GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (3-5, 0-0 PL) vs. Northeastern (4-2, 0-0 CAA)
Date: December 5, 2009
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Jeremy Lechan, play-by-play, www.worcesterpike.com, internet
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 13-2
Last Meeting: Northeastern 66, Holy Cross 47 (December 22, 2008, Boston, Mass.)
SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall, Holy Cross leads, 13-2
In Worcester, Holy Cross leads 6-1
At Hart Center, Holy Cross leads 6-1
Bill Gibbons vs. Northeastern, 10-2
Daynia La-Force Mann vs. Holy Cross, 1-0
Current Win Streak, Northeastern, one game
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST NORTHEASTERN: Saturday's competition between Holy Cross and Northeastern marks the 16th time in program history that the two teams have matched up. The Crusaders hold an all-time 13-2 advantage over the Huskies, with Northeastern earning its two victories in the last three meetings. The teams first met in 1983 when they were both members of the EAIAW conference. The Crusaders won that first match-up in high fashion, topping the Huskies 54-50 on their way to earning the EAIAW championship crown. Head coach Bill Gibbons faced Northeastern for the first time on Dec. 21, 1988, overwhelming the Huskies for a 21-point victory, 78-56. The teams have played six times in the last 10 years. Holy Cross suffered its first loss in program history to Northeastern on Dec. 20, 2004 as the Huskies earned a 68-64 road victory that year. Northeastern head coach Daynia La-Force Mann won her first meeting with the Crusaders last season, topping Holy Cross 66-47.
HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION: In program history, Holy Cross has played against six of the 12 teams that compete in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). In all, the Crusaders have won 23 of the 27 match-ups against CAA opponents. Northeastern and Hofstra have been the most frequent CAA teams on the Holy Cross schedule, competing against the Crusaders a combined 22 times. Northeastern is the only CAA opponent on the 2009-2010 schedule for the Crusaders. Against all CAA teams, Holy Cross has never lost to Drexel (1-0), North Carolina-Wilmington (1-0) and Towson (1-0). Holy Cross has won the most games against Northeastern (13) and only holds a losing record against Old Dominion (0-1).The Crusaders look to break into the win column against their second opponent who carries the Husky nickname Saturday. The team played the No. 1 Connecticut Huskies on Nov. 20, falling 87-34. There are a total of nine collegiate institutions that bear the Husky nickname. Of those nine, Holy Cross has played against three Husky opponents, Connecticut, Northeastern and Northern Illinois. The Huskies have taken the all-time series advantage over the Crusaders, winning 20 of 36 contests.
HOLY CROSS HOLDS YOUTH BASKETBALL DAY: Saturday's game will also highlight Youth Basketball Day. Anyone aged 13 and under who wears their youth basketball jersey to the game will receive free admission. After the Crusaders take on the Huskies, a meet and greet session will be held in the Hart Center lobby with the players. Participants will get the chance to say hello to their favorite players.
HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Saturday's game marks the first home contest for Holy Cross this season, a place where opponents have had trouble adjusting to. The Holy Cross women's basketball team has an 80.1 home victory percentage since becoming a Division I program as the Hart Center has been the Crusaders' home court for over 34 years. The 2009-2010 season will mark the 35th season of women's basketball competition at the Hart Center. The team has won an all-time 324-96 advantage at home with last year's team going 7-6. The Crusaders posted 24 straight winning records at home from 1979-1980 through 2002-2003 and have five straight winning records going into 2009-2010. Combined, the Crusaders have won 126 of 152 meetings against this year's home opponents.
O'DELL AND FREMEAU NAMED TO DEAD RIVER CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Senior Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I) and junior Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) were selected to the Dead River Classic All-Tournament team after their stellar performances in the two games against tournament host Maine and Penn State on Nov. 27 and 28. Holy Cross was the only school with two players selected to the five-player All-Tournament team. Maine's Kristin Baker, Buffalo's Kourtney Brown and Penn State's Alex Bentley rounded out the final three spots. Over the course of the classic, Fremeau and O'Dell combined for four double-digit scoring performances, collecting a total of 64 points. O'Dell tallied a season-high 17 points against Maine and then topped it with 19 points against Penn State. O'Dell's 19 points led all scorers on both sides of the court. Fremeau scored 14 points in each game, respectively. Fremeau brought down a season-high nine rebounds against Maine and tied for the team-high with five rebounds in the following match-up with the Lady Lions. They both played for a total of 148 minutes in two games, and average of 37 minutes per-game. Penn State's Tyra Grant took home the Dead River Classic MVP award.
