Quincy to the WNBA: Division I Baller Nicole Jorgensen Has Big Plans

Nicole Jorgensen has run the basketball floor since the sixth grade, but enjoyed one of her best seasons in her senior year of college.

The Quincy native played out her final season of Division I Basketball at the University of Rhode Island this year. The difference this time around from the previous three years was that she played under a different head coach.

Tammi Reiss, a former All-American at the University of Virginia, who also played in the WNBA, took over the head coaching job, and Jorgensen saw immediate results in her game.

She recorded 16.0 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game, both career highs.

“Honestly, she just opened my eyes to how much potential I had, and that if I took it seriously enough, I could make it into a career,” Jorgensen said.

Now, she is looking to follow in her coach’s footsteps, as she is in the process of picking an agent to continue her career professionally before the WNBA draft.

Image courtesy of Erica Denhoff

The sport began for her 11 years ago when her friends wanted her to play because she was so tall. Standing at 6′ 5″ now, Jorgensen has always been one of the tallest on the court throughout her life.

After middle school, she moved on to Quincy High, where she left her mark.

During her time with the Presidents, Jorgensen was a four-time Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic, four-time Patriot League All-Star, two-time Patriot League MVP, and a two-year captain. In her senior year, she averaged 22 points, 16.7 rebounds and 4.0 blocked shots per game.

She led Quincy to a league championship that year, and also set the school’s single-season records for points (507) and rebounds (384). She scored 1,274 points in her career and set a Quincy record with 1,159 career rebounds. She was the first player in city history to record 28 rebounds in a single game and owns the school’s records for season, career and single-game blocked shots.

She was the first and only Quincy basketball player to record 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in their high school career.

After muscling a rebound and laying in her 1,000th point, Jorgensen’s teammates ran straight to her and celebrated with hugs. One of those teammates in the mix was Alyssa Camara, who played basketball with Jorgensen even before high school.

“The energy, moment, and love in that game was incredible,” Camara said. “Being a part of that, celebrating Nicole’s accomplishment made us all work harder.”

“I would say high school was fun overall. I found my love for the game and I had an amazing coach and man to look up to in Jay Jerahian,” Jorgensen said. “He taught me everything that I know and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him and his family.”

She received a scholarship to play Division II Basketball at Southern Connecticut, and it fell through when the coaches left the program. But they were close to the coaches at URI, and they told them about her.

“I went on my official visit and I loved the girls and what the school had to offer me athletically and academically,” Jorgensen said. “It was a dream come true to be recruited by a D1 school. That was always my dream and it finally came true, and it was an amazing feeling that everything I had worked for was starting to develop.”

Image courtesy of Erik Schelkun

Through four years at URI, Jorgensen improved her points per game from 7.0 to 16.0, and her rebounds per game from 5.2 to 8.3. At the beginning of her senior year, she was named to the Atlantic 10 Preseason Third-Team, but went and finished the year on the First-Team, and was named the best center in the conference.

Her 16.0 points per game stood for third in the Atlantic 10, and the 8.3 rebounds per game were second. She finished second in field goal percentage as she shot 50.9%, and also had the most points in a game for the conference when she scored 31 in March.

With her position being a center, she often came away from games beat up and bruised, as she fought in the paint each and every time.

“Nothing came easy,” Jorgensen said. “I needed to work for everything I got and I had a lot of people to prove wrong at the beginning of this season when I was nominated to the third team.”

Image courtesy of Erik Schelkun

At the end of her career with URI, Jorgensen came away with 1,426 points and 811 rebounds.

She became just the 22nd player in program history to reach 1,000 career points, and finished her career sixth-best all-time with her 1,426 career points. She also became just the fifth player in URI history to surpass 1,000 points and 800 rebounds, with her 811 rebounds standing for fifth-best all-time.

“Playing with a teammate that has had the ability to play at the Division I level is incredible. She has come so far from high school, physically, mentally and emotionally, to get her where she is. She recognized her talent and ran with it,” Camara said. “It is truly incredible knowing I grew up playing with such an inspiring lifelong teammate.”

Image courtesy of Alan Hubbard

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