BROCKTON, Mass. ---- The Massasoit women's basketball team might not be off to the start it had hoped coming off a NJCAA National Tournament appearance a year ago, but first-year head coach Taryn Johnson has one student-athlete who has really stepped up her game.
Tiana McQueen, the only returning player from last season's squad, has been a force both on both sides of the court for the Green and White.
The sophomore forward has cemented herself as the No. 1 option offensively, after being a secondary option to teammates last year like NJCAA All-American Fredi Lawson and two-year starter Ashley Andrade.
"Tiana has had to step out of her comfort zone this season," Johnson said. "On last year's team Tiana was more of role player. She'd protect the pain on defense and rebound on both ends of the floor but would go offensive possessions without touching the ball.
"Where as this year, our offense runs through her. She's been working hard in practice to become more aggressive on offense and create scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates."
McQueen showed flashes of excellent play last year, especially at the NJCAA Nationals against top-seed Rock Valley CC. On the biggest stage against he nation's top team, McQueen poured in 21 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 7-for-14 from the floor and a perfect 7-for-7 at the foul line.
That effort has carried over into her sophomore campaign as McQueen is averaging 16.2 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. Quite the bump up from her averages a season ago of 9.1 points, 7.7 rebounds. The Boston native has also showcased consistency so far, recording a double-double in all four contests.
McQueen has been the primary scoring threat for the Warriors accounting for over 66 percent of the team's points this season despite constant pressure and double teams from opponent's defense.
And her numbers are amongst the nation's best. McQueen ranks in the top-50 amongst NJCAA Division III players in points, rebounds and blocks (2.8).
Despite the team's slow start to the season, with the play of McQueen and improvement from her teammates, the Warriors could make some noise the second half of the season.