Merrimack’s Tiffany Colon gives her all
Tiffany Colon plays tough every day, whether it’s a practice session against her teammates at Merrimack College or a matchup against a Northeast-10 Conference foe.
Her coach, Helen Williams, expects nothing less from her junior guard out of Lawrence High.
“Since [Colon] has been here, I’ve seen nothing but a hard-hat mentality from her,’’ said Williams. “I have never seen her not have a hard practice, even when she’s hurt. She’s highly competitive.’’
This season, she has been instrumental in the Warriors’ late-season rush to earning a berth in the postseason, which included a stunning upset of Franklin Pierce, the top-ranked team in Division 2, as well as a win over nationally ranked Stonehill.
The 5-foot-9 Colon, who is averaging 8.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, netted a dozen points against both Franklin Pierce and Stonehill and a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) in a pivotal victory against St. Michael’s. This afternoon, Colon and 12th-seeded Merrimack (11-16 overall, 9-13 NE-10) will play at the fifth-seeded College of Saint Rose in the first round of the conference playoffs.
“She has taken on a more vocal role in making sure her teammates are as competitive as she is,’’ said Williams. “That part of her personality has certainly grown this year and her teammates feed off’’ it.
Colon was highly regarded at Lawrence High and recruited to the University of Maine by former Merrimack coach Ann McInerney. An MCL sprain limited her to spot action her freshman year, and when McInerney left after two years, Colon transferred to Northern Essex Community College. While there, she applied for, and received, an academic scholarship to Merrimack. That attracted Williams’s attention.
“While she was at Northern Essex, I had lots of people coming to see me and telling me what a good basketball player she was . . .,’’ said Williams. “I figured she had to be a good kid if so many people were telling me about her. What impressed me most, though, was the fact that she put her education before basketball. She got herself admitted to Merrimack on her own academic merits. That impressed me. She just also happened to have a good jumper and was competitive.’’
Now, she is at Merrimack on an academic and athletic scholarship.
In the upset of Franklin Pierce, Colon was heroic. She drained a 3-pointer with 3:05 left that put Merrimack ahead to stay, 64-62; had a key block of a shot with 59 seconds left; a defensive rebound with 18 seconds left; and two free throws with 17 seconds left that sealed things.
When the final buzzer sounded and the Warriors had halted Franklin Pierce’s 28-game regular season winning streak, Colon said she was in “another world, excited and speechless and shocked all at the same time. We didn’t go into the game thinking we were going to lose,’’ she said, “and at the end of the day we knew if we did our job everything would be OK. It was the biggest win I have ever experienced. Before, beating Stonehill was tops.’’
“This was huge for our team and the program,’’ added Williams. “It was good for the players to see the positive result of their hard work. . . . Our goal at the beginning of the season was to make the playoffs and get past the first round. We haven’t done that.’’
That effort begins today.
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