The exams are different, so is the practice, and she has to coach some of her team mates in her spare time. It’s been quite the change of life for Tiffany Corselli but she’s looking to make the most of her time in Ireland when she takes the floor for DCU Mercy in the Irish women’s cup final on Sunday
It’s really hard to miss the energy. Tiffany Corselli can speak as fast as me, not common, and thinks really fast too. The latter probably helps more on the floor where she plays guard for DCU Mercy.
Originally from Yonkers in New York, Corselli played four seasons with the Niagara University Purple Eagles and was a starter in her junior and senior years. Throughout those four seasons her side struggled hard, failing to post a .500 record and never challenging in the MAAC.
Despite that, Corselli got her degree in sports management and that opened up a chance for her to continue her career as a pro. This season she crossed the Atlantic as part of the Sport Changes Life programme to study a masters in business management in DCU and play for DCU Mercy in the Irish Superleague.
“It’s a little slower over here but the atmosphere has been great, the people have been great and really supporting. That’s made the adjustment really smooth, I feel like I just gained another family,” said Corselli.
“Going from having practice 7 days a week to now, 2 to 3 times a week. Also the hours, it’s only an hour and a half. In America you practice almost 3 hours a day. That was the biggest adjustment, knowing I had to do my own cardio, to get in the gym on my own.”
DCU’s run to the final this year came after massive roster upheaval in the off-season. The bulk of the side that won the Superleague title two seasons ago is gone but they sit joint top of the standings at 10-2 and own a pair of wins over their opponents on Sunday, Glanmire.
“Everyone just plays their part really well. Everyone knows what they’re good at and what they’re not good at. They don’t try to do too much. All the talent we have contributes to the overall picture. Also our defence, we don’t give up that many points,” she said.
For our analysis series The Ballin After, post-game interviews, and more, subscribe to BallinEurope’s YouTube channel
That upheaval has seen more time for some younger players, including three members of the Irish U18 side that took silver at the FIBA European B championships last summer. Going from being a veteran on a college team to being a veteran playing with actual school children caught Corselli a little off guard.
“It weird at first because I had met some of them as their coach on the U20s team. Then I went to Superleague practice and realised they were my team mates too, it was a little adjustment. I have distinguish between when I’m coaching them and when I’m their team mate. The girls have done a great job adjusting, a lot of them will be playing three games this weekend. Just that they can be prepared mentally for that, kudos to them,” she said.
“It reminds me of AAU games where you might have four games. I try to tell them to take each game, not to think about the next one and just live in the moment. It should be an interesting weekend.”
BallinEurope now has merch, like actual merch, t-shirts, phone covers, and even pillows. Check it all out on our RedBubble page.
The college life in Ireland compared to the US took as much adjustment as the basketball life for Corselli, who was used to having a better idea of how she was performing throughout the academic year.
“The assignments are so different. All my classes have been based off one paper and then one test. Everything is based off two things whereas in the US you have multiple assignments and multiple papers. Over there you kind of know how you are doing whereas here I haven’t received any grades yet so I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping,” she said.
“We just finished our exams last week. Usually in America you take your finals before Christmas break but we had ours after so I couldn’t really enjoy it because I had to study. That and the grading system, it’s just so different.”
Sunday’s opponents, Glanmire, may have lost both league encounters with DCU but the Cork club come in as the favourites. Having won this trophy each of the last four years and loaded with veteran talent, the Cork club is expected to cement the drive for five on Sunday.
“Technically we are going in as underdogs from the viewer’s perspective but given that we have beaten them, it gives us confidence. It’s not going to be easy but it gives us that confidence, we know what has worked and try to build from there. We know it’s going to be a different game and we’re looking forward to it,” said Corselli.
DCU lost their last league game before the cup decider in dramatic style against Killester last weekend and the Yonkers woman feels the nature of the defeat will help her side focus for Sunday’s decider.
“It was a wake up call. It made us realise that if we don’t fix the little things that need to be tightened up, that could have been our cup final game. It has woken us up and made us more aware that we really do have a big game coming up. We’re not going to play a perfect game but we know we’ve got to move on quicker from the mistakes that you do make in the game,” she said.
Despite being halfway across the world, Corselli’s family is still able to keep up with how she is performing regularly. With most of DCU Mercy’s games being streamed online, her mother is keeping up with every game.
“My mom has been calling me these last five days asking me where she can watch the game. The fact that they have been streaming our league games on Facebook live, and it’s for free, has her in awe. In the US you’ve usually got to pay to watch college games, here she can re-watch the games multiple times. It really has helped because my family gets to still see me play basketball,” said Corselli.
Now, after a string of seasons where she didn’t sniff a title with the Purple Eagles, Corselli is hoping her experience of being on a side that fought hard despite not getting the results will help guide her to glory on Sunday.
“It would be amazing to win. With my college team, we struggled to win, we weren’t even in a position to play in a semi final. The last four years, I haven’t even been close to an opportunity like this. Just to be able to come over here and bring Mercy a championship, they haven’t won it since 2011, as a competitor and a person who loves basketball…it would be amazing to say that I went to Ireland and won a championship while I was there,” she said.
This next bit seems of particular relevance to Tiffany’s mom:
The Irish women’s cup final between DCU Mercy and Glanmire will be live on TG4 in Ireland and streamed live and free around the world on TG4.ie on Sunday from 5.25pm Irish time/ 6.25pm CET/ 12.25pm EST.
To keep up to date with everything on BiE, like BallinEurope on Facebook