Michigan State head women’s basketball coach Suzy Merchant took to the stage in Minneapolis at Big Ten men’s and women’s basketball Media Days to address her team ahead of the season.
Michigan State men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo also spoke to the media on Wednesday morning. Check out what he said about the men’s team here.
As for Merchant, she started off her appearance by praising Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren for his commitment to women’s basketball.
“I want to thank you so much for your leadership, particularly in women’s basketball,” Merchant said to Warren.
Michigan State went 15-15 overall last season and 8-9 in Big Ten play. The Spartans did catch the injury bug throughout the season.
Last year, the Spartans lost guard/forward Tory Ozment and guard Julia Ayrault to season-ending injuries before the campaign even began. Later in the year, MSU lost guard Moira Joiner for the remainder of the 2021-2022 season due to injury.
“I’ve had to learn to play with three and four post players at a time due to our injuries,” Merchant said. “So the best news for us is we’re healthy. I lost three starters all at the perimeter position last year. Those kids are back with the inception of what we have coming back with our injured kids.”
Along with getting healthy, Merchant added three players from the transfer portal, all guards: Kamaria McDaniel (Baylor), Gabby Elliott (Clemson) and Stephanie Visscher (Stephen F. Austin).
All three transfers have a connection to Michigan State. McDaniel and Elliott are both Michigan natives. Visscher is from Sweden. She is the second player from Sweden on the roster, joining sophomore guard Matilda Ekh.
“The three impact transfers that we have, have really done a great job at their previous institutions,” Merchant said. “They were the right transfers. We just didn’t take transfers; we took a few kids that we really feel like fit Michigan State.”
After an injury ridden 2021-22 season, Merchant is excited about her team for the 2022-203 campaign.
“With who we have coming back, we’re very excited about this season ahead,” Merchant said.
The Michigan State women’s basketball team tips off its regular season on Nov. 7 as the Spartans play Delaware State at the Breslin Center at noon Eastern Time. Before that, the Spartans have an exhibition on Oct. 30 against Saginaw Valley State.