Nov. 6, 2011
Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant
Thoughts on defense holding Grand Valley to zero first half field goals...
I was concerned a little bit defensively, and I still am. I think they had some open opportunities and maybe early on we did such a good job rattling them a little bit. Sometimes you know you are open, the next time you are not as focused to make your shot. So I really need to see the film. I am one of those people that I just really have to watch the film in order to make a good assessment of everything. I think we made a really good point of changing so many people in and out of there, and they were doing the same thing, it was hard to get into a flow on both ends of the floor at sometimes.
On combinations that looked good...
I think we have some depth there. It is hard to say which ones. I guess it would depend on who we are playing. I thought Madison (Williams) gave us a great spark. I thought certainly Becca Mills was pretty impressive. She is a very talented face up kid that can also score the ball a little bit. I know we have been flipping back and forth a little Kiana (Johnson) and J.T. (Jasmine Thomas) and just trying to see which one of those kids is going to step up and emerge and that kind of thing.
I mean we are running so many people in and out of there nobody stayed long enough to really know if that is a good combination or not. I love having Taylor (Alton) on the floor, I think she extends the defense whether she is playing the four or the three. I just like what she brings; I can tell you having her on the floor is really comforting as a coach. She is a communicator, she's a leader, she really runs whatever we are in offensive and defensively to the T. So she is one kid I love to have on the floor a lot and the rest are somewhat interchangeable at this point.
On the leadership of senior Lykendra Johnson...
I think any time she opens her mouth those kids are defiintely listening to every word she says. I think when you are the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and someone that is as skilled inside and out. And knowing with what she has battled with too, her adversity and how she is working every single day to be the best she can be, it is inspiring. So those kids really respond to her and it is encouraging to have her down at that end of the floor there is no question.
On looking forward to the regular season...
I think our offensive flow is not where it needs to be. I felt it was a little choppy tonight. I don't know if it was from us playing so many combinations. They (Grand Valley) were going back and forth between zone, man, zone, man. We have some inexperience in the point guard position. But I thought we settled in and did a better job in the second half of recognizing things. I think we need to get the ball inside more I can tell you that. We need more post touches.
You asked me about Madison (Williams), what I can take away from that. I just like the fact that she is out there and having fun again, she's impactful on the floor. I think it has been a long haul for her. Her goal was on October 2nd to be practicing with the team and not in the corner doing rehab, and she did that, and she accomplished her goal. Now it is just about getting her ready every single day for a grueling season in particular when the Big Ten comes. But I like what I see; I think she airs of the side of being more aggressive than less. It is not an easy thing to teach I don't think you can coach aggressiveness. So the fact that she is that big and she has the ability to go change some things I think we need to let her make some mistakes that way, and let her ride it out a little bit.