The Providence College women’s basketball team, led by head coach Jim Crowley, is looking to bounce back after a tumultuous 2021-2022 campaign. Last year, the team finished 11–19 overall, with a record of 6–14 in Big East conference play.
The Friars only lost one player to graduation last year, Mary Baskerville. Each were regularly within the starting five, averaging seven and nine and a half points-per-game, respectively. Additionally, she was listed as one of the tallest players on the roster last year at 6-foot-3-inch, so replacing her size could present a challenge. The Friars also lost Julia Fabozzi and Alyssa Geary to the transfer portal; they will be continuing their collegiate career this year at Wagner College and Indiana University respectively.
Helping to replace the production lost with the departure of those players, will be newcomers Kammie Ludwig ’26, Brynn Farrell ’24, and Logan Cook ’22GS. Ludwig, a 5-foot-10-inch guard from Geneseo, IL, will look to make an immediate impact in her freshman season. She completed her high school career as their all-time leading scorer and was named to the Illinois 3A All-State Team. Farrell transferred to Providence from the University of Florida and could also play key minutes for the Friars this year. The team should also benefit from the leadership of Cook, a graduate transfer from Iowa.
Perhaps most important to the team’s success will be Janai Crooms ’23. Crooms led the Friars with 14 points per game last season and looks to build off the success she had; she was named as an All-Big East Honorable Mention. At the Big East media day, Crooms was named to the Preseason All-Big East Team.
Crooms will have to excel again this year if the Friars are going to remain competitive in a stacked Big East conference.
In the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the Friars were picked to finish eighth in the league, which is exactly where they finished in last year’s standings. The team started the year with a dominating performance in their first and only scrimmage against Southern New Hampshire University on Oct. 25. They rolled to a 91–43 victory, even scoring twenty consecutive unanswered points in the second quarter of action, while holding the Penmen scoreless in the second quarter. Once they built their commanding lead, they were able to coast to a comfortable victory. They were led by Olivia Olsen ’25, who led all scorers and almost notched a double-double with 23 points and nine rebounds. Returning starter Kylee Sheppard ’25 went for 14 points, and a game high five assists. Nariah Scott ’25 and Brynn Farrell each chipped in for ten points in the Friar’s victory.
The Friars now turn their attention towards preparation for the upcoming non-conference schedule, which kicks off with a showdown against University of Dayton in Alumni Hall on Monday, Nov. 7. Looking ahead on the schedule the Friars have a key matchup looming with their in-state rival University of Rhode Island on the road Nov. 14, where they are looking to avenge last year’s defeat at the hands of the Rams.
The Friars will come to another key portion of their schedule over Thanksgiving break. From Nov. 25 to 27, they will host the Friar Thanksgiving Classic in Alumni Hall. Four colleges and universities are participating in the event, headlined by the Friars, Bryant University, University of Hartford, and Weber State University. Looking further ahead in the schedule, the Friars will open Big East conference play against one of the premier women’s college basketball programs in the nation: the University of Connecticut Huskies. This will be a challenging matchup no doubt, but it will be a good opportunity for the team to learn about themselves. The clash will take place in Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, CT. on Friday, Dec. 6.
After the new year, another big matchup awaits the Friars in the form of Creighton University, the team voted to finish second in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Friars will have home court advantage for the showdown against the Bluejays, as that game will be played in Alumni Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
Looking even further down the stretch, the Friars will play the team rounding out the top three in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll: the Villanova University Wildcats. The Friars will travel to Philadelphia, PA for that matchup to take on the Wildcats in historic Finneran Pavilion on Friday, Feb. 24. This is to say that the Friars will not lack the opportunity to test themselves against the best of the best throughout the regular season. They will look to build momentum as the season progresses, gaining both experience and wins along the way.
The ultimate goal, however, will be postseason success, something that has been elusive in recent years. The Big East Tournament is hosted in Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. It kicks off with the first round Friday, Mar. 3 and concludes with the finals on Monday, Mar. 6. If all goes to plan, the Friars could find themselves playing in their first NCAA Tournament since 1992.