Suzy Merchant will not be on the bench Wednesday night when the Michigan State women’s basketball team plays at Purdue.
Merchant, 47, suffered a fainting spell in the fourth quarter of a 71-47 win against Illinois on Sunday and spent the night in a local hospital for tests and observation. She was released from the hospital on Monday but did not travel with the team on Tuesday, Michigan State athletic communications department confirmed to Land of 10 via a text message.
Associate head coach Amaka Agugua will fill in for Merchant against Purdue and for as long as Merchant is recovering. There has been no timetable set for her return.
— Spartan Basketball (@MSU_WBasketball) January 3, 2017
Merchant did not appear on her weekly radio show on the Spartans Sports Network Tuesday. Agugua sat in for her during the show as well. Executive associate athletic director and senior women’s administrator Shelley Applebaum said during the broadcast that Merchant was doing well.
“I talked to Suzy a little bit ago when I was driving over and, obviously, when an incident like that happens, you kind of pause for a second and try to catch your breath and make sure that she’s okay. She is,” Applebaum said. “For us, it’s about making sure she’s okay. That’s the bottom line … She’ll be back when the time is right. That’s certainly for others to make that decision, with her input.”
Michigan State (11-3, 1-0 Big Ten) follows the Purdue (9-6, 0-1) game with a home contest against Nebraska on Saturday.
The Spartans responded to Merchant leaving the court against Illinois with a 14-0 run that broke the game open. Men’s coach Tom Izzo, after finding out that Merchant was okay, joked to his colleague about a new coaching strategy.
“He said, ‘I’m going to try that, too. If we’re only up three, I’m going to do a little spin move and go down, too’,” Applebaum said. “I said ‘But you’re going to have to do it in heels, and I don’t think it will look as good as when Suzy did it.’ But seriously, it was scary.”