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Michigan State 80, Detroit 41

Nov. 20, 2013

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Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant

On Branndais Agee...
I thought she was more aggressive just playing within herself. I think the one thing she does a very good job of is attacking the glass and that's one of her great gifts. We were focusing on that and then we spent a lot of time just keeping our hands off people on dribble drives. The new rule is about adjusting. I thought she did a nice job tonight. It was good to see her play with confidence and in a flow, especially in that kind of an odd game plan. They just stayed in the paint and let anybody shoot it that was wide open. That's difficult just because you're so wide open. I kept thinking to myself, I grew up in Traverse City and Dan Majerle was a big time player from up there. I knew his family very well. I used to ask his dad, Frank Majerle, why he would never come to my games. He would say `because girls basketball is like watching wet paint dry.' I thought tonight to myself that kind of came in there. The way the whole game was going, it kind of felt like watching wet paint dry in some ways just because of them packing the paint and you just couldn't get anything going. That was just in my head. Frank in Traverse City, I give him some credit for that one cause that was a struggle it seemed like.

On the players who came off the bench...
We had planned on using our bench a lot tonight. We're just in a really compressed schedule at this point. We have three games this week finishing up, then another one on Tuesday on the road. We knew it was going to be difficult. We have a lot of kids play extended minutes against Dayton on Sunday, so we were hoping to get to our bench and we did that. I thought we had some good performances off the bench. We really just tried to spread it around a little bit  - use Anna Morrissey as well who can play the point for us and give Kiana (Johnson) some rest as well. That was the plan going in, so I was glad to see we were able to execute that versus having to play people because it's too close of a game.

On defensive play going forward...
I was glad to see we didn't put them in the bonus. I mean it starts there, moving your feet. I think that's one thing we've been working on within our defense is making sure the last line of defense is there if we do get beat on dribble drives and that we're not getting hand checking calls and putting people to the free throw line. This was a team that runs that five out spread, dribble drive. Like I said, I thought it was kind of a little like Wisconsin's men where they would hold the clock all the way down to like 10 seconds or so before they would look to take a shot, just to try to keep the gap there. I give our kids credit. We were playing a lot of different combinations with different kids, so I was happy to see our defense step up a little bit.

On Cara Miller...
She reminds me a lot of Taylor Alton. That's how Taylor Alton was, kind of a role player. She comes in, always in the right place, communicates, takes charges and understands defensively what we're supposed to do. I thought she did a nice job tonight and that's back- to-back games where she's making the most of an opportunity. I've been very, very pleased with her because she hustles and works hard. Sometimes her downfall can be that she turns it over a little bit, but it was nice to see her not do that tonight. I'm really pleased with where she is at; she gives us a little bit of energy off the bench, as well.

On the three freshmen and their impact...
It's interesting because Branndais (Agee) and Aerial (Powers) are freshmen, but they sat a whole year to kind of watch and evaluate so they have a little bit of the wisdom that goes with playing without losing a year of eligibility; they have a little bit of a different edge. Tori (Jankoska) doesn't surprise me at all, because she just has a high IQ, deep range and she can do a little bit of everything from that regard. I'm not surprised by it; I think they really enhance our offense and do some really nice things to compliment what we already have.



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