Dec. 19, 2009
Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant
On how the team responded after coming off finals week...
I don't think offensively we were in that good of a flow. I don't mean to compare that to the percentage that we shot against Florida Gulf Coast, I'm just talking about the flow of the game. I thought our defense tonight was as good as it has been in a long time until the last seven or eight minutes when we started fouling, got out of position and didn't tighten things up, allowing them to hit a couple threes. I thought the first half defensively was the best half we've played in regards to our rebounds. I felt good about our performance tonight because it was hard to get into a flow because of all the fouls being called, and I think Washington would say the same thing. There were almost 50 fouls called between the teams and it made it hard to make runs and get the numbers up. It wasn't as exciting as the last game we played with the up and down nature of it, but I think you have to be able to play through that. You've got to be able to play when there's a lot being called and you've got to be able to play when there isn't a lot being called. As a team, you have to handle situations like that. So I was proud of our team especially on the defensive end.
On what Jasmine Thomas and Porsche Poole brought to the team tonight...
The two of them together, when you really watch film on them, do a really nice job of playing off each other. They're both playmaking kids who can score. You have one at the point and one at the off guard and that gives you the ability to make that third guard anything. You can make it a defensive stopper, just a shooter, a combo guard or a post up guard because they give you more options, because they're so aggressive going north and south and creating fast break plays for us and opportunities for our post players.
On what happened on Lauren Aitch's technical foul...
They were both going after the ball and then things got heated and they just exchanged some words and Lauren got T'd up, and probably rightfully so. I don't really get too involved with what was said. I just got Lauren out of there to calm her down. I think Tia Jackson took her player out after the free throws to calm her down too. But, I think Lauren played great today, she was very aggressive and competitive so that one didn't bother me very much because she had an aggression and competitiveness about her that I liked. Sometimes that stuff happens in the heat of the moment and sometimes you just have to remove a kid for a minute or two and then get them back in there, and I think that she did a nice job when she came back.
On Washington's physicality...
They're pretty physical, especially Regina Rogers. They do a good job with her, especially when they play zone she hits cutters who come through the lane pretty hard, and also in her low post defense, she uses her strength well. I really think that Washington does a good job with her putting her in a position to be successful defensively and offensively. She's hard to guard but I think that one thing we have in our post play is that we don't have to leave other people to double her because we have the size to bother her shot a little bit. I think near the end we got double buried a little bit. I call it double buried when we get too deep in the lane and I thought she got us, but that's a credit to her trying to get deeper in that lane. We got to her shot in the first half and I thought she did a better job in the second half.