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Post-Game Quotes

Dec. 16, 2007

Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant

Opening comments...
I thought the difference obviously in the second half was our ability to rebound the ball. I thought [Oklahoma] did a really did a great job on the offensive glass the entire game, but particularly the second half; I thought their energy level was high. We talked to our kids about the first five minutes of the second half - that we saw them play live in Cancun, and saw the kind of energy and enthusiasm and pursuit of the ball that they have - so we talked about trying to match that. We didn't when we turned it over out the gates at little early. I thought we got rattled when they changed defenses to that two-three zone. We had to make some adjustments there.

You have to give them credit. They were down; they came back. They did a nice job on the offensive glass, and I thought was the difference in the game.

On the MSU turnovers...
We talked about making sure we didn't turn the ball over for layups. And in the second half, that was basically how we started the second half. They had a two minute layup drill, almost. We have to be able to handle the ball and handle the pressure. You can't just pick it up, and throw it just to get rid of it. You actually have to have a little presence; everybody has to do their job. They have to step a little harder and work a little harder to get open. I thought we got rattled by their pressure and that ended up in turnovers at the other end.

On Courtney Davidson and Kalisha Keane...
Courtney did a nice job. She brings a lot of energy. She loves games like this, and just game night. She loves to play the game so she brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm, especially on the offensive end. I think one of the big things, we had nice outside shooting from Alisa and from Courtney, and then inside we needed Allyssa [DeHaan] and Kal [Kalisha Keane] to have really big nights. It thought Kal was kind of the x-factor, a little bit. She's a tough matchup some times as a four, especially when they play pretty power post, with the twins there. So we felt like we could maybe spread them out a little bit, making them play. And then run it in transition. But it just wasn't Kal's night offensively. I think had it been her night, like she played at Indiana State, I think it would have been a different story.



On Allyssa DeHaan...
I thought Allyssa got really passive defensively because of her foul trouble. And we worked really hard on not getting buried deep in the lane. In the first half we did a good job of releasing, and I think only twice in the first half did the Paris girls [Ashley and Courtney] get really deep in that lane and bury us. In the second half, she wouldn't release and wasn't really working in there. She would just stand behind and they would bury her pretty deep. She didn't want to really attack the ball when the shot went up because of her foul trouble, and she wanted to stay out there for her team. So, it caused her to play a little passive defensively.

The biggest thing is that we didn't rebound it; that's what it came down to in the second half. I really felt like we needed to rebound; even with our turnovers, we build that lead again. But we just did not rebound the basketball and get stops when we needed to.

Oklahoma Coach Sherri Coale

Opening Statement...
We feel very fortunate to get out of here with a win. Obviously, it's not a news flash to anyone that we played very poorly, and passively. We had no rhythm, no pop really on either end of the floor. The first five minutes of the second half completely changed the complexion of the game. I thought we played with great energy in the second half; we had a little more fun. We moved the ball better, and knocked out some shots finally. You know, you're sitting there at half time and you're going, "We know we're down by 11 but we've shot zero percent from the free-throw line, 20 percent from the field, and 13 percent from the three. So surely if we make some shots this thing can look better." So we let our defense generate our offense in the second half, and sort of got the lid off the basket. Then we were able to make a few shots, which always changes the complexion.

On differences from the first half to the second half...
Well we've seen often what I think got us out of rhythm; we have a young point guard/true freshman playing point. We really gave her the responsibility for reading the defense. Michigan State changed and went out of their match-up into their man, and we didn't recognize. We tried to run a zone-entry against a man, and a man entry against a zone. Suddenly everything just went to a screeching halt. We lost our confidence a little bit. So much confidence bubbles out of that point guard. And she looked a little hesitant, as to she didn't know what was going on. And so it simplified things in the second half and gave our guys a certain thing to do, regardless of what defense they were in. They didn't have to worry about any changes. There was a certain way we were going to play and a couple of options when we wanted to do that. That affected things obviously, and really it was our whole movement. But getting in a set that gave us some confidence enabled us to move the ball, which got us to get DeHaan away from the rim a little bit. That was huge, because she affected everything. Not only post shots, but guards penetrating, rebounders getting second shots. And so we pulled Courtney (Paris) up to the high post to get her away from the basket.

On the steals and defensive players of the game...
We felt like that could be a strength coming into this game. Danielle (Robinson) can guard just about anybody in America. She's so quick and deceptively long. Even though she's not a big kid, she's got long arms. Jenna always flies around all over the place and always plays at full-tune. Amanda Thompson has great instincts; her steals were maybe the ones that put us over the edge. We're kind of accustomed to getting that from those two little guards up top, but AT (Thompson) was making decisions on the backside and in the zone. Whether it be knocking a rebound off someone's hand, or just getting a deflection in the middle of defensive possession changed the flavor of the game and gave us some juice, and we needed juice.

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