Shay Colley's selfless running back style of play leads deep women's basketball team
On Monday night, guard Shay Colley was one assist away on Monday night from being etched into Spartan history as the fourth women’s basketball player to obtain a triple-double.
“My thought process was to let it come, don’t try to force it,” Colley said. “At the end you could tell we tried to, but it’s okay. As long as we got the win at the end, that’s all that matters.”
Colley would still record a double-double, scored 14 points, collected 12 rebounds and snatched four steals, helping the Spartans improve to 2-0 on the season with a 95-63 win over Oakland.
Monday night was also Colley’s second career game as a Spartan.
Colley was part of the South Carolina Gamecocks for the first half of the 2015-16 season, before transferring to Pittsburgh for the second half of that season. Colley then transferred to Suzy Merchant’s program in the summer of 2016, and would sit out the 2016-17 season.
Everybody knew Colley had the defensive talent, but her offensive talent was something people may not have expected. But her teammates sure did, especially center Taya Reimer, who was on the USA basketball 17U team and played against Colley, who was on the Canadian team.
“I was like, ‘She is really, really good,’” Reimer said, who had 20 points, five rebounds and four blocks against Oakland.
With this in mind, Reimer and Colley also were in the same transfer period, with Colley transferring from Pittsburgh and South Carolina, and Reimer from Notre Dame.
“When both of us had been committed, I was so excited to play with her, she’s amazing,” Reimer said. “She’s just the most selfless player, but she’s so talented, one of the purely talented players that I’ve ever seen play. I mean, I just love playing with her.”
Reimer said Colley brings a “different dimension” to the on the defensive side of the ball, while offensively she can drive to the basket at will.
“She completely changes the dynamic of our team,” Reimer said.
Colley changes their play so much, Colley’s early season performances drew a comparison from Merchant about a position in a different sport.
“She always reminds of those Hall of Fame running backs, you know the Billy Sims, the Walter Payton’s,” Merchant said. “She can see a hole, and next thing you know she’s darting through it and can take a hit or two. She’s a quick one that can change directions.”
This NFL running back style of play makes Colley effective on both sides of the ball without withering out because of a fatigue.
“You can see she makes everybody better around her, she has a passion for the game, she doesn’t get tired very often, she can play through contact,” Merchant said. “She can change a game like that.”
All this talent Colley has, doesn’t necessarily mean she likes the spotlight that comes with it.
“She just wants to play and be here for her team, help us win and just get better and move on,” Merchant said. “It’s not about her. It’s fun. This whole group is really like that.”
What Colley and this whole group also have, is a deep bench and multiple players that have the ability to score, with this years team going eight to 10 players deep in the rotation.
Reimer said for a team successful, a team has to be really deep and this is true for both women’s and men’s teams here at MSU.
“Especially coming in for me like, I feel no pressure going out and playing anything because I know literally 12 kids can come in and score.” Reimer said. “It’s so much fun that way I think it’s easier for all of us to just play.”
Merchant said she's excited about the depth and the amount of fun and energy her squad has this year.
“Every team has an issue or two, but for the most part it’s just really fun to be around this crew,” Merchant said. “They’re good kids that just want to win at a high level, they understand depth is one of our strengths and people are really buying into that.”