by Daniel Fappiano
One year ago, Morgan Johnson attended the University of Rhode Island where she was the only player on the women’s basketball team to start all 29 games. Fast forward to this season, and the senior guard has become one of the leaders of Central’s women’s basketball team.
On the season, Johnson has averaged 6.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 three-pointers per game. She has started all but two of the team’s games and leads them in three-point shooting percentage. However, while Johnson is lethal from behind the arc, the fifth-year senior gives the Blue Devils much more than just a shooter.
During the Blue Devils’ Jan. 20 match-up against St. Francis (BKN), senior forward Brianna Jacobs went down with what looked like a season-ending leg injury and has not played since. With Jacobs injured, Johnson is the only active senior on the roster.
As the lone senior, Johnson knew her role as a leader would only increase. However, after serving as a team captain for the URI Rams during the 2016-17 season, she has the traits necessary to succeed.
“The team kind of just needs that older experienced player that will just kind of take a step back and be like ‘we just need to relax, settle down, take a deep breath, we’re going to be fine’ and I kind of just hope to be that,” Johnson said.
The fact that Johnson found her way to Central Connecticut is remarkable in its own right. Rhode Island and Central’s campuses are 90 miles apart, while Johnson’s hometown of Knox, Pennsylvania is almost 450 miles away. Nonetheless, the 5 foot 10 inch guard feels right at home with her decision to transfer to CCSU.
“I know I wanted to stay in the New England area,” Johnson said. “When I came on my visit, I really liked the atmosphere, the team environment, the bond that the girls had and the coaching staff.”
Johnson’s play has turned heads and raised eyebrows all season. Head coach Beryl Piper was especially impressed following CCSU’s second game against Sacred Heart, in which the fifth-year senior scored 12 points on four made threes.
“It was great because she had been sitting on the bench for a little bit, defensively we tried to go to a little quicker line-up and she was out, so when she came back in she had fresh legs and you want your shooters to have fresh legs,” Piper said. “They left her wide open and she knocked down big shots and that’s a fifth-year senior having the confidence to shoot those shots and be confident in herself, we talked about that at the end of the game, how big those shots were for us.”
Central may just have three wins on the season, but their confidence has certainly shot up following their latest victory. Johnson has played a big role in that by stepping up behind the three-point line and in the locker room.
Jacobs’ injury was devastating, as she was not only a senior, but a team captain as well. For a fifth-year senior to be able to come to a new program and become a leader in her first and only year with the team speaks volumes for the kind of player and person Johnson is.
While there are eight games left in the season, Johnson has begun looking into the future. The guard says she plans on continuing her education following graduation.
“I’m applying to accelerated nursing programs so I’m looking to continue schooling and we’ll see where that goes,” Johnson said.
The team may not have many wins on the court. However, they’ve found themselves a winner in the form of Morgan Johnson. Stepping up as a leader in the wake of Jacobs’ injury was no easy task, and she took it in stride.
Central’s season and Johnson’s career may be coming to an end soon. But in just one year, the former URI Ram has come into the program and has certainly made her mark.