Women's Basketball Heads To Maine For Dead River Classic
TOURNAMENT QUICK FACTS
Tournament Host: Maine
Location: Orono, Maine
Tournament Participants: Buffalo, Holy Cross, Maine, Penn State
Day One: Penn State vs. Buffalo, 4:00 p.m., Nov. 27
Holy Cross vs. Maine, 6:00 p.m., Nov. 27
Day Two: Consolation Game, 12:00 p.m., Nov. 28
Championship Game, 2:00 p.m., Nov. 28
Series Record versus Maine:
Holy Cross leads, 8-3
Series Record versus Buffalo:
Holy Cross leads, 4-0
Series Record versus Penn State:
Penn State leads, 2-0
HOLY CROSS IN TOURNAMENT PLAY: Competing in basketball tournaments has become an annual event for the Holy Cross women's basketball team as they have participated in 37 separate tournaments since the 1981-1982 season. The Worcester State Holiday Festival marked the team's first tournament back in 1981. The team played in its first Division I tournament on Dec. 4 and 5, 1982, participating in the Fairfield (Conn.) Warner Classic. Under head coach Bill Gibbons, the team has traveled as far as Anchorage, Alaska and San Diego, Calif. to play in invitationals. Under his guidance, the team has won 51of 97 tournament games. The last time Holy Cross hosted its own tournament was in the 1987-1988 season, where they topped Niagara and Villanova to be crowned the Crusader Invitational champion. Over the past 10 seasons, Holy Cross has been named the tournament champion two times, with the last time coming at the American Classic on Dec. 2 and 3, 2000. The Crusaders topped Delaware State and American to claim the title.
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST TOURNAMENT OPPONENTS: Combined, Holy Cross has won 12 of 17 match-ups against its Dead River Classic opponents. Penn State holds the only series advantage over the Crusaders, having won both of the meetings between the two. The teams last played on March 23, 2003 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Holy Cross was seeded #13 in the Mideast Region bracket while Penn State was seeded at #4. The Nittany Lions were able to top the Crusaders in that first round, 64-33 and continued on to the regional semifinal. Penn State has outscored Holy Cross 135-92 in the two meetings. Holy Cross has its biggest all-time series advantage over Buffalo, whom which they have never lost to. The two teams have met four times in all, with the last match-up coming on Nov. 27, 2007. The Crusaders topped the Bulls that year 71-57. In all, Holy Cross has not scored less than 65 points against Buffalo while holding the Bulls to under 60 points. Maine has been the most common opponent for the Crusaders, having played in 11 total games against the Black Bears. The series began back in 1984 and continued annually until the 1991-1992 season. The last meeting between the two teams was on Jan. 2, 2009 with Holy Cross coming away with a 68-63 victory at the Hart Center. The Crusaders have won three consecutive meetings with the Black Bears.
HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE:In program history, Holy Cross has played against four of the 12 teams that compete in the Mid-American Conference. The Crusaders have won seven of the eight match-ups against MAC opponents. Buffalo has been the most frequent opponent as Holy Cross has earned a 4-0 all-time record against them. The Crusaders have also taken on Eastern Michigan (1-0), Kent State (1-1) and Northern Illinois (1-0). Buffalo will be the only MAC opponent the team faces this season.
Record: 1-2, 0-0 MAC
Head Coach: Linda Hill-MacDonald begins her fifth season as head coach of the Buffalo women's basketball team, following a season where she coached the Bulls to their best ever finish in the Mid-American Conference Tournament. This will be her third meeting against the Holy Cross team and head coach Bill Gibbons, having lost the first two match-ups. Hill-MacDonald has a 43-76 record as the Buffalo head coach, which adds to the 275-332 record she has marked in 21 years as a collegiate head coach.
2009-2010 Squad: This year's Buffalo squad returns 10 letter winners and welcomes five freshmen. Leading the team is junior Kourtney Brown, who was named to the preseason All-MAC team. Brown finished her sophomore campaign as Buffalo's all-time single-season scoring leader. Joining her will be three other returning starters, senior Dayna Smith, junior Jessica Fortman and sophomore Brittany Hedderson. Freshman Chrissy Cooper has earned herself a spot on the team's projected starting lineup as well. In three games this far, Brown leads all scorers with an average 19.3 points-per-game. She also leads the team with 13.0 rebounds per-game.
HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE AMERICA EAST CONFERENCE: Holy Cross has played against seven of the nine teams that compete in the America East Conference. This season, Holy Cross will play against two other America East teams, New Hampshire and Vermont, after they take on Maine in the first round of the Dead River Classic. Combined, Holy Cross has registered an all-time 26-16 record against each of those three teams. Against the other six conference teams, the Crusaders have notched 25 wins and six losses throughout program history. New Hampshire has been the most frequent America East opponent for Holy Cross as they have played in 18 total match-ups against the Wildcats, earning 12 victories.
Record: 1-2, 0-0 America East
Head Coach: Cindy Blodgett is in her third season as head coach at her alma mater. She has combined for a 12-48 record over her three years and won five of 30 games last season. She came back to Maine after spending two seasons as the assistant coach at Brown. As a Black Bears player, Blodgett boasted two America East Player of the Year awards, four WBCA District I All-America honors, was a three-time ECAC Division I All-Star; appeared in four NCAA Tournaments, earned four America East Tournament MVP awards, was a four-time America East First-Team selection and totaled 3,005career points.
2009-2010 Squad: The Maine women's basketball team was selected to finish eighth in the America East preseason poll. Maine will look to replace two of its top five scorers from a year ago after they lost Brittany Boser (9.9 PPG, 4.8 RPG) and Colleen Kilmurray (6.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG) to graduation. The Black Bears return an experienced group of scorers to this year's team in seniors Kristin Baker, Amanda Tewksbury and Katia Bratishko as well as junior Tanna Ross. The team also welcomes five fresh faces. In three games thus far, Tewksbury leads her squad in scoring (11.3 points per-game) and rebounding (8.3 per-game).
HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE BIG TEN CONFERENCE: Holy Cross has played against eight of the 11 teams that compete in the Big Ten Conference. In all, Big Ten opponents have won 11 of the 15 match-ups against the Crusaders. Holy Cross has played in a series-high three games against Michigan; earning the most wins (two) against the Wolverines as well. The Crusaders have also taken on Illinois (0-1), Indiana (0-1), Iowa State (1-1), Northwestern (0-2), Ohio State (0-2), Wisconsin (0-1) and Penn State (0-2). Penn State will be the only Big Ten foe that Holy Cross takes on this season.
Record: 3-1, 0-0 Big Ten
Head Coach: Coquese Washington is in her third season as head coach of the Lady Lions. She is the first female African-American head coach in Penn State history. She has combined for a 27-37 record in her three years at the helm, as her 2008-2009 squad finished in a tie for seventh place in the Big Ten. Prior to taking over the head coaching position at Penn State, Washington was an assistant and then the associate head coach at Notre Dame, where she helped guide the Fighting Irish to the 2001 NCAA women's basketball championship. She has recruited eight consecutive nationally-ranked classes, with this year's incoming class ranked No. 20 according to ESPN's HoopGurlz.
2009-2010 Squad: In four games this season, every member of the team is averaging at least 1.5 points-per-game. Leading the team is senior Tyra Grant who has averaged 16.0 points in the four contests thus far. Grant is among the preseason candidates for the 2009-2010 Wooden Award and 2009-2010 Naismith Trophy. Joining Grant as probable starters for the Lady Lions will be freshman Alex Bentley (9.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg) and Nikki Greene (6.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg), junior Julia Trogele (7.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and sophomore Zhaque Gray (10.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg).
HAVING IT MAY'S WAY: Junior forward/guard Alyssa May's (Oradell, N.J.) versatility has been an extremely important factor for Holy Cross this season. Not only has she proven to be a valuable point scorer, but she currently holds or has tied team-highs in rebounds (8), steals (5) and assists (5). She has recorded career-highs thus far in free throws made (6 at Bryant) and steals (5 at Bryant). She is averaging 23.2 minutes per game, playing a season-high 34 minutes against Bryant.
