There may be a few surprises on the 2018-19 women’s basketball roster. Some may know there are two international players on the team, one from France and one from Canada. However, what some may not have known is one of those Spartans is already a gold medalist.
Red-shirt junior Shay Colley is not only a guard for Michigan State women’s basketball but she’s also on the roster for the Canadian National Team.
“You just have to play smart and be smart in order to be at the top level,” said Colley.
Colley has over four years of experience playing overseas in Europe with Team Canada. This past summer, Colley and her home-country team, made it to the quarterfinals of the FIBA Women’s World Cup in Spain. In August of 2017, Colley secured her gold medal as the Canadian National Team won at the FIBA Women’s Americup in Argentina. The Spartan guard plans to continue to play with Team Canada over the next summers and hopefully make the 2020 Olympics team.
“She’s (Colley) so skilled. She’s talented… she’s just such a natural leader because of how she plays,” said head coach Suzy Merchant. “I always think it has to start there. You gotta have street cred to start bossing people around a little bit. So she’s done a good job with that.”
As Colley throws down overseas, she makes sure she does the same for her Michigan State team. Last season, Colley led the Spartans in scoring with 12.4 points per game and was ranked 23rd in the conference. Colley is starting this season off by earning Preseason All-Big Ten honors.
Colley kicked off the new season, all smiles at the 2018 women’s basketball media day on Wednesday. The goal for Colley and this team is to surprise everyone and show that while they may not be stacked with star power this year, they’re still going to do great things.
“Shay is like my favorite person to play with ever, like that I’ve ever played with. She’s super smart, she’s been playing so well lately,” said junior guard Taryn McCutcheon. “She’s always been really good so I’m not even sure if it’s the overseas or not but when she was playing with Team Canada she came back and she’s just dominate. I’m just super excited to see how the seasons going to go with her too.”
With the Spartans losing Taya Reimer and Branndais Agee this season, there was a change in leadership. A change that Colley, while alongside McCutcheon and senior forward Jenna Allen, believes she is ready for. According to coach Merchant, Colley is elevating as a leader and has to stay consistent and become more vocal.
“This year I really need to step outside of my comfort zone and be more vocal - not just for my teammates, but for myself. I think as I become a better leader, I’ll become a better player,” said Colley. “With Jenna and Taryn on my side it’s a easy roll to fill so I’m happy that they’re captains with me.”
The Spartans ended last season ranked second in the Big Ten and 10th in the NCAA with a 19-14 record and a trip to the Sweet 16 of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. Michigan State’s first game will be Nov. 1 against Hillside College.