By Thomas Zinzarella ’21
The Providence College Women’s Basketball Team ended the Big East regular season the way that they began it—with a pair of home matchups against two of the best teams in the Big East, #24 DePaul University and #13 Marquette University.
Last Friday night, the Friars hosted DePaul, who used a late run to fuel a 76-61 victory over the Friars. The Friars were able to keep it close by ending the first quarter with a 7-0 run to trail by only one basket. The Friars were able to tie things up at 17 a piece before DePaul had a 10-0 run. At the half, the Blue Demons led the Friars 34-24.
In the third quarter, Maddie Jolin ’19 and Jovana Nogic ’19 combined for 17 points and outscored the Blue Demons 24-19. The Friars were able to stay within five points at the start of the fourth quarter before the Blue Demons used a 12-0 run to gain a comfortable lead, ultimately leading to their 76-61 victory over the Friars.
For the first time this season, the Friars were defeated after they out-rebounded their opponent (31-30). A lot of the Friars’ troubles came at the hands of the Blue Demons defense, which forced 23 turnovers and allowed them to score 34 points. Nogic led the Friars with 17 points.
After the game, Head Coach Jim Crowley said, “Too many turnovers and fouls in the second quarter. A great third quarter, we gave ourselves a chance, and then again it’s too many turnovers.” Crowley credited DePaul’s defense, stating, “They’re good enough without giving any possessions away, and we just gave them way too many.”
The Friars had a quick turnaround and had to prepare for another nationally ranked opponent on Sunday: the #13 Marquette Golden Eagles.
Friar fans were able to celebrate three Friar players for Senior Day. Clara Che ’19, Maddie Jolin ’19 and Nogic each walked out to half court during the pre-game ceremony and were greeted by Athletic Director Bob Driscoll, President Father Brian J. Shanley, O.P., Crowley, and many others.
The Golden Eagles sported some of the best players not only in the conference, but in the nation. However, the Golden Eagles lost two of their starters due to injury and dropped a road game against Creighton University on Friday night. The Golden Eagles needed a win to win the Big East Regular Season Title outright, and the Friars were still jostling for seeding position in the Big East.
The Friars started the game on a 5-0 run before the Golden Eagles closed the quarter on a 18-3 run and led 18-8 after the first. The Friars turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter which gave Marquette eight points.
Marquette was able to push their lead to 17 at one point during the second quarter before the Friars used a 12-4 scoring run, capped off by Chanell Williams ’21 making a lay-up at the horn before time expired. Williams tallied eight of her 12 points in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, the Friars got within three points with 3:14 to go before Marquette went on a 8-3 run to end the half. Marquette flexed their muscles in the final frame, outscoring the Friars 22-7, resulting in an 80-57 win for the Golden Eagles.
After the game, Crowley stated, “I thought we competed hard, but it was similar to Friday night where after two quarters, the game got away from us…you look at the stat line and things are fairly even until you get to one big number and that’s our turnovers.” The Golden Eagles employed similar defense tactics as the Blue Demons did on Friday night with their full court pressure that led to many turnovers in the first half. Friars turned the ball over 22 times in the loss. Williams led the Friars in scoring with 12 points while Jolin added 11 points, including three long-balls from downtown.
The Friars finish the regular season with a 16-14 overall record and an 8-10 mark in Big East play. Their 16 wins is the most since the 2009-2010 campaign, and their eight Big East victories is the most since the 1996-1997 season.
Two Friars received regular season awards. Mary Baskerville ’22 was awarded Big East Freshman of the Year. She led all freshmen in scoring with 9.4 points per games and rebounding with 7.3. Nogic was named to the All-Big East Honorable Mention Team after breaking the College’s 3-point record and scoring 13.7 points per game.
The Friars snagged the #7 seed in the Big East tournament held in Chicago at Wintrust Arena and are set to face the #10 seed, Xavier University.