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Michigan State 86, Michigan 71

Dec. 31, 2009

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Michigan State Women's Basketball
Michigan State vs. Michigan
Dec. 31, 2009

Michigan State Coach Suzy Merchant

On Kalisha Keane's play...
She was really spectacular. I think that's the best all-around game I've ever seen her play. I thought she was a leader out there who wanted the ball but it was also defensively she was covering ground, she was diving after loose balls, getting in passing lanes and making things happen. She had six assists we had 23 assists tonight and a lot of that had to do with making extra passes. Kalisha has a very high basketball IQ. The decision to put her in the starting lineup was a little bit more offensive oriented. She had been leading us in Big Ten play and playing really well. We wanted to keep our veterans out there as they understand the rivalry of Michigan and Michigan State and how important this game was to us. She really responded well.

On how Kalisha Keane makes the team better when she plays under control...
Probably where you saw her be the most dynamic offensively was at the four position. She's just a really tough matchup. She can shoot it. She can take people off the bounce and she can create shots for other people. I was a little disappointed in that one charge they called on her where I think the other girl fell before Kalisha even got there but she did a really nice job of playing under control, making extra passes, taking what came to her and making other players around her better. I think tonight was one of those nights where she really showed what she can do.

On if this was a must-win game for the team...
I think they're all must wins. Certainly we didn't want to start 0-2 but you definitely don't want to loose at home in the Big Ten and we had already done that once. Obviously every game is very important in the Big Ten race.

On Brittney Thomas...
I thought she was a little more aggressive offensively. That's why we sat her down in the second half at Wisconsin because our offense wasn't really working. She needs to be a little bit of a playmaker and be aggressive and I thought she was. She got herself to the foul line a few times by being aggressive. So we have talked to her about that many, many times and I think she carried it over tonight.

On her team's effort today...
That wasn't the same team that played on Monday night. It wasn't the same team that showed up in the last 5-10 minutes of the Indiana game. I felt like we had a better sense of urgency and I think that was the one thing that we needed. I think that Kalisha really stepped up as a leader. She was going to put her money where her mouth was. I felt she was ready to put this team on her back and step up to the plate and she did that today.

Michigan Head Coach Kevin Borseth

On the first half of the game...
We turned the ball over. We didn't care of that. That was a stat that I circled here on my sheet that was very glaring. We turned it over. We turned it over, they made shots in transition.

On how much turnovers were forced...
They didn't take it away from us, we just threw it right to them. Two times we threw the ball right into the corner. I learned in the third grade you don't throw the ball into the corner, and we did it twice in a row. I think that we caused those turnovers ourselves.

On the pace of the game...
Honestly, these are the statistics I circle. Pacing the game was fine; I don't think there was a problem. I think we could handle the pace of the game, but we turned the ball over 20 times. I thought that was for us, that was the game. I thought that was the real separator for us is we turned it over 20 times. They were 10 for 20 from the arc, that's pretty good shooting, that's pretty good. They had 17 offensive rebounds, that's a lot of offensive rebounds and we tried to keep them out of there, but we just couldn't. We just couldn't keep them out of there, we tried and we worked at it in practice and it was a point of emphasis and it was very difficult to do that, they had 24 second chance points. And it's the first time all year that they have shot more free throws then their opponent. At least their statistics show that anyways. Those are statistics to me that are glaring.

On MSU's defense...
They played zone, we figured they would play zone. They played man; we figured they would play man. So I figured they would do a little of both, they want to be a man team, but they played some zone against us, but they primarily want to be man, but against us they'll play zone until we break it. I thought we did a pretty good job against it for the most part, but boy their strong around that basket they really are. That big kid and of course they have other kids of good size that really move you around from down there. We tried to make some passes from kids that were two feet away rather than being a little patient in the middle. We have to be a little better in the middle of that lane with the ball.



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