MSU Spartans
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Women's Basketball
No. 9 Miami 76, Michigan State 60
 
 
 

 

 
 

Dec. 1, 2011

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Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant

On second half adjustments...
We spread them out a little bit offensively when we got in the corner to try to run an offense and try to get north and south with the rim. I thought we did that pretty well in the second half. We kind of got them in a tough position. They would switch with their five on a ball screen, so we felt like we had the advantage to turn the corner. I think some of that came with composure from Kiana (Johnson). I thought Kiana made some really poor choices in the first half, but she did a much better job in the second. I think she just slowed down for us a bit there. And then we just committed to that zone a little bit, and we had a few daggers there with a few shots from No. 3 (Stefanie Yderstrom), who's a good shooter. We needed to do a better job finding her in the corner.

On the pressure of the full court press...
Well, it wasn't surprising in terms of what we knew we were going to get. We were going up against six and seven guys in the back court in our scout team the last couple of days. I was a little bit disappointed in how we handled it. I thought Jasmine Thomas was pretty passive in the first half in attacking it. Kiana (Johnson) kind of panicked there a bit, too. Porsché (Poole) made some poor choices, so there was a stretch there where we really didn't handle the ball. Their pressure is really good though. I mean, they can cover a lot of ground, in one through five that's the fastest, most athletic team I've played in my coaching career. No question. We've played Duke here, and it's not a contest in terms of their athleticism one through five. The way they can come after you in different ways. In the corner court, it's kind of the same, they create a little bit of havoc in there. They can run; those kids can run. It was a good test for us. It was disappointing for us about the first half turnovers. It's a part of growing up a little bit.

On Lykendra Johnson's foul trouble in the first half...
I get frustrated talking about Lykendra (Johnson) when it comes to that in this stage in her career. She's got to understand that some of her fouls are frustration situations. It's one thing to commit a foul and have a tough call here and there. She can do that, but when things don't go her way. She can put herself in a position where she leaves it up to an official to make a choice. She just has to learn to not let her frustration carry over into how she defends and puts herself in a position where gets defensively fouls.

On Courtney Schiffauer's energy...
That's one thing people really appreciate, Courtney (Schiffauer) does play very, very hard. She's a competitor. She's the "Mad Dog" as they say. She's just got a little bit of that toughness and nastiness to her. She'll throw some elbows, she'll get into some people. Right, wrong or indifferent, she's physically tough and mentally tough. Our team responds to that, and that's the reason she's been playing a lot of minutes and been in the starting lineup. She brings a little bit of grit to our team when we're so young. We're kind of learning how to compete and she's a competitor.

Miami Head Coach Katie Meier

Opening Statement...

First of all I just want to say, what a great environment to play in. I'm just so impressed with the atmosphere. It's such a classy place and a classy, classy program. Obviously the leader, Suzy Merchant, she's the class of the Big Ten and a heck of a coach. She had a lot of freshmen out there that were giving us fits, so I think the future is really bright for Michigan State.

I absolutely love my team and I have a lot of confidence in them and I was very happy with the fact that we played in Alaska against Anchorage and struggled in the first half and didn't hit shots. That helped us win this game. If this had been our first time this season where we were struggling from the field and not scoring and our two biggest scorers were shut down, I think we would have lost, but we got that experience in Alaska against Anchorage, tired and flying 40 hours and everything. That popped up again today where we were fine. We've seen it before; we've felt it before. And we know that we have a deep enough bench now that we can overcome that and I think that was really a great lesson for my team. I love to see them out there when they're struggling but they know they're okay. They know someone's going to catch fire; someone's going to pick us up. I really enjoy coaching this team and I think this is just a really fun basketball game. I really had a great time tonight.

On Morgan Stroman's performance...
She's so underrated in terms of our success and I think without question you have to give our seniors Shenise (Johnson) and Riquna (Williams) and Sylvia (Bullock) a lot of credit for changing the face of our program. But that junior class, the class we have right underneath, those kids are perfect. They are perfect student-athletes and they do everything you ask of them. They can be in the shadows and don't mind it and then in a game like this think, say `I'm okay, I'm a stud, too. I was a McDonald's All-American too.' That's Morgan Stroman. We thought we had good matchups with her, and she's so active. I end up cheering for her most of the time. I actually really love that kid so I'm really happy for her.

On Michigan State's intensity and what was the key to weathering that storm...
Our bench. Last year we won the ACC and we only had four people on the bench and our starters were all playing in 30 minutes and I don't know how we did it, I really don't. It was kind of smoke in mirrors and we had a really small margin of error. This year, they're great about calling for subs, so they're not making as many mistakes. For us to only have 10 turnovers tonight, the way we play, with us averaging 95 possessions per game. We kept 85 of them, so that's big for us. That's because we can keep them fresh. When Stefanie Yderstrom started that second half hitting, I was expecting zone. Suzy's really smart and when you get a really excited pressing team and then come out at half time usually a little flat after we got our second wind and it would be a smart time to go zone. I thought Yderstrom answering the call right there was huge for us, along with (Michelle) Woods and (Krystal) Saunders. We made one 3-pointer in the first half and five in the second half and totally changed the game.

On the pressure causing trouble for Michigan State...
We absolutely had to turn them over. You could tell when they got the ball deep in the paint, or they took us off the dribble, with their average points in the paint, we didn't have a choice but to turn them over. I thought they had a little bit of an advantage down below. I thought if they got in that paint they would give us some trouble, so we were trying to get the ball before they got there. It's funny when you coach a team like mine and you try three or four different defenses and you find one where the kids are playing hard and we've dug through our bag of tricks and finally we've found one that really works, it's huge for us.

On Riquna William's injury...
I wasn't happy to see it. I thought she was playing out of her mind. I took a time out in the first half, and when we came out of the time out and I really got on my kids. I could see that she was ready, and just changed her tune and I thought she was going to have a monster game. When she went down and we went into halftime I thought, Michigan State has to feel really good about themselves. Three of their key players were sitting on the bench the entire half and I didn't think (Riquna) Williams was coming back. I thought if (Stefanie) Yderstrom doesn't hit those shots, maybe our confidence is down. I thought Yderstrom answering the call was just huge. (Morgan) Stroman, Yderstrom, (Krystal) Saunders; they don't get talked about enough. They're special kids and they step up, and they really do come through. They are really reliable young people.

On Michigan State's Jasmine Hines...
She sure was tough. I kept trying to get a three second call. That was my best defense on her. I think the crowd understood. She gets really deep and I was impressed with her. I thought she had great composure. She was really efficient and she was really hurting us. Those freshmen out there were killing us, and the future is really bright here at Michigan State. I'm not surprised by it, but you should feel really good about this team

Miami Junior Morgan Stroman

On word from Katie Meier before this game...
She has been telling me lately that she needs energy from me. She just wants me to bring energy and that's what I do. I just go out there and have fun and get my team hyped, and when I'm hyped everybody else is hyped.

 

 

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