Oct. 14, 2004
WORCESTER, Mass. - The 2004-2005 men's and women's basketball preseason polls were announced by the Patriot League on Thursday. The Holy Cross women were ranked first, and the men's team was placed 4th. Holy Cross also had two players named to the League's Preseason All-League Teams in senior tri-captain Maggie Fontana (Barrington, IL), and junior guard Kevin Hamilton (Queens Village, NY).
After a 13-15 overall finish last season, and 8-6 in Patriot League play (4th), the ten-time regular season champion Holy Cross women were selected to win the 2004-2005 League crown, as voted by the League's head coaches and SIDs.
The Crusaders tied Colgate with five first-place votes, but amassed 84 total points, edging the Raiders by two. American University finished third with 72 points, followed by Lehigh (68), Bucknell (55), Army (36), Navy (27), and Lafayette (19).
Leading the way for Bill Gibbons' Crusaders will be senior Maggie Fontana. Fontana is a three-time All-League selection, and led the Crusaders with 14.0 ppg and 6.1 rebounds per game last season. She finished last season ranked in the PL Top 10 in seven categories, including scoring, and assists to turnover ratio (+1.42). The 5-foot-11 guard also scored the 1,000th point of her career in a 12-point effort against Furman last year, and is currently ranked ninth in scoring in Holy Cross women's basketball history.
The Holy Cross women also return Second Team All-League selection Lisa Andrews, who also averaged 14.0 ppg, and led the league in blocks with 69, good for a 2.46 average. Junior guard Sarah Placek, who poured in more than 10 ppg last year, will also be returning. Sophomore Brittany Keil is coming off a strong rookie campaign, and will look to be a force in the middle. She was selected to the League's All-Rookie Team last season.
The Holy Cross men finished preseason voting ranked fourth with 66 points after a 13-15 (7-7) showing last season. The Crusaders, who won three-straight League championships from 2001-03, edged Colgate (57) for fourth place. Bucknell was ranked first (92), followed by Lehigh (79), and American (74). Lafayette (38), Navy (24), and Army (18) rounded out the eight-team conference.
Ralph Willard's squad will be led by junior guard Kevin Hamilton. Hamilton emerged as one of the top players in the league last year, and was named All-League Second Team. The native of Queens Village, NY led the Crusaders in scoring last year at an 11.0 ppg clip. He also led the team in steals with 72, and was second on the team in assists with 69, while pulling down 4.5 rebounds per game.
The Crusaders will have to deal with the loss of All-League point guard Jave Meade, but will return seniors Nate Lufkin, and John Hurley, and sophomore Keith Simmons, who all contributed more than 8-points per game.