FREMEAU REACHES NEW HEIGHTS: Junior forward Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) is continuing to establish herself as a valuable scorer and rebounder for the Crusaders. So far this season she has already tied her career-highs in field-goals made (8), points (18) and minutes played (36). She has been the top-scorer for the team in two contests (18 at Yale and 17 at Bryant) and has also led or tied in the team in top rebounds in four of five performances. She is averaging 34.6 minutes played per game, which is already 14 more minutes played than her career average of 18.7 minutes. She is also perfect from the free-throw line thus far, sinking all four of her attempts. In five games played, she leads the team in field goal percentage (38.2), field goal attempts (68) and field goals made (26).
CAPTAINS CONTINUE TO CLIMB: The 2009-2010 team captains, Briana McFadden and Bethany O'Dell have already made their mark in the school and league record books and are continuing to make an impact this season. Both McFadden and O'Dell became members of the Holy Cross 1,000-point club last season as they currently rank 14th and 19th on the all-time scoring list respectively. So far this season, McFadden and O'Dell have each scored 61 points, leading the team with a 12.2 scoring average. McFadden has now scored over 1,200 points in a Crusaders uniform while O'Dell registers in with 1,165. O'Dell has scored in double-digits in all five games thus far, topping the team in points against Connecticut and Boston College. McFadden has marked four double-digit scoring contests, scoring a team-high 20 points against Central Connecticut. The two have also continued to be strong from the free throw line, making 28 of their 37 attempts.
FRESHMAN UPDATE: The 2009-2010 freshman class of Kaitlin Cole (Springfield, Pa.), Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) and Alexis Nicholas (Jamaica, N.Y.) has all contributed valuable minutes in five games played this season. Lepley leads the way with 11.8 minutes per game. She also tops the class in points (12) and rebounds (10). She scored season-highs against Boston College, tallying eight points and four rebounds. Cole has become a valuable go-to bench player and currently averages 7.0 minutes played per-game. In her total 21 minutes played, she has knocked down one field goal and has brought down three rebounds. Nicholas saw her first action of the season against Connecticut and then at Boston College, playing in four minutes in each game. She earned the first rebound of her career against Connecticut.
WARDING THEM OFF: Sophomore Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) has fit into her new starting role as point guard well so far this season. In five starts, Ward is averaging 26.6 minutes per-game, has scored a total of 22 points and has committed just 3.4 turnovers per game, a career-low. She tied her career-high of seven points in the first contest against Yale and has also marked career-highs this season in steals (5) and assists (5). Her shooting capabilities have also turned her into a frequent free-throw shooter, as she has knocked down nine of her 10 attempts. She achieved a career-high five free-throw attempts against Bryant, making four of them for another career-best.
CALM UNDER PRESSURE: The Crusaders have remained strong from the free throw line through five games this season. The team averages 71.6 percent from the line, making 63 of 88 attempts. Junior Whitney Fremeau leads the team with a perfect 4-for-4 free throw performance while sophomore Meredith Ward has gone 9-of-10 for the team's second-best performance. As a team last year, the Crusaders made 389 of their 524 free-throws attempts. The combined percentage of 74.2 ranks first all-time for a Holy Cross team. It also ranked first in the Patriot League and 28th nationally. Senior Briana McFadden sank 153 of her 191 attempts to rank first on the team in free throw attempts, earning her the third spot among Holy Cross single-season records. Fellow senior Bethany O'Dell led the team with a 84.6 free-throw percentage, missing just 10 of her 65 attempts at the line.
YEAR OF THE GUARD: Six of 12 players on the 2009-2010 roster are listed as a guard, with Briana McFadden and Bethany O'Dell returning as starters. This year's team boasts the most experience at guard, with four seniors and another returner owning the position. So far this season, the guards have combined to score 151 points and have stolen the ball a position-high 26 times. They guard position also leads the team in assists, combining for 35 dishes.
NEXT UP FOR THE CRUSADERS:Holy Cross heads back to the Boston-area to take on the Harvard Crimson on Wednesday, Dec. 2. The game will be held at the Lavietes Pavillion in Cambridge, Mass. Tip time is set for 6:00 p.m.