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March 1, 2018

Suzy Merchant

Indianapolis, Indiana

Indiana - 111, Michigan State - 109 (4 OT)

Q. What's the mood in this locker room like now?
COACH MERCHANT: Disappointing. Could have gone either way, and we had our chances, and they had their chances. We came up short. Like we had some tough calls against us, but you have to play through some of that stuff.

Q. Before this game, you didn't even know if Shay was going to play. What can you say about her performance and the way that she led you, especially in the overtimes?
COACH MERCHANT: Yeah, I mean, I was worried when we lost her there because she just does so much for us, like defensively and playing downhill, but she gutted it out. She told me if she could play, she would, and she'd let me know if she couldn't.

So I thought that was pretty impressive that she was able to come out there and do what she could for her team for sure.

Q. And then Taya Reimer, as well. She kind of came on late in the season and then led you guys today, as well. What did you think of her performance?
COACH MERCHANT: Yeah, I thought she was much better, like when she settled in. The first quarter she wasn't that good, and then just kind of settled in a bit, got her feet under her. But she played really well today. I mean, she did a nice job finishing in there. Defensively, too, hedging screens, I thought she did a nice job, and defensive rebounding.

Q. It's the end of the road for the Big Ten Tournament, but there still could be some more games you guys could play and possibly the NIT. What's the mindset of this game moving forward?
COACH MERCHANT: Honestly, I don't really know about that right now. I just want to talk about this game and talk about the other stuff later.

Q. This is the longest game in Michigan State history. Can you talk about the emotions physically and mentally to play a game like this?
COACH MERCHANT: Yeah, I mean, it was crazy. There was a couple there, I thought the end of regulation where that was -- I feel like everything went against this team. I thought there was a charge at the end. They didn't call that. I thought they gave away Shay's basket. That was -- it just felt like every time we turned around, it was like 5 on 8. It just is what it is, and that's why I think we have to keep fighting, and I thought our kids did a good job, and it could have gone either way.

And you have to give them a lot of credit. I thought their seniors, Cahill and Buss, have literally put their team on the back as seniors and showed up night in and night out, especially down the stretch. They've just been a force, the two of them, and they've done a really good job making plays, especially making shots.

Q. How did the refs explain to you the Shay Colley reversed shot?
COACH MERCHANT: They said that there was more than eight seconds that went off. There was something wrong with the timer or something like that, and they timed it and said it was longer than eight seconds, so they didn't count the basket.

Q. So it wasn't a travel or anything?
COACH MERCHANT: No, it was -- they just said -- it counted, and we would have won the game, but then they came back and said: Oh, sorry, the clock was messed up, so that basket doesn't count.

Q. When the refs came to you and said that, did that fire you guys up more, or did that just really hurt the team when you got that news?
COACH MERCHANT: No, I mean, I think we went into overtime -- I think what hurt us was we couldn't get a couple stops down the stretch. That really hurt. We had the lead there twice when they had the ball at the end of two regulations.

If we could have just got a stop -- we just couldn't get the stop, so that was disappointing, but I thought our kids did a great job bouncing back. They were engaged in all the overtimes certainly, and it was disappointing, but I felt like a lot of stuff has gone against this team all year. We've had a lot of adversity just in general, so many injuries and issues. It's just been tough on these kids, and I thought they did a great job of just keeping their energy and focus and finding a way to keep moving forward and keep fighting.

Q. To get the game that you did out of Colley, especially with -- you thought she was going to be out with the knee injury, can you kind of speak to that?
COACH MERCHANT: Yeah, I mean, first of all, I'll just say in 23 years I've never had a person get hurt standing out of bounds, not even on the court, so that's bizarre. It was just weird. So that was frustrating. I think our team was like in a weird place because we were really playing well and confident, and then that happened. And it was like we didn't know if we were going to have her literally up until game time.

So to have her means a lot to our team for sure. They get a lot of confidence from Shay. So give her a lot of credit. But it's just been a tough year injury-wise.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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