ORONO, Maine - In a game that saw 11 lead changes and four ties, a crucial layup by senior Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) with 32 seconds to go in regulation boosted the Holy Cross women's basketball team over Maine, 61-59, during the first day of action at the Dead River Classic at the Alfond Arena. With the final, Holy Cross moves to 3-3 on the season and will play in the championship game against Penn State while host team Maine goes to 1-3 and takes on Buffalo in the consolation round tomorrow, Nov. 28.
Holy Cross started the first half shakily, turning the ball over twice and allowing Maine to jump to a 6-0 lead. The Black Bears continued to hold the upper-hand offensively, going up by 10 points, 15-5, at 14:48. Holy Cross then found an offensive spurt of its own, notching the score at 17-15 midway through the half after junior Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) hit two consecutive free throws. Senior Bethany O'Dell's (Lincoln, R.I.) second three-pointer of the game gave Holy Cross its first lead of the half, 21-17, at 5:52. The Crusaders maintained their tempo the rest of the way, taking a 33-27 advantage heading into the locker room. Fremeau finished the half with a team-leading 10 points and two crucial blocks.
Maine was able to crawl within one point of the Crusaders, 37-36, after outscoring Holy Cross 9-4 to begin the second half. The Black Bears then retook the lead, 42-40 at the 12:39 mark. Maine continued to pull ahead, taking a six-point lead at 8:19. With five minutes left in the game, sophomore Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) was able to make a clutch three-point shot to bring the game within one possession. Five lead changes and two ties dominated the final five minutes. With 32 seconds on the game clock and Maine up by one point, McFadden tallied her critical second-chance layup, giving Holy Cross the permanent advantage. O'Dell then drew a foul with six seconds left and made one of two free throw attempts to give the Crusaders the final 61-59 win.
O'Dell nabbed her best shooting performance of the season, making six of nine field goals for a team-leading 17 points, her season-high. Fremeau followed with 14 points and a team-leading nine rebounds, also a season-high in boards for her. McFadden's game-winner contributed to her 10 total points on the night. Ward scored a career-high eight points, including two career-high three-pointers made.
Turnovers were a major factor for Holy Cross, as they earned 27 points off of Maine's 20 mistakes. Black Bear freshman Corinne Wellington led her team with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Holy Cross will play in the championship game against Penn State to round out the Dead River Classic, tomorrow, Nov. 28. Game time is set for 2:00 p.m. at the Alfond Sports Arena.