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Post-Game Quotes: North Carolina 62, Michigan State 53

March 26, 2014

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Suzy Merchant, Michigan State Head Coach

Opening Statement...
Well, obviously disappointed. You know, we're a better team than we what we showed and give credit to North Carolina. I think they came out and really got into us and pressured us. But I thought we had some really good looks, I thought Becca [Mills] had some really good looks particularly early. She just didn't knock down what we needed to kind of get us going a little bit. I like the last 11 minutes - we held them to I think five points or something, we kind of helped get back defensively, at least doing some things. But you can't shoot 31 percent against anybody and anybody good. I would like to say, I think UT Martin poked a beehive there, and you know we got a swarming bunch of bees coming at us early and the biggest one in the bunch was Diamond DeShields. What an impressive freshman, she certainly deserves the National Freshman of the Year. I mean she was a one man wrecking crew in the first half and very, very special talent, tough to guard.

On the physicality of the game...
It was the most physical game I've been involved in in a long time. I mean, I can say that. And we play some really, really tough teams and just felt like off the ball and on the ball there was a lot of physicality and physical plays and very aggressive physicality and I just...there were times I thought we responded to it and we just can't overcome it when you get in those situations, and so that was what I will comment on and that's not how we've been practicing and preparing. Certain things you expect and sometimes it doesn't go your way. I felt like North Carolina was a better team today regardless but the physical play was something that I was disappointed in, but it's part of the deal I guess.

On Diamond DeShields's skillset compared to other players...
It's not even close. That kid is ...when she is what she was tonight you can't stop her. I mean her elevation on her jumper...I don't even think Madison Williams at 6'7, if she was one hundred percent healthy, could even get to that shot. It's impressive. We started the second half kind of with jump defense in the middle. We would stop her and then she crosses over in a trap then goes outside and her speed, her quickness, her elevation. When she decides to play, she's the best, one of the best and athletic and not that we don't have good players in the Big Ten, we really, really do. She's just unique, and that's why she is the National Freshman of the Year because she's just a notch above that. I mean her elevation in jump shot is as pretty as I've seen. It just changes the game and she can do so many things. And what I love about the kid is that she defends. You know she's hard to get around and to play against. She's long and athletic, she's a tough matchup on both ends of the floor...special talent.

Tori Jankoska, Michigan State Guard

On narrowing the point differential at the end of the game...
Well, we knew we played a terrible first half and we knew that. We came into the second half thinking that we would come in and we needed to hit the open shots and make sure we we're moving the ball around and not turning the ball over as much. I guess it didn't happen; we kind of played the same as we did in the first half and for the first 14 minutes of the second half.

On the effect of North Carolina's defense on her shot choice...
I don't think so, I think we handled the pressure a lot better in the second half, once we got open looks I think we were a little apprehensive about taking them because we did shoot so poorly in the first half. I think were apprehensive about shooting shots that we normally would shoot and we got inside a lot more, it was just really physical down there and tough to score.

Jasmine Hines, Michigan State Center

On Diamond DeShields's impact on today's game...
Like Coach Merchant] said, she's a really great player, real aggressive. I think she kind of got into us a little bit and we turned the ball over in the first half and kind of lost our fight a little bit. But by the time we responded it was little too late I think.

On North Carolina's ability to mentality disrupt Michigan State...
I would say that, I mean not necessarily. But I feel like their whole team is very intense and very aggressive. I think they got into us early and we were kind of on our heels a little bit, especially in the first half. But I thought in the second half we had a better response but I think their team is very aggressive. Coach [Merchant] told us that but I don't really think that we realized just how aggressive they were.



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