By Thomas Zinzarella ’21
The weather this weekend was well below freezing in the Providence area, but the Providence College Women’s Basketball Team continued their scorching hot streak, winning four of their last five Big East games. The Friars improved their Big East conference record to 4-4 with a thrilling triple overtime victory over the Butler University Bulldogs on Friday and a 71-58 victory over the Xavier University Musketeers.
Friday’s game also featured the 12th annual Project Providence game where there were over 1,000 local elementary and middle school students from eleven schools in three different states. The home court advantage was seen early on thanks to the over 1,000 local kids that turned up. The Friars started the game on an 11-2 run where their suffocating defense led to a fast offense. The Friars started 3-3 from downtown with two of those shots coming from Maddie Jolin ’19. The Bulldogs mounted a 14-0 run in the second quarter but the remainder of this game was a back and forth affair with eight lead changes and six ties. In the end, it was the Friars defense that outlasted the Bulldogs after their second leading scorer Tori Schickel fouled out in the second overtime period.
A layup by Earlette Scott ’22 sealed the win for the Friars with the final score being 74-68. After the game, Jovana Nogic ’19 really stressed the defensive effort of her and her teammates. “We know defense wins games and we were always going into the next overtime thinking we need to win this game on defense.”
Nogic also added a game total of 24 points to the winning effort. The Friars scoring was also aided by Kaela Webb ’22 who piled on 16 points. Coach Crowley praised his squad’s offensive aggressiveness throughout the game. “A big key was our offensive aggressiveness…we fouled out four or five of their kids because we were being really aggressive offensively,” Coach Crowley stated. It was only the fourth triple overtime game in Big East history. The game that would help set up success for the rest of the weekend.
In Sunday’s victory over the Xavier Musketeers, the Friars led the game straight from the opening tip until the end of the game. Nogic led the Friars with 16 points on 6-16 shooting from the field. It was also a freshman showing in Alumni Hall with Webb putting up 15 points and with Mary Baskerville ’22 producing 11 points and 6 rebounds. Webb’s performance this week garnered her Big East Freshman of the Week honors. She averaged 15.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, three assists, and two steals this past week which helped lift the Friars to a weekend sweep.
Webb is the second Friar to earn the Big East Freshman of the Week honors. Mary Baskerville earned the award three times this year including the prior two weeks. In fact, four of the last five weeks a Friar has been awarded the Big East Freshman of the Week award. It is the first time since 2000-2001 that two freshmen Friars have earned this award. Both freshmen contributed to a strong weekend showing, and it was the first time since the Big East realignment that the Friars have swept a weekend series.
With the 4-4 conference record, it is their best start in conference play since 2011-2012 as the Friars look to continue this recent success when they hit the road for the next three games. The Friars will head out to Omaha to play the Creighton University Bluejays this Saturday, January 26 at 2 p.m. You can tune in to the Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go to catch the action.