By Jack Belanger ’21
This basketball season has been one full of turnarounds and milestones for the Providence College Women’s Basketball Team. Only 18 games into their season the Friars have already matched their overall win total from last season at 10. The team is on pace to have its best record under third-year Head Coach Jim Crowley.
Just before students left for winter break, Jovana Nogic ’19 broke the school record for three-pointers when she hit her 253rd shot against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell on Dec. 8, breaking former Friar Julie Wheeler’s ’98 record set in 1998. Nogic felt that achieving the record has been a reward for the work she has put in during her four seasons at the College.
“It is truly a blessing to be among great Friar names and to be able to be at the top of them,” said Nogic. “And of course, it shows as well how much my teammates trust me.”
She is also climbing up the team’s all-time scoring list. With 1,483 points to her name, Nogic currently has the eighth most points in team history.
The Friars ended their nonconference schedule on a high note, going 3-0 in the Friar Holiday Classic at Alumni Hall, highlighted by a 77-47 victory over La Salle University, putting them at 8-4 going into the Big East schedule. Nogic was named the Classic’s MVP while Mary Baskerville ’22 was also named to the All-Tournament Team after she scored 18 points and grabbed 17 rebounds against La Salle.
While the team had plenty of momentum going into Big East play, the Friars started out with a tough task as their first two conference games were against Marquette University and DePaul University, both of which are Top 25-ranked teams. PC struggled shooting the ball in both games and took two tough losses.
The Friars got their first Big East win of the season on Jan. 6 at home, defeating Villanova University 67-61. Nogic scored 23 points in the game, leading all scorers. Maddie Jolin ’19 also scored a season-high 18 points.
With the score being tied at 56 and about three minutes left, PC went on an 11-2 run, highlighted by eight points from Nogic, to put the game out of reach down the stretch and seal the win.
In their next game against St. John’s University, the Friars once again found themselves in a close game after a slow start that caused them to fall into an 11-point deficit halfway through the third quarter. The Friars managed to work themselves back into the lead after a 9-0 run to begin the fourth quarter, taking the lead 51-48.
The Friars held onto the lead with the clock winding down, but St. John’s sunk a three at the buzzer to tie the game 57-57 and force overtime.
In overtime, the Friars led by as many as five points but saw their lead disappear when they fouled St. John’s with the score at 66-63. Akina Wellere of St. John’s would hit three free-throws with 11 seconds left. Jolin, who finished with 19 points, came in clutch for PC as she forced a foul and sealed the game by making one of two free throws and gave the Friars their second victory in a row.
Currently, the Friars’ record in the Big East stands at 2-4. While this does not seem impressive on the surface, the team is still optimistic that they can compete in the Big East Tournament. Looking forward to the rest of the season, Nogic wants the team to keep working every day to put themselves in a good position come March. “We definitely want to keep improving each game and being able to finish close games. The goal is to have the best record we can have walking into the tournament.”