BIG D: Defense has been a major factor for Holy Cross in its seven contests thus far. The team has held its opponents to under 60 points in four games, including both match-ups in the Dead River Classic. The Crusader defense came up huge in the championship game against Penn State, who came in to the contest averaging over 70 points-per-game. They held the Lady Lions to just 52 points, including just one three-point shot in nine attempts, a season-low for the squad. The team also held Penn State's top shooter, senior Tyra Grant, to a season-low 13 points. She was averaging 16 points-per-game coming into the contest. Along with the 52 points allowed against Penn State, Holy Cross has held Bryant to 45 points, Central Connecticut to 50 points and Maine to 59 points.
1,000 POINT UPDATE: Senior captains Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) and Bethany O'Dell became just the eighth and ninth juniors to become part of the 24-member Holy Cross 1,000-point club last year. Going into the 2009-2010 season, they ranked 14th (1,195 points) and 19th (1,104 points) on the all-time scoring list respectively. In just seven contests, the two captains have already jumped at least two spots on that list. McFadden, who has scored 95 total points this season, moves into the 11th spot with 1,275 career points, jumping Kris Shields, Mary Helen Walker and Anna Kinne she needs 44 points to rank No. 10. O'Dell, who leads the team with 112 points thus far, has just entered the 1,200-point mark with 1,216 total career points. She surpasses Kris Shields for 13th place and needs just one point to rank at No. 12.
FREMEAU REACHES NEW HEIGHTS: Whitney Fremeau 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) and points (18). She earned a career-high 38 minute performance against Penn State on Nov. 28. She also marked a season-high of nine rebounds against Maine on Nov. 27, two shy of her career-high. 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 six of eight performances. She is averaging 35.1 minutes played per game, which is already 15 more minutes played than her career average of 18.7 minutes. She is also perfect from the free-throw line thus far, sinking all twelve of her attempts. In eight games played, she leads the team in field goal percentage (39.8), field goal attempts (108) and field goals made (43). She is also teams leading rebounder with 49 total boards, an average of 6.1 rebounds per-game.
LEAPS FOR LEPLEY: Freshman Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) has made a major comeback after sitting her entire high school senior season with a knee injury. She earned three-consecutive starts against Maine, Penn State and Harvard. She has already tied for the team-high in rebounds in two contests (four against Boston College and five against Penn State), bringing her total rebounds to 17 in eight contests. She scored a career-high eight points against Boston College on Nov. 24 and has scored 20 points in all, averaging 2.5 points-per-game. She leads her class in almost all categories and ranks fourth on the team with eight offensive rebounds.
THE WARD IMPACT: Sophomore Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.), who started the first five games for the Crusaders at point guard, was not listed as a starter in the following two contests. She returned to the starting lineup against Harvard. Coincidentally, Ward responded to the change with a career-game against Maine. In her 29 minutes played, Ward scored a career-high eight points on 3-of-7 shooting, tying her best field goal percentage (42.9) of the season. Two of her three field goals made came from behind the three-point line, giving her a career-high two three-point shots made. She went 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, tallying her best three-point performance ever. On the season, Ward is averaging 26.1 minutes played, 3.8 points-per-game and 1.8 rebounds-per-game. She ranks fourth on the team with nine steals, already one more steal than her eight steals from the entire 2008-2009 season.
MAJOR MINUTES: The team's three scoring leaders, junior Whitney Fremeau and seniors Briana McFadden and Bethany O'Dell also spend the most time on the court for the Crusaders, rightfully so. Fremeau leads the team with an average of 35.1 minutes played while McFadden follows with 34.9 minutes and O'Dell clocking in with an average of 34.1 minutes. Most impressively, O'Dell has scored the most points in the least amount of minutes played (112 points in 273 total minutes). Fremeau has scored 101 points in 281 minutes while McFadden has 95 points in 279 minutes. The three rank fourth, fifth and eighth amongst their Patriot League opponents respectively.
BEYOND THE ARC: The Crusaders have found a new scoring weapon this season, the three-point shot. In eight contests, the team has attempted 141 three-pointers, compared to their opponents who have tried 128 three-point shots. In all, the team has recorded a 30.5 percent three-point average, while opponents have made just 28.1 percent of their attempts. The teams three-point percentage defense ranks second amongst the Patriot League. Last season, Holy Cross collected 534 three-point tries next to its opponents' 597 attempts. Eight players on the 2009-2010 roster have already made a three-point shot, with senior Bethany O'Dell leading the way with a total of 21 three-pointers made.
