MSU Spartans
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Women's Basketball
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Nov. 25, 2012

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Head Coach Suzy Merchant

On the team five games into season...
I like the balance. I do think we have an inside-out attack. Certainly Jasmine Thomas is something you're excited about with the way she's carrying herself because all teams run through the point guard, all teams run through they're quarterback. She has to be that coach on the floor, her presence has been monumental. She's brought poise and calm, so that other people can do what they can do well. That sounds simple, but she's really nice job of setting people up that are shooters and setting good screens and finding the post inside that can score and bury. I wouldn't say that's a surprise, but it has certainly been exciting to watch that. I think we shoot the ball pretty well. For the most part, it wasn't our best shooting night, but I do think we have the ability to knock shots down on the perimeter and put it on the floor a little bit. We've got to get healthier. We played Branndais a little bit and she's pretty sore she said. She's probably 30 percent the player she can be, but we need a body and the doctor said it was okay to give her a try. I thought that was a bright spot to see what she can do, to get her up and down a little bit.

On freshman Branndais Agee...
We've got to take a look at it; she said she was pretty sore. I don't know where we're at with that. We've got to really evaluate that because the last thing we need is for her to go down and not have her again, we can take it easy on her. It was a chance for her to get some reps and some minutes. She's an athlete, she's a great player. She can shoot threes, she can handle the ball, she can pass it, and she's a very good rebounder. I think she can become a great lock-down defender, her lateral speed just isn't that great right now; she's got a pin and a fracture in her foot.

On Jasmine Thomas as a leader...
I've always said it's hard to be a captain. I've done this in my coaching career; you name people captain, put people in positions of leadership that if you can't produce on the court it makes it hard for people to hear you over time. I think right now Jasmine has always had that ability, I think people really like her; I think she has a high IQ for the game. She relates really well to other people, but what she's doing right now is she's doing it with her actions on top of doing it from a verbal side. You've got to have that, your best leaders have to be kids that perform night in and night out, I think that's kind of positive as a captain and a leader. Klarissa was the same way. Klarissa was named a captain and she's been performing well and doing her job. It's as simple as walking the walk in some ways. For me it's been fun to watch Jasmine. Certainly we'll be challenged a ton on the road here as we go to NC State, they're athletic; they press and trap and do a lot of things really well. We'll find out.

On Tracy Nogle's play today...
It was nice to see her go in and be aggressive and bring energy. I thought that's the thing when you get in little situations. You want to continue to perform well, it doesn't matter who's on the court. I think she learned a little bit from the exhibition game that she wasn't really ready. I wouldn't say she didn't take it seriously, but she didn't come with that focus that she needed to. No matter what the minutes or the situation was so it was nice to see her come in and be a little more determined.

On personality of team...
I thought we had a game plan against number 15 (Artimas Spanou),that kid is a really good player. She takes 40 more shots than everybody else. She shoots 32 more free throws than everybody else. She has 19 offensive boards in four games. That kid can play. She's got some skill. You've got to give a lot of credit to Courtney Schiffauer, you've got to give a lot of credit to Annalise Pickrel. Then as a team there were certain things we did when she got the ball in short corner, kind of off the post in that pearl-like area. We just really jumped to our high side and made her come underneath where we could maybe take some double team with in our system. I think our kids are doing a pretty good job of challenging without putting people to the free throw line. I would've liked to see us do a better job there. I think that's a focus, we're not giving up free points. In the past we've fouled a little too much. It's all relative; it's kind of on to the next one. You don't know and you won't. I guess our offense is balanced right now which is a positive. That allows our defense to step up a little bit more.

On toughness of future opponents...
Albany was an NCAA tournament team last year and they have some pieces and they're pretty good. As you go on I think every opponent gets better and better. We haven't played a top 25 team yet. We're in the process of turning that corner right now. It's a learning experience for us. They're going to get into you quite a bit now, down the road. They have so many things they can do and they play extremely hard. It'll be our toughest challenge yet.

On the team's confidence...
I think that it's always about confidence in our game. You can see that there are certain players on our team that have it and are playing and there are certain players that are struggling a little bit with it. Confidence is everything. I think from the positive side that the rotation has been simple. It's not rocket science, there are five starters and there's basically been one sub. Now with Branndais we get a little bit deeper in that. Some of the opportunity too we've kept moral up because other kids get to play at the end of the game and that's always a positive too when you can do that. I like the fight in our team and the focus. It is always about confidence. The unfortunate team on the women's side, I can't speak for anyone else, but I've found on the women's side that confidence can go like that. It takes a long time to build back up. For us, it is about doing what we can do, being the best you can be and if you don't play well you've got to forget it. You've got to forget about it and move on and build and be the best you can be the next day. You can't worry about the last game; you've got to worry about the next practice for us.

 

 

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