Mia Diplock competed in 19 of 24 games for the Colby women’s basketball team as a freshman last season, but was hardly an impact player.

The former Cony standout guard did all she could to change that this season.

“I knew if I wanted to play I would have to put the work in,” said Diplock, a Vienna native and former Cony standout guard. “I knew there was an opportunity to play more.”

So Diplock re-dedicated herself this offseason, putting in countless hours in the gym and on the basketball floor.

“I worked out every day,” she said. “In the summer, it’s up to us. I played summer league games and did a lot of running.”

Added Colby coach Julie Veilleux: “She put in a lot of time and work in the spring, summer and fall. She’s been determined to impact our program. Last year she didn’t necessarily have a big playing role. It was a transition year for her. She learned a lot about pace and playing at this level. Had she just took the spring off and the summer I don’t know what would’ve happened. If she came back this year as the same player her role might not have changed.”

The extra work paid off for Diplock, who forced her way into the starting lineup and hasn’t looked back.

A 5-foot-8 point guard, Diplock has started all six games for the Mules (3-3). She’s averaging 8.3 points a game and has a team-leading 15 steals. Diplock, a sophomore, is also averaging a team-high 30 minutes a game, more than tripling her time from last year.

“It’s a lot more taxing on the body,” she said. “I’m more of a distributer and I like to set up my teammates. But I’m doing a lot out there. I like to put on the defensive pressure.”

Diplock, who averaged just 1.5 points a game as a freshman, opened this season with an impressive showing at the Brandeis Tip-Off Tournament in mid-November. She scored 11 points in wins over Eastern Nazarene and Brandeis to earn all-tournament honors.

The strong showings served as a springboard to the season.

“She started off with two great games and that helped her,” Veilleux said. “She’s had an impact. The difference in her role this year is night and day. She’s just been pretty consistent. We had hoped for that. She’s now a player her teammates look to. For her, we broke it down with what she had to do. She had to be better conditioned and just learn the pace better.

“This year, it’s like the light bulb went off a little bit. She really took initiative. All the adversities she faced, she was able to overcome them.”

Last season, Colby finished 8-16 overall, including 1-9 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. The disappointing campaign came a year after the Mules reached the NCAA Division III tournament.

“The whole team knew we needed to step up this year,” Veilleux said. “We know we could’ve done better in conference play. We learned a lot from last season, especially with not making playoffs. Right now, we’re going to go through the process.”

Added Diplock: “We’re young but we have a pretty good group. We’ll get better as the season goes on.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640bstewart@centralmaine.comTwitter: @billstewartkj