GREAT FALLS – The University of Providence women’s basketball team won just a single game in the Frontier Conference last year, but this year it’s a different deal. The Argos are one of the best teams in the conference, a big part of that stems from the team’s leader, senior guard Stephanie McDonagh.
“Pretty much our whole team revolves around her. She’s solid in every single position,” said freshman Parker Esary. “Blocking out, she gets a lot of rebounds and if we need someone to score, give the ball to Stephanie.”
“Defensively, she’s a big key out there. Offensively she’s just strong and athletic,” said freshman Emilee Maldonado. “There’s no fear in her, she’s a go-getter no matter what.”
McDonagh has etched herself into the Argos’ history books, ranking fourth all-time in career assists and rebounding and sixth in career scoring. But her biggest strength is on the defensive side of things. No one in school history has stolen the ball more times in their career than McDonagh. The senior also ranks first in most steals in a season, with 79, and most steals in a game with 10.
“I never thought I’d be in the record book. I just come in here day in and day out and do the best I can,” said McDonagh. “It’s not like each game I’m leading in any category, it’s just all through the season. It’s just little by little adding up I guess.”
“(McDonagh’s) overall attitude and her approach to the game, she’s going to play every minute hard. It doesn’t matter if she’s sick or tired, it doesn’t matter,” said head coach Bill Himmelberg. “She’s going to play the hardest she possibly can all the way through — from the tipoff all the way to the end of the game. That’s her greatest asset by far, is how hard she plays.”
So many steals, so many games, so many memories, but when McDonagh’s collegiate career comes to an end after this season she’ll most miss the bond she has with every single player.
“I’m going to miss the girls. Each team, each year has had a special place in my heart, as corny as that sounds,” said McDonagh. “Even last year’s team, I still had a lot of fun with those girls. Yeah, we went 1-17 in conference play, but they’ll always be family and so will this team.”
The University of Providence will forever look back at McDonagh as one of the greatest women’s basketball players in its history, with a competitive fire that fought right to the end.
“I guess I just want them to remember that I left it all out there in every game I played and every practice I played, that I gave it all I had for them,” said McDonagh.