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Michigan State 84, Grand Valley State 44

Nov. 9, 2008

Recap |  Box Score

Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant

Opening Statement...
We've played two and we see that we have a lot of improvement on the offensive end in terms of turning the ball over still. I think we're in the process of fighting through not having Brittney Thomas. I think that if we can clean up some of our silly turnovers, it's a starting point for us to improve on for Friday.

On adjusting to several team injuries...
I think that in the past the injuries have happened so close to tip-off time that we didn't have time to adjust. This time, we were able to adjust a little bit. It has been hard losing Taja Wilson to a knee injury for the year, and Mia Johnson and Brittney Thomas who both will be back. In the meantime, we need to have some kids step up. I think that you can turn a negative into a positive and now the young kids are getting more minutes. It's a good thing for our young kids and I think that we have done a nice job adjusting but I still think that it is a work in progress.

On the team's options to replace Brittney Thomas...
We have three kids that we think are viable options to play at the one. Porsche Poole is more of the natural one in terms of her experience. So being able to give her the opportunity to share the responsibility with Kalisha Keane and Mandy Piechowski a little bit, will maybe help her to get some more confidence.

On the team's defense as a whole...
In the second half, we went more to the zone which I have been wanting to do. Because of our size and our length we can cover a lot of ground. We are also pretty athletic so it was the time to do that. We were getting beat off the dribble and I think that sometimes our new kids are struggling with the man-to-man concepts and even sometimes some of the returning kids. We need to be able to go to the zone because I think it's good and we can apply more pressure that way. The thing is, the way we are playing it this year, allows us to cause turnovers at the top of the zone and any kind of tip or turnover here usually can lead to some pretty open buckets. I think that if we can grow in that zone it can only get better.



On Cetera Washington...
I think that the zone is going to really help Cetera. She can really apply a lot of pressure and get tips and steals. Because of that, she can get out ahead and score ahead of the ball. We are on her quite a bit to run that wing. She is really a hustle player. She is one of the most coachable kids we have on this team. She wants to win and is all about the team first. I think that she can certainly help us get that zone where we want it.

On Aisha Jefferson...
I think that her focus is there but I don't know if the `game feel' is there. It certainly isn't because of lack of effort. It's more that she has to get into the flow a little bit. In these games we try not to play people for a long time so we can get everybody some minutes. I am looking forward to building up her confidence and her conditioning so she can get better at both ends for a longer period of time. I think with her knee, it's just taking some time to get her back into that mode.

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