Michigan State 71, Delaware State 41
Head Coach Suzy Merchant Post Game Press Conference Quotes
Dec. 18, 2008
On improvements in the team since the previous game...
I thought that we played better together tonight on both ends of the floor. In some of our losses it was kind of a one or two-man show. I thought that everybody did a nice job defensively and we had a lot more urgency. Their best player only had two shots tonight. I think that we had a little more sharpness to us at that end. Offensively we made pretty good decisions. We still turned it over as they ran at us a little bit and they did a few more things to cause us to get out of the flow. For the most part, I was pleased with the extra passes we made. We all took good shots. There weren't too many people that I felt tried to go above and beyond, but I give a lot of the credit, early on, to Kalisha Keane. Kal really rebounded tonight and it really sparked us. She was hustling all over the floor and was rebounding and keeping the ball alive. I give her a lot of credit for coming out of the gates really strong and giving us that extra energy.
On shutting down the Delaware State perimeter ...
They are a very perimeter-oriented team. They are very good off the dribble so playing zone was the right way to play them. I felt like we did a really good job. I mentioned the word urgency and I felt that we had a lot more urgency and awareness of what was going on and not letting them finish plays.
On what the win will do for the team ...
I feel really good about it. That is why you play the games and we did lose in the away stretch but, in two of those four games, I felt like we were really battling and playing hard. The other two, I felt like we had a hand in helping us beat ourselves. I think that in two of the games, it could have gone either way but I felt the ball bounced better for us sometimes. Those were good tests for us. It's a new season. Obviously, everybody is undefeated in the Big Ten as we head into these first round games before Christmas. We will have our hands full at Penn State. They have a good transition game, incredible guard play, they can really score the basketball, and they play a lot of zone as well so we are going to have to be able to handle that.
I certainly feel like this is how we have been playing. We have been playing with more confidence and I think that was part of it. I think every team has lulls in the season. It doesn't matter if you are a men's team or a women's team. You play well sometimes and sometimes you don't, but you just have to get your confidence back. I felt like we did a nice job tonight. I thought we were really playing team basketball at both ends of the floor and I think it starts there. We really had each other's backs at both ends and I think that you can build on that. I think there has to be a lot of confidence in that for our team.
On what kind of team she will be taking into Big Ten play...
I feel like we should be confident. We have gone on the road and played in tough places. Maybe we didn't get the wins but, I certainly feel that Xavier and Notre Dame are very good teams and Georgia Tech is now in the top 25. St. Bonaventure is one that I'd like to take back and I think that it is one that all of the kids would like to take back. Sometimes you learn some lessons there. I don't know what kind of team we are going to take but I know we are going to take a lot of fight and a lot of heart. I think that they came to the conclusion that, at the defensive end, that it can start there. I thought that we proved that tonight and maybe that will translate into some offense. This is a very good Delaware State defensive team. They are holding their opponents to around 55 points per game. They do a really good job of getting into the passing lanes and defending players off of the dribble. I was proud of the way we handled that.