Extras from Merchant's press conference
MSU women’s basketball head coach Suzy Merchant held her weekly press conference Monday morning and spoke about the team’s 15-1 record.
They are coming off of their first conference road game at Michigan, winning 63-56 and increasing their winning streak to 13 games.
On beating Michigan:
“I thought we played well, we played hard,” she said. “Then you know, obviously, you know the Michigan rivalry is very intense and heated and it was fun to play in that environment. On the road in the Big Ten I think you have to get the job done in hostile situations and I thought our kids did a great job of that.”
On junior forward Lykendra Johnson’s 17 point and 17 rebound (10 offensive) performance:
“We did emphasize on offensive rebounding as a whole and I thought our team, and obviously she was a stand out, but I thought (senior guard Klarissa) Bell got in there, (senior forward Cetera Washington) got in there, (junior guard) Taylor (Alton) got offensive rebounds for us, (and) I thought (senior guard) Brittney (Thomas) was in there too.”
On the rigors of the Big Ten conference schedule:
“I don’t think traditionally we’ve been in a league that, maybe on the national scene, has gotten the recognition that maybe it deserves,” she said. “I think it shows the quality of teams in our league and that it’s a very competive conference and that it’s not very top heavy.”
On whether she believes the 15-1 record leaves the Spartans with a target on her back:
“I don’t think these kids think they’re above anybody,” she said. “They understand. They’re veteran leaders, they understand what it’s all about in terms of, you know, you have to bring it every night. I don’t anticipate having to manipulate their thought process.”
On sophomore forward Courtney Schiffauer not playing at Michigan:
“We look at the best matchups and I look at (defense) first and I just feel like she hasn’t played that well at the defensive end for us,” Merchant said. “I thought she was banging some screens against Wisconsin, I felt like she wasn’t handling dribble drives and this was team you could get out on. I know she has it in her but right now other people are playing better at the defensive end, you know Taylor (Alton) is playing better defensively, I think (Klarissa) Bell is playing better defensively for us and obviously, you know, some of the other kids and what they can do. So for me, if you want to get on the floor and you want to play extended minutes you better defend.”
MSU men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo on the women’s basketball team:
“A lot of people said to me over the years, you know, you got to carry the flag,” Izzo said. “I told Suzy, you know, she’s carrying the flag right now and I thought it was a big win for them at Michigan. Michigan had been playing pretty well, their women. I thought that was a big win for her and considering Williams is out, she’s done, I think, an incredible job. Maybe as good as anybody’s done around here. Although Dantonio’s is going to be hard to top.”*