November 17, 2017

Women’s Basketball Improves Under Crowley

by Eileen Flynn ’20

With a score of 73-60 left on the scoreboard as the final buzzer echoed in the gym, the Providence College Women’s Basketball Team was forced to end their season. The Lady Friars faced the Seton Hall Pirates for the third time this year, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 4,  for the first round of the Big East Tournament. Splitting the regular season face-off, the Friars were hoping to defeat Seton Hall for the second time. The sense of urgency the Friars fought with until the end is not something that surprised the familiar fans in the crowd.

The season was filled with comebacks for the Lady Friars. Twelve out of the 18 losses ended with a close 10-point margin. In their final matchup, Providence brought the score to 64-58 with two minutes to play. Their relentless effort is one of the reasons for their improvement from the previous seasons. The Friars tallied more than double the amount of wins in the 2016-2017 season than they had in the 2015-2016 season.

Sadly, the Providence basketball team is forced to let Sarah Beal ’17 and Aliyah Miller ’17 graduate in the spring. Both players had a strong influence on and off the court for the team. Miller averaged 6.3 points a game in her career and was a four-year player for the Friars. Beal averaged 11.6 points a game and was also a four-year member of the team.

Beal had an exceptional season as her name was added to the list of few Friars to join the 1,000-point club. She was also named Big East Player of the Week for the first time. Beal finished her last season by accomplishing her career goals, is the perfect example of relentless effort for her teammates.

Beal uses the word “challenging” to describe her last year wearing black and white. She mentions the adjustment she and her teammates had to make with the new coaching staff. “Some days would be harder than others, but he really demanded that we work hard and play to our strengths. It really helped the team as a whole.” Jim Crowley was named the 10th head coach in Providence College women’s basketball history in May 2016. A previous coach to St. Bonaventure University, Crowley helped the friars to a 12-18 record in his first year.

The biggest tally in the win column for Beal her senior year was when she helped the team beat Marquette on home ground. “It was a great feeling knowing we had just beat a top team in the conference, and the atmosphere that night was awesome!”

Although it is Beal’s turn to receive her diploma, she will never be able to forget Providence College and the basketball program. When asked what advice she would give an incoming freshman recruit, Beal says, “Don’t wait until your last years to give it your all. You should work hard and give it your all each year and every day because it will eventually pay off. Never have any regrets!”

With a year under his belt, and a similar team returning, Crowley is predicted to work hard in the off season with his team, and prepare for an even better season next year.

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