and that one goes your way. But that Iowa one, we could have had. We let slip away from us but that's part of the growth of the team. There are kids playing in positions that they hadn't played minutes in the past. I think we've gotten some strong leadership from the point guard position. To be honest, running the show, it's not only about scoring, but I do think Kiana's helping and giving us that confidence. She has a little bit of that swagger back to her. I think that people feed off of that. We have Porsche (Poole) and K. Bell (Klarissa Bell) on the wings and we moved Taylor (Alton) around. Maybe it's given us the one-two punch that we needed to adjust in the late season to make people guard us a little bit differently.
On how did it feel to win on senior night...
I think that's always in the back of your mind. You definitely want to go out and I think the team wants to send them out with a victory. Last year, we cut down nets and we had a celebration for seniors, but we lost the game by one point. There was kind of that dark cloud over us even though we wound up winning the outright championship. It just feels a lot better when you win. I think our team really wanted to do that for our seniors and I thought our seniors played extremely well. I thought Taylor (Alton) had one of the best of the games she's played besides at Penn State. I thought they did their talking on the defensive end.