MSU Spartans
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Women's Basketball
Michigan State 67, Oakland 42



Nov. 27, 2011

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Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant

Thoughts on the play of redshirt junior Courtney Schiffauer...
I thought she did a really good job. She kind of earned her position, got back in the starting line-up at the four-position. When we lost Madison Williams we talked about maybe moving her to the post, and maybe a face-up opportunity. What I feel she brings is she runs hard every time in transition, so that brings a little bit of pressure and that opens up our guard opportunities. Another thing is she just brings a lot of toughness and energy to the court. As a team they kind of need that. We need an upperclassman to lead them in an emotional toughness kind of way that is what (Courtney) Schiffauer is built on. We are excited about the way she is playing certainly, and we are looking forward for her progressing and getting better and better in the game.

On the play of the post players...
Well that's where we felt we could attack them a little bit. We thought if we could go at their best player number 40 (Bethany Watterworth) that she couldn't really defend us with our size, our ability we were strong in there too. I thought Schiff (Courtney Schiffauer) did a good job going at her and attacking her. And defensively I thought our kids really executed well the game plan. We were going back between a box-and-one and just a regular zone. I thought there is no question that Watterworth really struggled. She had 12 points but earned every one of them. I want to say at least five of her points came from scramble situations, maybe there was a long defensive rebound we fought for and they kicked it out and she happened to be there. So you could see their offense revolves around her, about 50% of their offense is her and so we worked really, really hard to put that defense in the last couple days to make it challenging for her. A lot of credit goes to a lot of different kids and certainly our team difference we shut her down but, we also didn't give up free opportunities in the paint.

Thoughts on the coaching milestones reached...
I don't really think about that. I always just think about the next game, trying to put our team in the position to be successful and get better every day. Some of that just means you have been doing it a long time. But it has been a great ride, being the coach here at Michigan State is what I said to associate athletic director Shelley Appelbaum and Athletic Director Mark Hollis when they handed me the presentation before the game. I so appreciate the opportunity to be a Spartan coach, to be a part of Team MSU and what that means. How you want to work really hard for the fans that believe in these kids and get lots of victories for them. For me it's about doing the best we can to give back and get wins, and appreciate the blessing I have being an MSU coach.

Thoughts on the play of freshman center Jasmine Hines...
She has improved a lot, I definitely think the one thing is her strength, I don't know how you cannot see it when you watch. She can pin and seal someone into the bleachers. And then her hands are off the chart. You can toss that thing into traffic and she will catch it and get it. And we need her to perform with Madison Williams going down as devastating as it was for us. We can't complain about it, we have to get other people ready and what that did is put her in that position where she is going to get more minutes. Between her, Becca Mills, Lykendra Johnson, and Courtney Schiffauer there is a four person kind of rotation. And depending on how things are going Kelsey Smith can do things too. We just feel what Jasmine brings is the opportunity to put people in a position where we know she is going to catch the basketball, and we know she is going to power that thing up, and if she doesn't score it is probably going to be a foul. Her development is going to be important to our teams success, no question.

Oakland Head Coach Beckie Francis

On the East Lansing connections...
I was really excited for them. Today they were obviously very pumped up for this. They have a lot of family and friends there. I wish that some of their shots had better bounce. But I am very proud on our East Lansing connections, that's one of the reason we have done a really good job at Oakland and we have had a lot of success is because of East Lansing High School and its player.

Thoughts on the size of Michigan State posts...
I was walking down the hallway with our sports information director and I thought what happened in the second half and I thought the same exact thing. I felt like their size they just controlled the boards, the offensive rebounds. I mean we were hanging with them but they were just pounding. We were trying to box them out but that size just got us. They have 18 offensive rebounds.

Thoughts on playing major programs...
We schedule these games to get ready for conference play. We have Purdue coming up, we have Clemson, we just got done with playing a BIG EAST team and we love doing that. The struggle with that is keeping a young team like we are confident. Good thing I have a Masters degree in counseling.




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