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Michigan State 75, Minnesota 61 Post-Game Quotes

Feb. 24, 2014

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Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant

On if being able to play various players in the past couple games to make the team more flexible...
It is nice to be able to extend some minutes there; I thought we got good minutes off our bench for sure. Brandais (Agee) has been playing really well the last couple games and it's nice to see, because we need her to give us good extended minutes  and I thought Jaz (Jasmine Hines) did a nice job. I was glad to see us be able to extend our bench in the last few games to be honest and I think now that those kids have played a lot of minutes, and almost into second-year type situations experienced at this time of year, so we should be getting production out of them I guess.

On losing Kiana Johnson and having Klarissa Bell on the point as a senior and taking on that role and embracing it...
I thought this was one of her best games. I thought she started to settle in a little bit more, you know even when they put their best defender on the back court. she doesn't get rattled.  She didn't even need to screen in the back court anymore; you can tell she is feeling more comfortable with her ball handling. [She had) ten assists tonight, she finished at the rim, did some nice things and guarded their best players. The thing with Klarissa (Bell), and I was talking to her about it before our last road game, is everyone keeps talking about her being our leading scorer from a year ago. Well we didn't score that many points; our leading scorer was 10.6 or 10.8 points and that was her, so she is averaging within two points of that. There's not like a significant drop off and she is shooting a better field-goal percentage, a better three-point field-goal percentage and a better free-throw percentage. She has more assists, an equal amount of steals and is still our best defensive player.

On the technical foul called on Aerial Powers...
I'm not sure what happened with the Aerial (Powers) technical ; I am going to re-watch it. I think there was a misunderstanding right there and I just thought that was an unbelievably technical foul to send someone to the bench with their fifth foul for the rest of the game with eight minutes to go. That needs to be addressed and looked at and I am going to do that for sure, because I want to know. Talking to her, I mean she said something, but she didn't say it to him and everyone has a moment out there where they might not use the most appropriate language; it shouldn't be an instant technical. There was a kid that pushed her into him, so maybe he thought that she pushed him, but that should have been some kind of warning conversation, so that really bothered me. It limited our bench and she is one of the best players on our team, let alone I think in the conference, so it definitely changed what we were able to do.

On the wealth of the freshman in the Big Ten right now...
I was talking to Debbie Antonelli before the game and she said that there are 26 impact freshman and four of them are in the Big Ten. In her opinion, she thought that there were four that really stood out and that's pretty significant when you look across the country that we had the most in her opinion that come in and affected the game not only just as scorers, but maybe a rebounder and assist guy, a defender whatever it may be. That says a lot about our conference and the depth of our league and the youth of our league and I think it says that the future is pretty bright as well.

On Jasmine Hines settling into her role...
She is really doing a nice job of being aggressive and using her leverage. I mean she is tough in a lot of ways and we can credit (Coach Amaka Agugua) Mox and Mark (Simons). They have really worked with her on some up-and-under moves, and I can see that she was all like a `drop-step power into you' kind of guy and now she's really clearing her space a little bit. She's doing a better job reading them on the low post and I think that has contributed to her ability to score the basketball a little bit better and be more effective at times for us. She has really improved in a lot of areas and it is starting to become instinctive out there and we need her to be. She is a very tough match-up with our game.

On preparing for the game against Northwestern...
Whatever happens, happens. Coach-speak, but that is the truth.



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