By Ethan Ticehurst ’18
Basketball season is right around the corner in Friartown. Crowds will be pouring into the Dunkin Donuts Center to see the Providence College Men’s Basketball Team play this season, but fans will also head to Mullaney Gymnasium to see the Women’s Team try to improve upon last season.
Last year, the Friar Family saw a rebound in women’s basketball, as the team put together their first season with more than 10 wins in five years. The team came roaring back from a tough time with a winning record in their non-conference games, which helped them reach a 12-18 record overall.
Last season, the Friars were lucky enough to play under first year coach Jim Crowley, who previously spent 20 years as the head coach of women’s basketball at St. Bonaventure, where he led the team to the NCAA tournament five times. His first year at the helm of the Friars, and the subsequent improvement of the team, continued to show his strong abilities as a coach. If last year was any indication, Coach Crowley will hopefully continue to improve the team and lead them to a NCAA tournament in the future.
A successful coach is not the only thing that the Friars have going for them going in to the season. Topping the list of advantages is the play of Jovana “YoYo” Nogic ’19. After averaging 14.5 points per game last year, she only looks to get better this year. Nogic has already been named to the Preseason All-Big East Team, an honor that puts her in the upper echelon of Big East players. She started all 30 games for the Friars last year and looks to do the same again this year.
Other bright spots for the Friars include the play of both Clara Che ’19 and Allegra Botteghi ’18, the only other returning players to have played in all 30 games last season. Both of them add over five points per game each, numbers which should improve this season as both of them have gained more experience playing college basketball and everyone tends to become a better player when they have more experience.
Fans should look to be in Mullaney Gym on Nov.10, when the Friars kick off their season against Columbia University. Given their successes against non-conference teams last year, the Friars are likely to have another strong start to the season this year. One big date to be excited for is Dec. 2, when the Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament gets started right here on campus, with teams from Brown University, Bryant University, and the University of Rhode Island visiting Friartown for two days. The biggest date of the year for the Friars, however, will be three days after Christmas, on Dec. 28, when they kick off conference play against Georgetown at home. After hopefully having a strong start to the season in non-conference games, the game against Georgetown is when the going gets tough for the Friars and they will have to put their hearts fully into the game.