CALM UNDER PRESSURE: The Crusaders have remained strong from the free throw line through five games this season. The team averages 72.0 percent from the line, making 108 of 150 attempts. Junior Whitney Fremeau leads the team with a perfect 12-for-12 free throw performance as she marked career-highs with four makes in four attempts against Harvard. Senior Bethany O'Dell has gone 19-for-23 for the team's second-best performance. Senior Briana McFadden's perfect 8-for-8 free throw outing against Boston College on Nov. 24 is a Patriot League game high. 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, sophomore Meredith Ward, owning the position. So far this season, the guards have combined to score 251 points and have stolen the ball a position-high 42 times. The guard position also leads the team in assists, combining for 58 dishes.
THIEVES IN THE NIGHT: The 2009-2010 Crusaders have been quick on their feet, collecting 70 steals in eight games, an average of 8.8 steals per-contest. The team has stolen the ball a season-high 14 times in two games, against Central Connecticut and Bryant. Their performances also rank as a conference-high while their steals average ranks second among league foes. Senior Bethany O'Dell is the team-leader with 16 steals thus far.
RECORD CLIMBING: Briana McFadden and Bethany O'Dell have already etched thier names into the Holy Cross single-season record books. McFadden currently ranks first with her 37.5 average minutes played during the 2008-2009 season while O'Dell holds the top three spots in three-pointers made (87, 2006-2007, 65, 2008-2009, 63, 2007-2008). O'Dell also holds the top rank in three-pointers attempted (206, 2006-2007) and is sixth in three-point percentage (42.2, 2006-2007). McFadden places third and fifth in free throws made (152, 2008-2009, 137, 2007-2008) and fifth and eighth in free throws attempted (191, 2008-2009, 169, 2007-2008). Both players are tied for sixth with32 games started in 2007-2008. McFadden is already fifth on the career records list for three-pointers attempted (448); three pointers made (143) and free throw percentage (79.8). O'Dell currently ranks third on the Holy Cross career records list for three-point percentage (39.4) and also ranks first all-time at Holy Cross and now third all-time in the Patriot League with 236 career three-point field goals made.
TALE OF TWO HALVES: Scoring in the second half has also been troublesome for the Crusaders so far this season. While opponents outscore Holy Cross in both halves, the team has kept opponents within six points in the first 20 minutes. So far Holy Cross has scored 229 points in the first half next to opponents 251 points. They have taken a lead into the halftime in five of eight match-ups. The second half is a bit more lopsided, with opponents tallying a 272-200 second half scoring advantage. Luckily, the team has escaped the comeback attempts in three contests, while losing the lead to Yale (66-60) and Penn State (52-48).
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES:
Record: 4-2, 0-0 CAA
HEAD COACH: Daynia La-Force Mann is now into her fourth season as head coach of the Northeastern women's basketball program in 2009-2010. She has collected a record of 34-62 in her young coaching career, while leading last year's team to a 12-19 overall record. The squad also went 8-10 in the CAA, good for sixth place in the conference despite being picked to finish ninth in the pre-season polls. La-Force Mann also led Northeastern to its second consecutive CAA Tournament quarterfinals appearance. Prior to coming to Northeastern, La-Force Mann, spent a highly successful 2005-06 season at the University of New Haven, where she was named the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, as she guided the Chargers to the NYCAC regular season and tournament titles. Over her entire coaching career, La-Force Mann has marked 54 wins and 68 losses.
2009-2010 Team: The Huskies have gotten a good jump start on the young season, going 4-2 thus far in non-conference competition. The 2009-2010 squad is well seasoned, with 11 letterwinners returning. The team also welcomes three newcomers, with Rachael Pecota leading her class with 8.7 points-per-game in 119 minutes played. Northeastern's regular starters consist of three sophomores, including guard Brittany Wilson, who leads the team with 14.0 points-per-game. Fellow classmate and guard Kashaia Cannon follows with 11.2 points-per-game and a team-high 14 assists. The final starting sophomore, guard Jamie Conroy, is the team's leading rebounder, bringing down an average 4.7 boards per-game. The Huskies have already competed against three opponents that are also on Holy Cross' schedule. Picking up wins against Army and Rhode Island, Northeastern also fell to the No. 1 ranked Connecticut Huskies in its first game of the season. The Huskies topped Delaware State and most recently Massachusetts as well. Its only other loss came in the hands of Boston University, who the Crusaders scrimmaged prior to the 2009-2010 season.
NEXT UP FOR THE CRUSADERS: Holy Cross will complete its two-game homestand before breaking for finals, taking on Vermont on Monday, Dec. 7. The Crusaders look to break the two-game win streak the Catamounts have collected in the last two meetings as the game time is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass.