MSU Spartans
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Women's Basketball
Indiana 62, Michigan State 48



Dec. 29, 2008

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Michigan State Head Coach Suzy Merchant

On the team struggles offensively in the first half...
We struggle playing together. We definitely are looking for the right combination and at times, it is kind of a one-man show and it is a different one person every time. When we do make the extra pass, we have good looks and we have to knock them down. Clearly, we can't shoot 30% and 10% from beyond the arc in your own gym and think you are going to beat anybody.

It was a disappointing first half, obviously. In the second half we held them to 21 points, we change the rebounding but we were already in the hole 18 points and you have to make shots and we didn't do that tonight.

On the MSU turnovers...
Some of that goes back to them jumping the lanes because Brittney (Thomas) is playing the point and she is more of a passing guard. So, it makes it easy when you have someone that isn't going to look for their shot. That is one thing that makes Indiana's attack a little different, they have Jamie Braun at the point who is a scoring guard. So, I think that does change. Brittney's emphasis is defense and she is very good at it and very talented at it but it allows people to get out in passing lanes a little bit more. She had seven turnovers tonight and that is going to hurt you. It has hurt us all year.

On the difference in the game being Indiana having four seniors to MSU's one...
I don't think it should be that simple. I really don't. I think if you are a player - you're a player. You have to want the challenge. You have to want it at home. We had a great crowd and that is disappointing. I don't know if it's a difference or not, but I do know that we need our upperclassmen to step up. They have played enough minutes to step up and get it done. Right now they aren't and when the other team's upperclassmen step up, it makes it hard.

On having eight days off after their last game...
I saw it as a red flag because they are a very physical team that have five starters that are very, very good players. They all can create off the dribble, draw help and kick the ball out, make extra passes and shoot threes and get the ball inside. I just think they have an incredible offensive attack that makes them challenging to defend.

On the difference between the Spartans' defense in the first and second half...
I think it was energy and intensity. We made one adjustment in the second half by doubling their post player. The biggest thing to me was that we didn't get those plays when we needed.

Indiana head coach Felisha Legette-Jack

Opening statement...
I can't begin to tell you how special this place is to me. I think of this place as my second home because Michigan State has been so good to me and my family. I love coming back here and for me to reach my 100th victory at this place, I think God had a little bit to do with that. I think the Spartans are a great team and they are going to be a major player in the Big Ten, but I think our kids just came ready to play tonight. Our team really stays together and plays as a unit and really stays together and plays for each other; but tonight I think they also really played for me.

On their game plan coming into the game...
My coaches watch the opponents and I will watch a little bit of film, but I think it's more important to put the attention on your team. We don't change what we do. We will run the same plays on offense, pressure you 94 feet on defense and just play our game. If we are going to play a team that can handle that, then we will have to surrender, but we do not adjust our team for anyone. We know MSU has great post players in (Allyssa) DeHaan and (Aisha) Jefferson, and I love Lauren Aitch, so if I think about them, than I certainty have some fear, but I don't think about them. My coaches know what they are going to do, and they thought their point guard was going to be vulnerable going to the right, so we kept trying to push her right to see if that could off set their offense a little bit. I think that was really the only adjustment we really played to in regards to Michigan State.

On their overall team defense...
I think you guys are familiar with that defense, it's the match up that Coach (Joanne P. McCallie) has run. We just say whoever is in their position they are going to guard, whether it is a guard or a post player. We know that not too many women are shooting the three-ball that deep, so we try to tuck it in as high at the three point line and see if anyone can extend us out past that. If they could do that, then we would have to change our defense a little bit, but they didn't hit a lot of three's, so we didn't have to do that. We stayed in the match-up defense and decided to box out as a team.

On their motivation coming into the game...
I was watching them in shoot around while I was trying to talk to all the great friends I have here. I looked at them and it looked like they were ready to practice. They had a look in their eye and I knew that they were going to come out of the gates strong. I didn't know how strong the Spartans were going to come out, but I knew we were ready. It's great when you have seniors on your team as well. I used to think that was overrated, but I get it now. We have great seniors and win lose or draw, I don't want this season to end because this is a great group of young women to be around.




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