January 16, 2024 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: Robyn Fralick’s Michigan State Spartans are on the rise

Even with a near-miss at Iowa, the Spartans are embracing the challenge of the Big Ten.

On today’s episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, Michigan State head coach Robyn Fralick joins host Howard Megdal to discuss the Spartan’s diligently crafted offense and their plan of attack as they take on a formidable Big Ten conference.

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The two first discussed Fralick’s journey to coaching, including her time at Div. II Ashland where she was an assistant under former head coach Sue Ramsay before taking over the position in 2015. Fralick and the Eagles would go on to win a Div. II championship in 2016–17, remaining undefeated the entire season.

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“I was an assistant before that for seven years as a division two assistant for Coach Ramsay … and she was a real trailblazer for Title Nine, really sort of opened up a lot of avenues for me and for the young women we got to coach,” Fralick said. “I feel like my appreciation really went up working for someone like Coach Ramsay, of just the fight that had gone into the opportunities we got.”

“And if you get to know Coach Ramsay, she’s probably the happiest coach in America,” Fralick added. “She just had such a joy for what she did. I think so much of who you become is who you learn under. So I was really fortunate to learn under somebody who just loved what she did every day.”

They then discussed Fralick’s offensive signature: ball movement and balanced offense. From her time at Ashland and eventually Bowling Green, Fralick’s teams have consistently fronted killer offenses, where every player is capable of anchoring a play.

“I think ball movement and player movement at any level is good offense,” Fralick explained. “[We make sure we’re] consistent every time, with what’s a good shot and what’s a bad shot, whether that’s in practice [or] in film … So I think that that’s been a big part of the consistency you see with the assist-to-turnover ratio, and high assists. And I just think good passing teams are harder to guard. When you have a team, a whole team, that you have to guard and that you feel accountable to defensively, you’re harder to guard. So we tried to work really hard at playing team basketball.”

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Fralick and Megdal then discussed Michigan State’s experience of the Big Ten so far in 2024, and what lessons they learned from a 76–73 heartbreaking loss at Iowa.

“We put a lot of energy into the defensive in that game and I actually thought we had a very choppy offensive game … we turned it over more than we normally do on some just silly, silly plays,” Fralick said. “But defensively, we had a very, very specific game plan for them. I think both teams knew how important it was to take away transition. So I think we were both hustling back and neither team really got much transition, which has been important for both of us offensively, and it ended up being more of a grind out in the half-court sort of game.”

“But there are some things that we felt like we had to take away. Iowa, offensively, is so dynamic that they’re hard to keep up with from a scoring perspective. So defensively, I thought we gave ourselves a chance to win,” she added.

Tune in to hear more about Fralick’s journey from Div. II to the Big Ten, Michigan State’s key players and team leaders, and much more! Listen to Locked On Women’s Basketball every day to learn more about women’s basketball history, the game and its players, and much more!

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