Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Colley's game-winning shot pushes women's basketball to WNIT Sweet 16

March 19, 2018
Redshirt sophomore guard Shay Colley (0) goes up for a lay up during the second round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament against Toledo on March 19, 2018 at Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated the Rockets, 68-66. (C.J. Weiss | The State News)
Redshirt sophomore guard Shay Colley (0) goes up for a lay up during the second round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament against Toledo on March 19, 2018 at Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated the Rockets, 68-66. (C.J. Weiss | The State News) —

With the clock winding down, the ball was in redshirt sophomore guard Shay Colley's hands.

She took it to the hole and made the game-winning layup to send the women's basketball team to the Sweet 16 of the Women's National Invitation Tournament.

The Spartans kept it tight with the Rockets throughout the game as they defeat the University of Toledo, 68-66.

“We spilled the water in the locker room,” said Colley. “My teammates and my coaches had trust in me to make that bucket so I accepted it.”

MSU came out hot right from the start taking a 7-0 lead in the first 90 seconds. However, both teams would trade baskets throughout the rest of the first half as no team could maintain a large lead.

Midway through the third the Rockets took a six point lead and looked as if it was going to stay that was as MSU could not score a basket in the first four minutes. However, turnovers were the key factor to tonight’s win for the Spartans.

After a quick timeout by head coach Suzy Merchant, MSU switched to a full court press for the rest of the game including multiple double-teams on every possession. The Spartans locked down on defense forcing 16 turnovers on the night including 10 in the second half alone. MSU only had four turnovers on the night.

“I was a little bit worried about mismatches, but I felt like it got us going a little bit,” Merchant said. “It slowed them down enough to just keep them out of the flow. This team sometime’s just has the energy and decides and sometimes it doesn’t.”

Colley finished with 14 points, three rebounds and four assists, while sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon finished with nine points and six assists on the night on 40 minutes of playing time.

“Do I think we played our best basketball tonight? Absolutely not,” freshman forward Sidney Cooks said. “Still, Toledo’s a good team. They’re in the WNIT for a reason. They battled tonight for sure.”

After missing the first round win against Cincinnati, Cooks returned to action scoring a team-high 15 points and grabbing four rebounds. 

“She’s been really great all year,” Merchant said. “I mean some of her problems have been the injury piece. She’s had an achilles (injury) all throughout February and first day back she rolled her ankle so that’s why she didn’t play. I was surprised how well she practiced in her mobility. 

"It actually surprised me a lot, her ability to cut, and play off that foot. I mean they did an MRI, X-Ray, worried about a fracture, it was a pretty severe sprain.” 

The Spartans will now face the South Dakota Coyotes in the Sweet 16 at 7 p.m. in South Dakota. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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