Janai Crooms Goes Toe to Toe with #10 UConn, Providence Loses Close One

The Providence College women’s basketball team pushed the No. 10/9 Connecticut Huskies to the limit on Sunday night at Alumni Hall in Providence, R.I. UConn held on for a 69-61 victory, despite a career-best 27 points from Cranston-native Janai Crooms and a solid defensive effort overall from the Friars.

1ST QUARTER:
• UConn led 6-4 at the first media timeout (4:45). Both teams managed just one field goal apiece in the opening stretch, with the remaining points coming from the foul line.
• The Huskies took a 15-10 lead into the intermission.
• Connecticut finished the frame 5-12 from the field (.417), while Providence converted 3-15 attempts from the floor (.200).
• Janai Crooms paced the Friars with eight points. She was 3-4 from the field in the quarter, while the rest of the team was 0-11.
• Christyn Williams and Olivia Nelson-Ododa each scored four points for UConn.

2ND QUARTER:
• A 5-0 spurt got the Friars within three,20-17, before Aaliyah Edwards converted a traditional three-point play for UConn at the 7:31 mark to halt Providence’s momentum (23-17).
• The Friars responded with six-straight points to tie the game, 23-23, with 5:28 left on the clock. Crooms was responsible for four of the six points in the run.
• The Huskies drained a three to regain the lead and took a 26-23 advantage into the media timeout (4:58).
• The three sparked a 13-0 run for UConn to close the half, as the Friars went cold from the field for the final 5:28.
• UConn took a 36-23 lead into the locker room at halftime.
• Providence forced eight Connecticut turnovers and outscored the Huskies, 10-2, in points off of turnovers in the half.
• Crooms paced all scorers with 14 points through the first 20 minutes, while Williams scored a team-high 11 points for UConn.

3RD QUARTER:
• UConn opened the third with a three-pointer to extend its run to 16-0.
• Kylee Sheppard finally got the Friars back on the board to end PC’s scoring drought with 9:04 on the clock.
• It started a 7-1 run that got Providence back within single digits (42-34) with 6:14 remaining.
• Crooms sank a pair of free throws with 50-seconds left to keep the deficit within single digits (48-40).
• Lauren Sampson scored on a tough drive into the teeth of the Huskies defense with six seconds left to make it a 50-42 game at the intermission.
• Providence outscored Connecticut 19-14 in the third quarter.

4TH QUARTER:
• Connecticut started the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run to force a Providence timeout at the 8:18 mark (56-42).
• Crooms hit a step back three on the Friars’ first possession out of the timeout, but Evina Westbrook matched Crooms on the other end with a three for the Huskies.
• UConn got out to its largest lead of the game (67-50) with 2:18 remaining in regulation.
• The Friars scored seven-straight over the next 2:29 to creep back within 10 (67-57) with 49-seconds left in the game.
• Westbrook sank a pair of free throws on the Huskies next possession to halt the Friars’ run.
• Connecticut held off the Friars to earn a 69-61.

NOTES / HIGHLIGHTS:
• Crooms eclipsed 20 points for the third time this season, finishing with a career-high 27 points to lead all scorers.
• Crooms shot 73-percent from the field (8-11), including a 3-4 performance from three-point land (.750). She also hit 8-10 free throws.
• Freshman Nariah Scott contributed nine points, five rebounds and three steals.
• The Friars outscored the Huskies in points off of turnovers (20-10), points in the paint (28-24) and second-chance points (11-7).
• Providence committed a season-low 12 turnovers in the game, while forcing the Huskies into 16 miscues.
• Connecticut held a 31-29 advantage in rebounding. Twelve of the Friars’ 29 boards came off of the offensive glass.
• Williams led four Huskies in double figures with 19 points and added a team-high seven boards.
• Prior to tip-off, senior forward Mary Baskerville was honored for reaching the 1,000-point milestone and was presented a commemorative basketball by Head Coach Jim Crowley. Baskerville became the 35th player in program history to reach 1,000 points on Jan. 14 against St. John’s.

WHAT’S NEXT:
• Providence hits the road next weekend for a pair of BIG EAST games against Marquette (Feb. 4) and DePaul (Feb. 6). The Friars and Golden Eagles will tip-off at 8:00 p.m. (ET) at the Al McGuire Center. Providence and DePaul will square off at Wintrust Arena for a 3:00 p.m. (ET) tip. Both games will be broadcast live on the BIG EAST Digital Network via FloSports.

Categories: Sports