Team: Brothers of Providence
Review 2020-21: 7-14, 4-10 Great East
Arrival of the Grand Est 2020-21: Seventh, two games behind Creighton in the win column and three behind them in the loss column.
Final ranking of statistics for his hoop 2020-21: # 236
Playoffs? Only two games in the Great Eastern Tournament before being beaten by No. 2 seeded Marquette in the quarter-finals.
Key departures: The Friars lost five players from the roster last season, and all five were regular contributors. Chanell Williams and Kyra Spiwak are in the front row here as they were two of three women to start all 21 games last season for PC. The two are somewhat close in terms of contributions with Williams averaging 9.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and a team record 3.0 assists per game and Spiwak adding 11.0 / 1.9 / 1.6 per match.
Olivia Orlando has started in all 20 games she has appeared in and has played over 32 minutes per game. She didn’t score much at just 3.4 per game, but she was No. 2 on the rebound list at 6.3 per game, and her 2.6 assists per game were a welcome addition. Andrea Cooper gave the Friars nearly 18 minutes a night while appearing in all 21 games and starting twice, although his stats (2.8 points, 2.2 rebounds) didn’t appear to have added much. Finally, there’s Sophia Widmeyer who came off the bench for 11 minutes per game in all 21 games last season. That’s about all worth mentioning for the 5’10 ” Canadian.
Key turners: We have to start with top scorer and rebounder Mary Baskerville. 12.7 points and 6.5 rebounds topped both categories a season ago, and if she could have played more than 25 minutes a night, she would have been much higher in the chain. Alyssa Geary is the third woman to start every game last season, and the 6’4 “forward assisted with 11.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
The Brothers also bring back two players each evening from their bench corps. Grace Efosa-Aguebor played 15 minutes per night off the bench last season, while Lauren Sampson added 10.5 per game. The two women combined for just over five points and three rebounds per game, so they were more of the “we give everyone rest” type players than anything else.
Key additions: Janai Crooms is in her fourth season of college hoops after starting with two years at Ohio state and spend last season at Michigan State. The 5’10 “Rhode Island native has declined in production since her first year averaging 8.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists for the Buckeyes. She has appeared in 22 games for the Spartans last season and tallied 5.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
Andreana Wrister is using her extra year of eligibility to play for the Friars after spending her first four seasons at Tennessee State in the Ohio Valley Conference. The 5’7 “goalie averaged 14.5 points in her first year as a full-time starter last season and also added 2.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
In addition to those two, Providence has six freshmen on its roster. Three of them get a Blue Star Basketball mention, but none of the three are ranked in the top 200 prospects. I’ll mention Emily Archibald, one of the three perspectives not mentioned, because when you’re a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in your state, even though that state is Maine, then you might be pretty good at this whole basketball stuff. . Hell, I’ll also wink at Meghan Huerter because the 5’11 “guard is the little sister of Atlanta hawks guard / striker Kevin Huerter.
Coach: Jim Crowley, entering his fifth season in charge at Providence and his 21st on a Division 1 sideline. He is 61-88 with the Friars and 319-319 overall.
Outlook: Providence was a bit “meh” at best last season, and that’s if you look at finishing 7th out of 11 teams as “midfield” instead of looking at 4-10 in win / lose columns as bad. It’s been two consecutive best-season “mehs” for the Friars since Jim Crowley gave them their first winning season in nine years when they were 19-16 overall in 2018-19. He had a pretty good race for 16 years at Saint-Bonaventure … but it hasn’t quite recovered in Friartown yet.
Now this year, for the second season in a row, Providence is kind of pushing the reset button. It is not ideal. They have five women transferred between the end of 2019-20 and the start of last season and things didn’t go well last year. Now PC is losing 48% of its scores, 46% of its rebounds and 63% of its assists. They have no reliable outside shooting threat that returns with Julia Fabozzi’s 5-for-16 (31.3%) little used as the team’s best return shooting percentage.
At least they have Mary Baskerville for another year. The 6’3 “Connecticut native is a double-digit threat every time she walks on the ground … it’s just a matter of whether or not she stays on the ground. Her stats on the hoop indicate that she had a minimum of 19 points and 11 rebounds every 40 minutes during her career at Providence, but last year her highest minute average was 24.3 per game. Baskerville cracked 30 minutes in a game just five times last season and only broke 25 minutes eight times out of 20 appearances. Yes, she has an absolutely terrible foul rate, falling almost to the bottom 25% of the country in that department, so a part of Providence’s problem is that they just can’t keep her down due to fouling issues. Then again, she only has five games where she ended up with four or five fouls last season, so part of it is not Baskerville’s fault and instead lands on the coaching staff so as not to maximize what certainly looks like their best player.
Can PC find a way to get 30 minutes per night from Baskerville? Can they find outside fire to clear the ground and keep the defenses from collapsing inside and thus create problems for Baskerville with regards to attempted rebound faults? Can they choose one end of the field to establish an identity behind for this season … or even just a specific element on the field like bouncing or scoring a pass?
In other words: can they just fabricate wins and go back to a winning record again?