March 3, 2013
Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant
On getting the win on Senior Day…
It was big. It certainly wasn’t a great basketball game. I felt like we played much better on the road at Purdue, but Wisconsin does the same thing their men do. They spread everybody back. It’s hard to get in transition. They play a very sagging inside-out. So really all that’s left open is outside shots, and if you hit them, you can beat them by 20. If you don’t, it can be a little frightening. We got up 14 and then it went back to just not making shots from the perimeter, so it’s difficult. When we went inside, whether it be the guard on the post-up or the big, they doubled us and forced us to kick it out, so it was a challenging game for us.
On securing a first-round bye for the Big Ten Tournament…
That’s big. We just didn’t want to have to play [in the first-round]. It didn’t matter who. The tournament is going to be so hard. It doesn’t matter where you are. Your record isn’t really indicative of the type of team you are. I think this is a tough league and some people are playing better now, and some people are dropping. But at the end of the day, I think we’re happy we just don’t have to play on that first day.
Her thoughts on the team’s performance as the post-season approaches…
We’re going to have to get more out of our post players. They’re just struggling right now-one, to score, two, to defend sometimes. I thought Becca [Mills] was okay out there, but I thought Jaz [Jasmine Hines] struggled a little bit. Then when they doubled it, that’s really not her game. We have to get those two going. They’ve got to get more confident, a little bit meaner and a little bit more competitive. I thought Becca did a nice job of that and I saw that out of her, so I think that’s important. I think we’ve got to be a little more consistent offensively with the way we shoot the ball. We’re getting really good looks, and we’ve got to make people pay. If we score, the defense seems to be a little bit more potent.
Her thoughts on the seniors’ last game…
I don’t think it was their best performance, but we’ve asked them to do a lot. Those kids, to be where we’re at is a direct result of their leadership and toughness as seniors. They’ve had their ups and downs, but I think their will, their fight and their competitiveness has always been there. I don’t think it was a great performance, but our team has never relied on a couple players. We need everybody to show up to be successful.