March 22, 2013
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Michigan State women's basketball returned to the Comcast Center on Friday, taking part in the scheduled press conference and practice in preparation of tomorrow's NCAA Tournament First Round game vs. Marist. The Spartans (24-8) and Red Foxes (26-6) are set to tip at about 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.
Michigan State Press Conference Transcript
Suzy Merchant, Michigan State Head Coach
We're excited to be back here again, this is two years in a row for us. We really appreciate the hospitality and the way Maryland does things, it's a first class organization here at the University of Maryland. We'll be seeing lots of each other in the future when they enter into the Big Ten. But we're really excited to be back, and look forward to the challenges ahead.
On the matchup with Marist and Marist head coach Brian Giorgis...
Well [Brian Giorgis] is a pretty smart coach, so he's dead on, he said it best. I think he does a great job defensively, there's no doubt about that. They make you work for everything you get. On the other side of the ball I think they have a tremendously balanced attack. I think the one thing that makes them dangerous is that all five people on the floor can shoot it from the arc as well as put it on the floor. There's not a lot of weakness [with Marist], and the balance is there. I think that's certainly the same thing we've had our M.O. on a little bit. We like to pride ourselves defensively night in and night out, and I don't think we have one superstar, but we have a lot of kids who play really hard and well together. From that perspective, he's very correct.
On what you do to stop Marist's motion on offense...
We've been racking our brains trying to figure it out. I think that's why [Coach Giorgis] is so successful, it's challenging to guard. I think where their mismatches are at the post positions they certainly do a good job trying to attack your bigs on the perimeter. Forty percent of their offense comes from the arc, so you have to guard it there. As soon as you do that and start spreading your defense, they can drive it and cut on you. They read screens extremely well, their patience through the shot clock. For us, I'm not going to give you a lot of what we're going to do, but I'm fully aware of what we have to do to try to be successful. I'm not sure if it's going to be 100%, but I also like our team's ability to potentially match up at times with them. We can go a little bit smaller, we've done that in the past, we can play really big too depending on the match up. We don't have a lot of people on our roster obviously with injuries and adversity, but the ones that we do have are very interchangeable, much like Marist can do.
On playing a team with a lot of potential like Marist...
I'm from the theory I guess that at the end of the day all you can do is coach your team the best way to put them in positions to be successful. These guys have done a great job overcoming a lot adversity this year competing. The number one thing I want to see is our team competing. What happens happens, but we're fully aware of Brian's success out there watching them beat Georgia a four seed last year. In the women's game, seeding is interesting just because of the home sites. You don't know procedurally where you're at, at the end of the day you just have to go out there and play the best you can play and focus on some of the things that you got you here. For us to focus on and worry on something that is out of our control, all we can do is to play the game that's in front of us right now. I know they'll have a great game plan, and they'll do what they do well and we'll see what happens. I haven't really focused a lot on what they have done in the past. Our team is definitely aware of it though, I've seen their past success getting to a sweet 16. Sometimes I think the seeds at the home sites make things interesting in the women's game maybe a little bit different than the men's side.
Courtney Schiffauer, Michigan State Senior
We are well aware of what they have been able to accomplish in the past. As coach said, they are a team that works well together. We know what they have done. So far we have done our best to look at film and have a game plan set up so we can overcome their ability to work together with back cuts and things like that. They are a great team and they always do well in the first couple rounds of the tournament. We know what they are capable of.
Jasmine Thomas, Michigan State Senior
On redemption from last year's loss here...
You always want to go into the tournament trying to get past the first round, second round as it continues. Getting back here it is a new beginning. It is on our list to try and proceed as the games continue.