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Michigan State 64, Detroit 41

Dec. 6, 2011

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Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant

On how it was getting off to a quick start to tonight's game and Lykendra Johnson's performance...
We had talked about that. They had talked about how they weren't really being personally accountable for how they played so it was nice to see her step up like that. I think she's a talented kid and when she puts her mind to something, she gets it done. That's kind of what senior leaders need to be able to do, to make sure that we get off on the right foot especially after that slow start last game and kind of lack luster energy and whatnot. I thought we had much better energy for sure.

On if Saturday's game gave the team momentum for tonight...
I mean it gave us motivation maybe because we played so bad and so unenthused. I think maybe from that perspective, definitely. I think we were a team that came up really flat after an emotional game at home with a one-day turn around. We thought we could show up and get the job done. We just really were not accountable. We missed so many layups in the paint in that game. Our kids, I thought definitely responded a little bit. They're tired though. We are one of a few teams that have already played 10 games. We're a couple games ahead of people and it's catching up to you. It's hard. It really is hard. We have a much needed day off tomorrow, not that that's ever an excuse but with an inexperienced, young team, they don't always understand the level of focus and commitment you have to have to get this done.

On starting Kiana Johnson and Jasmine Thomas...
I was going back and forth between which one to decide to play and they put me in a position where I feel like I have to have them on the floor at the same time. Jasmine Thomas can go back and forth between a two and a one. She can be either one of those positions probably a little more naturally than Kiana (Johnson). Jasmine just ignited us and I thought Kiana did in the second half. We just decided to go with it. Detroit is really athletic and really good at having a combination guard that can shoot three's and get to the rim. We felt like defensively, that makes us look better as well. It was kind of a good opportunity for us and Porsche (Poole) was kind of not playing very well and in my opinion, not playing with the toughness and enthusiasm that you should see out of a senior. We just kind of sat her down there.

On after 10 games, where is the team defensively...
I don't think we are really where we need to be right now. I think my frustration is a little bit offensively. I just feel like we are really choppy offensively and not in a really good flow. I mean really, the last possession of the game, with 26 seconds, that last final possession besides the dribble out, was the best we moved the ball the entire game. I just feel like we don't really flow very well and we are trying to play different combinations certainly and use our bench, but I guess it was a defensive question. For the first time I'll answer you I just think offensively, right now, we have a lot of work to do and getting us to where we can flow a little bit better.

On the changes in the lineup having Porsche Poole play less minutes...
We kept talking about how you are personally accountable for how you play. How your energy is, what your focus is, what kind of competitor you are going to be that day. You are personally accountable first and foremost to competing and having that consistency. That has been Porsche's issue her whole career. She can really get it going and then there are other days when she's not that good. Her challenge as a senior is to be more consistent. Consistent as a competitor, energy level, focus and a little more engaged with what's going on out there on both sides of the floor.

On having Lykendra Johnson stay out of foul trouble and having her stay out on the floor...
She certainly was pretty disappointed in herself in the last game. She felt like that was one of her worst defensive performances and she got back to the way she should have been playing which was getting around kids, not letting them get in. We do different thing s in the post based on who we are playing. It was kind of Lykendra of old to me. That's what I kind of saw out there a little bit, where she was fronting and getting inside and getting tips and steals. Not very often did she get caught behind somebody. That was good to see and she felt a lot better about her performance. I talked to her a little bit on the bench and she said `I feel like I was my old self again out there' which is good. It's certainly good for our team when she is performing at a high level.



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