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Michigan State 96, Dayton 89 (OT)

Nov. 17, 2013

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On Aerial Powers’ performance…
I love her aggressiveness. Sometimes that can get her in trouble with decision making, but she played so hard today. She’s a freshman that sometimes doesn’t understand time-score possession, but I thought her heart and her effort, at both ends of the floor, were there. It was the best all-around game I’ve seen her play, even though she may have had more turnovers than she needed to have. She was at least being aggressive, which I really liked.

On the performance of the freshmen today…
There’s been some maturity there already. I kid Tori (Jonkoska) all the time that she’s so ‘extra.’ It’s her extra face when she starts acting a little bit crazy. She’s got moxie and savvy about her and so does Aerial (Powers). They’re gamers and that’s just how you have to assess what they do. They want the ball in their hands. They’re not afraid of the situation or who they’re playing against. That’s a great lesson, because we have other kids who think about their mistakes and these two don’t.

On the role of this game in terms of measuring the team’s progress…
We’ve played two top-20 teams in the country basically in our first three games. It’s disappointing how we performed at Notre Dame and I think in this business you have to learn from the good and the bad. I thought our team learned from our first two games, certainly the loss at Notre Dame. Even though we won against Canisius, there was some lack-luster focus and intent, especially at the defensive end of the floor. I look at a team that grew up today. We played better on ball-screen defense. I still struggle with the fouling situation. I think even the men’s side does. We do. It’s a difficult situation, but I was proud of us. We got down a little bit there at the end of regulation, found a way around and made some big plays. I learned that we’re not going to quit or wait for someone else to do it. I thought our kids did a nice job staying aggressive.

On the performance of Cara Miller…
She’s a kid that outworks people and is really smart, so she can play multiple positions. Like tonight, she was playing the three in the first half, and down the stretch, she was playing the four because Annalise (Pickrel) was in foul trouble. She just has a knack for playing hard, quite honestly, and understanding the game. What she lacks, maybe in athleticism or quickness, she makes up for with the neck up. Her reaction time is quick; she had a couple of nice, big defensive rebounds to secure the victory. She and Mariah (Harris) gave us great minutes in the first half. I thought she (Miller) gave us exceptional minutes. She was the sort of MVP, even though our stat line doesn’t look like it. She brought us much-needed time. I feel good about where she’s at and that she’ll come in and always bring energy, enthusiasm and hustle. She’s going to work at it. I feel like she was our unsung hero at times.



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