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Michigan State 60, Eastern Michigan 59 OT

Dec. 3, 2011

Recap |  Box Score

Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant

On Jasmine Thomas' 3-pointer at the end of the game...
It was supposed to be a flare screen for Taylor (Alton) to get the three, but they defended it well and Jasmine (Thomas) made a great play. She played a really good game offensively and defensively for us tonight.

On closing the game out strong despite a rough start...
You always want to see positives and you don't see too many right now with how poorly we played in the first half. Missing open layups, our energy was terrible and we didn't defend at all. Offensively we were soft, and we were definitely lucky to get away with the win. We shoot 22 percent from the floor, 10 percent from the arc and 50 percent from the free-throw line in 20 minutes of play and it's usually a recipe for disaster. Credit our kids for getting after it in the second half and coming to life but it was a disappointing performance for sure. We tried to mentally explain the situation in terms of what was at stake. We had a one day turnaround from an emotional game against a top-10 team and a one-day prep. These are super bowl games for mid-major teams and we have another one coming in on Tuesday, so it's not going to get any easier.

On trying to beat the slow starts...
I just don't think we are doing a very good job of scoring the basketball early. And that opens the door for being confident against you. I don't know how else to get anyone a shot besides a wide open layups. We aren't finishing right now and we need to do a much better job there's no question about that.

On the reason Jasmine Thomas was not in the starting lineup...
I've been going back and forth between Kiana (Johnson) and Jasmine (Thomas) to see which kid is going to lead us, and maybe the answer to that is putting them both on the floor at the same time. We are getting a lot out of them, certainly in the second half for Kiana. Jasmine was good in the first half, but we just need consistency. I don't know how we can be consistent offensively one night and so drastically different the next. We are just trying to figure it our right now and we need people to step up.



On what changed the final minutes in regulation...
I thought we defended and got some key stops with rebounds. We spread them out a bit on offense and went north and south at the rim which helped a little bit. And we finished when we did get to the rim which was the most important part.

On Eastern Michigan seeming to wear down at the end...
Those kids are in really good shape so I guess I didn't sense that. It wasn't really an up and down game. We didn't get it up and down like we normally do and we couldn't get many stops. It's hard to run transition when you can't get stops defensively. We have to do a better job there, but I don't feel like they wore down at all. Those kids are in good shape, but I think for us we have to stay a little fresher. I felt like we were playing against ourselves and them out there which was really frustrating.

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