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Louisville 67, Michigan State 55

March 17, 2012

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Head Coach Suzy Merchant

Opening statement...
Obviously we are disappointed with the outcome. Certainly I think we need to give Louisville a lot of credit. I thought they really rattled us in the first half. We couldn't get into an offensive play and that put us into a little hole going into halftime. I liked our fight in the second half. I thought we did a much better job playing our game and doing some things, but we just couldn't get over that hump. It was a tough battle and I feel bad for our seniors. I'm not sure it was their best performances and that's never how you want that to go, but we are really proud of what they accomplished this season. They certainly helped us get to a place where we need to be.

On Lykendra Johnson's early foul trouble...
It was a problem for us. I think she was playing really well in terms of putting pressure on people on the block. She does some special things out there. As a captain and a leader you need that. She is the glue to the team and she went down so early. The way she got her last foul was also really avoidable. She just had a frustrated moment, which I think has put us at a disadvantage sometimes. I did think Jasmine Hines came in and did some pretty good things in her place, especially when we needed some inside play. That definitely hurt us though. We played on our heels a little bit from that time on.

On possibly putting Lykendra Johnson into the game earlier...
She seemed a little different to me. Because I have coached her for as long as I have, I just thought she was a little frustrated and would have gone into the game and got her third [foul] right away and we couldn't afford that. I did think about [putting her in the game earlier] and letting her play, but I felt like she had a little edge to her while watching her play and was a little disgruntled. You could see her frustration level was pretty high, so when you put her into those situations they usually don't equal no foul. They usually equal situations where she is on the bench for even longer, and that wasn't what we needed.

On Louisville's fast breaks and losing control...
I felt like [Louisville's fast breaks] were the issue in the first half. When Lykendra got the ball on the baseline and had an open layup and missed it. I swear if she made that shot that press would have been done because that is Louisville's M.O. As soon as you start scoring off their press they will take it off. We felt like we really need to be aggressive and attack it and score off of it. We had opportunities early, but we missed some of them, so I think they stayed with it. To their credit, they were coming after our freshman point guard and they were trapping some ball screens. I don't know if we handled those well, but we were ready for it. We just didn't do as good of a job taking advantage of it.

Senior Taylor Alton

On her emotions after the game...
I obviously feel disappointment. I don't think we went out how we wanted to. Things didn't really fall our way tonight and I think some of us let it get into our heads a little bit. When we get to that point we have to find any other way or pull someone along who is scoring. Clearly, I feel disappointment about the loss, but we definitely fought back strong in the second half. I think we just have that trend. We just didn't put two halves together.

On Klarissa Bell's play...
She was a huge spark for us. I think the biggest thing is we were just trying to get someone to go along with her. She did a great job. It was definitely what we needed from her today.

Sophomore Klarissa Bell

On her well-rounded game...
Coach Merchant looked at me during the first half when I was on the bench and told me I can't be passive if I want to be out on the court. So I went out there during the second half and started scoring. It wasn't good enough, obviously, because we didn't win. You can have a great game, but if you lose the game it doesn't matter.



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