NCAA Tournament First Round Practice Day Update

March 19, 2011

On Saturday, Michigan State women's basketball continued preparations for the 2011 NCAA Tournament, participating in interviews and practice at INSIGHT Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan. The Spartans, the No. 4 seed, will face No. 13-seed Northern Iowa tomorrow at about 7:50 p.m. ET in the first round.

Michigan State Practice Day Press Conference Podcast

Suzy Merchant Press Conference Quotes

On matchup up against Northern Iowa's offense...
I think that we are prepared and that's the one thing that is interesting about the Big Ten that has changed over the course nationally and people don't really understand as much is that over the last five to seven years the game has been adapted in terms of we've got a lot of different styles.

On the team's rebounding ability...
We are a different kind of rebounding team now and I think Lykendra (Johnson) is the front runner that gets us going in that department, I think she is a combination of speed and quickness and athleticism verses maybe power and strength. And I think she uses that to her advantage on the defensive side of the ball but at the same time I think in the rebounding.

On facing mid-major programs...
I don't think this is a team that takes anybody lightly, I don't care what conference they play in. I think we have had some success this year because of that. They don't get ahead of themselves and certainly Northern Iowa fits that bill and I think the other teams on the other side do too. But I don't think there is any, from our perspective, there's no extra pressure on us because we are a BCS conference.

On issues with NCAA seeding for mid-major programs...
I think that's a tough thing with the seeding, that's what makes it really challenging when people come from different conferences and how they stack up on a national level. I think that is a really challenging thing to figure out, what seed is the right seed, sometimes the only way to figure it out is to go out and play the games.



On facing a region of all mid-major programs...
I think it doesn't matter what league you come from, if you play good basketball, you play good basketball. Some of the things that are advantageous and I get it because I came from a mid-major school and I never had a power post guy either. I think some of our success this year has come quicker than normal because I got this team a lot sooner than normal. I am used to guarding and defending in disadvantage height situations.

I think I have a good sense of what a Northern Iowa, Arkansas Little-Rock, and a Green Bay thinks likes, and I think I can translate that a little bit onto our team.

On the play of Brittney Thomas...
I think Brittney's impact for me has always been on the defensive side of the ball, and I think two things, that and that she is a natural born communicator and a leader. Even if she says the wrong thing, she is going to say something. And quite honestly that's not a bad thing. There are a lot of kids that aren't vocal leaders and you need that out of a point guard.

Brittney is a very confident young lady and I think that there is no question that is what helped her start as a freshman and for four straight years. Where I have seen her grow a lot is to be more accountable to the offensive side of the ball. She does a better job looking for her shot, penetrating gaps, posting up, whatever it is that the teams needs and she has never lost her commitment to the defensive side.

Opponents Press Conference Quotes:
Northern Iowa
Green Bay
Arkansas-Little Rock