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Pregame Quotes
Courtesy: Maryland Athletics
Release: 03/24/2013

March 24, 2013

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -

Brenda Frese, Maryland Head Coach:

Opening Statement:

"I'm excited to be able to advance to the second round. For me personally, [I play] a very familiar opponent who I have the upmost respect for in Suzy Merchant. We go all the way back to our MAC days when she was the head coach at Eastern Michigan and I was at Ball State. We know each other's style of play very well and have been very good friends since that time. When you look at both teams they are mirror images of each other. Both teams have a ton of injuries and a lot of adversity. Playing six or seven players consistently through the season and both teams are having tremendous seasons, amazing matchup. Michigan State has had a phenomenal year, 25-8 and made it to the Big Ten Championship game. They are very talented and physical. They are going to guard you. They want to slow the game down to a rugged half court style of play. I believe the best team that comes out and plays for forty minutes will be the one that advances."

On the potential Big Ten rivalry with Michigan State:

"It is exciting to see the vision going ahead that a year from now we will be joining the Big Ten Conference. They will be a familiar opponent and rival in the upcoming years."

On both teams' injuries:

"Both teams they are tremendous stories. I think it says a lot about the student athletes in each university to not use the injuries as an excuse. I think the teams are mirror images of each other in terms of the guards playing heavy minutes and only have one or two bigs coming in. I think the NCAA matched up two teams that are mirror images and it should be a tremendous matchup and terrific game."

On preparing for Michigan State:

"On your scout when you don't have to know as many players it does make it easier. I think Michigan State can say the same. I think it comes down to executing your game plan. The sets that they run verses the sets that we run you still have to be able to execute and be able to defend the plays that you are going to see."

On Annalise Pickrel:

"I thought [Annalise] Pickrel was fantastic. I thought she was the X factor in their game coming off the bench. She put up a lot of points quickly for them. I thought she made a big difference in yesterday's game."

On the move to the Big Ten:

"We are excited because it is great competition, which is what you want to be involved in when you are a student athlete or a coach. We have been able to do that in the ACC, we will continue to do that. When we move to the Big Ten, you see the success they have had in the NCAA Tournament; it's another very competitive league. That's what it is all about; it prepares you for the NCAA Tournament to play against the best competition."

Senior Forward Tianna Hawkins

On if the expectations this year are the same as they were last year:

"I kind of feel like the expectations are the same. Even last year, not many people were talking about Maryland, and it's the same this year. We still have a lot to prove out on the court, we're going to take it one game at a time. We're just going to show what we're about each and every night."

On what challenges Michigan State presents:  

"One thing we do know is that Michigan State is a very physical team. We have to match their physicality, stick to Maryland basketball, and do what we do best." 

Junior Forward Alyssa Thomas

On how freshmen Chloe Pavlech and Malina Howard handled themselves in their first tournament game:

"We expected them to be nervous with it being the first NCAA game for them. I think they handled themselves very well, and we expect them to continue on."

On how to approach at team like Michigan State that slows the ball down:

"We just have to continue to do what we do. We really have to try to push the tempo and just get out and run. We just have to be Maryland."

Freshman Guard Chloe Pavlech

On her comfort level after playing her first NCAA Tournament game:

"It's actually really exciting. With yesterday's game we obviously hadn't played in two weeks, so there was definitely a little bit of rust. But, I definitely got out all the nerves and now it's time to have fun and celebrate."

On the message Kristi Toliver left her:

"Yesterday Kristi Toliver left a DVD and note in my locker. It was from Maryland's game in the final four in 2006 when they played North Carolina. She was just showing me how she had 12 turnovers, but the next game when they played Duke she was able to hit the biggest shot of her life. She was just saying to me that freshman point guards can do special things so make your own history." 


Suzy Merchant, Michigan State Head Coach:

Opening Statement:

"We're excited to survive and advance and we felt good about beating a good team like Marist. Certainly we know what type of program Maryland is and the talent they have on the court, and we're looking forward to the challenge ahead."

On the teams having similar injury situations:

"We've both had some pretty key injuries. We had to ACL's and an Achilles tear and I think all three of theirs were ACL's. It seems it's an epidemic around women's basketball, but I think both team's kids that are playing just don't make any excuses and they will go out there and fight and be the best they can be. They have every intent to go out there and win the game, regardless of the situation. I think the credit for where both of our teams are the players that go out there and put on the uniform and fight through the aches and pains. There's not time for injuries. There are a lot of similarities that way, but I think our programs are where they are because we have kids who fight every day."

On dealing with their injury situation

"We might battle Maryland for most walkthroughs. We're like the NBA. Get in, get a few shots up, walk through some things and that's about it. We really just gauge what they can do. At the end of the day, it's all about game night. You have to put the most physically and mentally fresh team out there. We have very high I.Q kids in terms of basketball. They were able to take a film set and just do it in a walkthrough and be able to simulate it live on game day. We've pulled back. We started to pull back in November. We just found what worked for us."

On Maryland joining the Big Ten:

"It was conference appreciation weekend here with Quinnipiac joining Marist's league and Maryland coming into our league. It's interesting. It's still hard to wrap your head around Maryland and Rutgers in the Big 10, but they've got great women's programs and it adds a unique twist to the Big 10. We're looking forward to it. The nice thing is we've played here twice so when we play here we'll be like the old veterans here in terms of the Big 10."

On Maryland's offense:

"We feel like our nonconference and conference have prepared us for that. For example, for Penn State and Purdue, you have to really have the power and the strength to get at their power and their strength. I think we've been battle tested in that regard. Maryland has a great transition offense and their ability to get rebounds in completely different than Marist. Most of our conference is more like Maryland than Marist."

Senior Guard Jasmine Thomas

On her durability playing a lot of minutes:

"To be honest, there's not really much I do. It's just being mentally prepared to go in the game and contribute all 40 minutes if I have to. It's just a mindset."

On getting the team prepared to play as a captain:

"I just think aside from being captains and seniors, [we know] the urgency it takes and determination to go out there and play each and every game. Just to get everybody on the same page is what we're here to do. I feel like everybody is on the same page we just have to have contributions from everybody."

Senior Forward Courtney Schiffauer

On the challenge of facing Maryland's front court:

"Well Alyssa Thomas is a very good player. We saw film on them today, so we have to be able to just match their physicality. We know that they have a good transition game, so we have to be ready for that. I think our guards play good defense, so I think it'll be a good match up for Monday." 



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