WBB Takeaways: MU struggles guarding Providence’s Nogic


Photo by Brian Georgeson

McKayla Yentz made four threes in Marquette’s loss to Providence.

Providence 66, Marquette 64

Team Leaders: 

Points: Allazia Blockton (17)

Rebounds: Erika Davenport (6)

Assists: McKayla Yentz (4)

Clash of Styles

Tonight’s game was a stylistic battle of wills — and Providence won.

Marquette, known for turning a basketball game into a series of successive foot races, failed to register a single point in the fast break. Instead of racing down the court and finding looks early in the shot clock, the Golden Eagles slogged through Providence’s stout half-court defense and averaged an unusually sluggish 18 seconds per possession.

Providence, on the other hand, relished Marquette’s molasses pace. The Friars allow only 61.4 points per game, good for fourth in the BIG EAST, and score a conference-worst 54.6 points per game. With Marquette putting up 80.4 points on a nightly basis, grinding the game to a crawl was the only way the Friars could hope to compete.

Providence dragged out each possession well into the shot clock. They methodically worked through the half-court offense, relying on big-scoring nights from guards Sarah Beal and Jovana Nogic. When they missed, the Friars slammed the boards and thoroughly out-rebounded Marquette, 31 to 22.

At the end of the night, it proved to be just enough to win.

Jovana Nogic, Lethal Sharpshooter

With an anemic offense, Providence needed a big night from one of their stars to keep up with Marquette.

Jovana “Yoyo” Nogic answered the call.

Nogic, who is second in the BIG EAST in 3-point field goals made, erupted for 27 points in 33 minutes to keep the Friars afloat. She finished the night 9-for-19 from the field, including an absurd 7-11 from deep.

In the first four minutes of the game, Nogic knocked down her first three triples — already tying her per game average. With two minutes left in the first frame, Nogic connected on her fourth try:  a hand-in-the-face rainbow that banked off the glass and into the hoop. Her hot shooting catapulted the Friars to a 24-17 lead after the first 10 minutes, a stretch through which the team went a combined 6-for-6 from deep.

Nogic, due to early foul trouble and some tighter Golden Eagle defense, was held scoreless through the second quarter. Though, like all good yo-yos, when Nogic goes down, she comes soaring back up again.

In the second half, Nogic poured in 15 more points to pull the Friars back from a 10-point deficit midway through the third quarter. With a minute left in the third quarter, Nogic topped off a 10-2 Providence run with another triple, cutting the Marquette lead to just one point with the game score at 51-50.

Then, to top it all off, Nogic hit a go-ahead elbow jumper, leaving 5.1 seconds on the clock with Providence up, 66-64.

Yentz steps up

With starting guard Natisha Hiedeman sitting due to injury, and stalwarts Allazia Blockton and Erika Davenport dipping into foul trouble, Marquette was forced to look for help outside its usual three leading scorers.

While head coach Carolyn Kieger looked for help from her rarely-used bench, it was starting center McKayla Yentz who helped stabilize the offense.

The senior co-captain, who quietly leads the team in 3-point shooting, knocked down three triples in the first half and led the team with nine points at intermission.

By game’s end, she finished with 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting, all of which came from behind the arc. She also picked up four assists and led the team in box-score plus/minus with a positive 10 — one of only two players who didn’t end in the negative.

A veteran, Yentz often does the little things on the court. It wasn’t enough for the Golden Eagles to win, but it kept them in the game.