There’s a natural chemistry on the court between Jess Genco and Gabby Giacone.
It’s a chemistry that translates over to the box scores: Genco, a two-time All-CAA First Team selection, finished as this season’s team leader in points (559), field goal percentage (.418) and free throw percentage (.913), among other categories, and the program’s all-time leader in games started, minutes played, assists and three-pointers. Giacone was at the top in rebounds (195) and blocks (17) this season.
And it’s a chemistry that has been brewing since the pair first descended onto campus four years ago, when they were paired together as roommates in Stetson East – a bond that still stands between the duo as their senior year draws to a close.
“It’s something special to have teammates that room together all four years and still keep that consistent friendship off the court,” Giacone said.
“It’s like someone that kind of knows all of your stresses throughout the day,” Genco agreed, “Whether it be basketball or even something outside of basketball.”
And while their sport is what initially brought Giacone and Genco together, their friendship has expanded beyond the walks to and from practice and the countless drills on the court.
Gabby’s favorite things about Jess:
She goes to Wollaston’s eight times a day, so if I ever forget something at the store, it’s likely she’ll be able to get it.
She taught me how to not allow my white clothing to turn pink in the washer freshman year.
She makes the best store-bought chocolate chip cookie you will ever eat.
Jess’ favorite things about Gabby:
She always picks up trash around campus, and always it down when it’s sitting in our room.
She cooks for a lot of us. We’ll just show up with the ingredients and she will cook it. Or if I’m lazy, she always has leftovers.
She always finds a way to make me laugh, even if I’m pissed about something.
On move-in day four years ago, both Genco and Giacone pulled up to West Village (where they would live for the summer before moving into Stetson East) in their mother’s Suburbans. Genco set up her bedroom with the help of her parents and siblings, said her goodbyes and according to Giacone, went immediately to the gym.
“Up until like the first two weeks, Jess would go to the gym from like, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” Giacone said. “She was never in the room all day. Eventually, I just started going to the gym with her.”
It wasn’t anything personal for Genco, who, after all, admitted to doing “the whole Instagram stalking thing” and finding her future roommate on social media before moving in.
“I’m a quiet person, but like, I thought she was normal,” Genco defended. “It just takes me a certain amount of time to open up.”
And so there was another difference at the center of the friendship between Genco and Giacone – a guard and a forward, 5-foot-5 and 6-even, shy and extroverted. But these differences are at the core of their friendship, providing the foundation that has carried them through their four years at Northeastern.
Genco laughed as she remembered one winter when her roommate opened the window to yell that a snow day had been called and all classes for the next day were canceled. It wasn’t true, Genco insisted, but Giacone’s call had convinced the whole hallway to buzz with excitement.
In the same way that Giacone’s energy stands out to Genco, it’s the ability of the quieter friend to emerge from her shell that excites Giacone – Genco would be called to the front of the bus to freestyle rap about Olive Garden breadsticks on rides between practices and dinner.
“My favorite memories are when I see Jess step outside of her comfort zone with other people,” Giacone said. “Just seeing her in her goofy element, when she’s not staying in her own bubble.”
After four years, Giacone has edged Genco out of that bubble, and the encouragement is evident amid the laughter as one eggs the other on, telling her to just “say her line” about having connected with her teammate and roommate so many years ago.
“You go to college for two things,” Genco said, laughing, “To find a best friend and a husband. One out of two ain’t bad.”