Dec. 21, 2008
Q: Suzie, talk about the second-half defensive changes you guys made, especially after the 10-, 12-minute mark there.
A: Well, in the second half, we really worked on transition defense in the past few days. I didn't feel like we clearly executed that in the first half. At halftime, I told the kids we have to make a change. We have to get back defensively. I thought hat made a difference. I thought Brianne O'Rourke worked really well in the backcourt. It made a difference in her ability to make more shots for herself and other people. Although I thought she had a good game, I felt she had to work for every one of her plays. We worked pretty hard on Grant. She's just a great player. She finds a way to score, and she's a very talented kid.
Q: After she got so many open breaks. Could you talk about switching Kendra on to her and the job Kendra did down the stretch?
A: Obviously in our starting lineup, we started Kalisha on her. I thought, before the game, the two of them with be the best match-ups against her because of their length and power. And she's a post-up guard. She's a three-point shooting guard. She can take you off the guard. She can hit pull-up shots. She can score anyway you need her to score so we felt like those were the two best players we had in terms of match-ups. So when Kal came out and Kendra came in, her job was to stay on Grant. She just found ways to score. That one falling down. She's just a really talented player. Their guards are just aggressively attacking guards and hard to defend.
Q: Talk a little bit about the success you had offensively. With DeHaan on the high post, you were able to get a lot of open shots.
A: We went to a little different look offensively in the second half. We were getting spread out by our own doing. We were trying to play it inside out a little bit. We felt like, if we put both people on the block, then they would we get tips and steals on the low-post in their zone. So we tried to open it up a little bit, and we had some success with that in the second half that got us some easy buckets. We got out of it for a little bit anyways, and then they went back to it when they were trapping on the wing there late in the second half. I thought a couple things we did maybe bothered them a little more than in the first half.
Q: Being 6-9, because Alyssa can see over so many people, does that give you an advantage on those types of plays?
A: Well, she's a great shooter. She can get out of the post, too, so now she's a bigger target than someone just pounding into the back. In the first half, they did a good job getting physical with her. Then she was able to cut from that spot, which was a little different and gave her an opportunity to get the ball at the perimeter and see things from inside out.
Q: You didn't have a turnover in the last five minutes but had 21 before that. At times, you were a little streaky. Could you tell us what was going on there? What adjustments did the girls make down the stretch?
A: Well, we talked about that. Like in our first 18 possessions, we had eight turnovers. It's ridiculous. If you want to stop them on the defensive transition, don't give it back to them. It's kind of hard to defend a lay-up and turn that thing over. I thought there was a stretch, too, when kids get tired. I think Aisha is one of them. She gets tired. Britney only had one real bad one, I thought. I just think that our guard play has to get better. Kal has to get better at taking care of the basketball. You are always going to be in the hole when you give it back to people. You can't do that. When we take care of it and get good shot attempts, the game changes in our favor.
Q: What does it say about your club that they were able to make a comeback and get back into the game?
A: Well, we were eight down about halfway through the second half. I give a lot of credit to Lauren Aitch in this game. She rolled her ankle Friday in practice, and we weren't even sure she was going to be able to play. I mean, that's how bad it was, and she did not practice. But she played that thing out and made some big plays. I felt like, because of her toughness, she was able to come in and give us some really good minutes.
Q: What about Allyssa down the stretch? It seemed like she was lights-out with several minutes in the game. It seemed like she was playing a little passively during the beginning of the game and became more aggressive.
A: I really got on her at halftime. I felt like she was taking some bad shots. They weren't aggressive. I don't mind missed shots, but turn around and think that the shot you take has a chance of going in. I just think she was throwing the ball towards the rim. We had a little discussion at halftime, and she's just better than what she showed in the first half. She did a great job responding in the second.
Q: What's it like getting a win on the road to start off the Big Ten season.
A: It's always big to win on the road. Certainly here at Penn State. Michigan State hasn't had much luck here - not many do. When you're down with their crowd and their fans and their ability to put the ball in the basketball from the perimeter. So I was pretty proud of our kids for fighting and making plays when they had to.