Crusaders Take Down Harvard, 72-53

Meredith Ward

WORCESTER, Mass. – Junior Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) earned a career-best shooting performance, leading the team with 17 points and going 7-for-11 from the floor to lead the Holy Cross women's basketball team to a commanding 72-53 win against Harvard at the Hart Center. With the win, the Crusaders improve to 3-3 on the season while the Crimson move to an overall record of 3-2. The team led by at least 32 points in the game, the biggest lead it has taken since the 2008-2009 season.

The Crusaders jumped out to a 9-3 advantage early on in the first half, earning four points from sophomore Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) as the squad also went 4-for-4 from the floor. Freshman Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) sank her second three-point shot of the game at 10:38 to give Holy Cross a 20-11 lead as the Crusaders continued to control the offensive tempo throughout the first 10 minutes of play. Smith then gave the team a double-digit lead on her third three-point shot, bringing the score to 23-11 at 9:30. The Crusaders completed the half on a 15-0 run, keeping Harvard from scoring after the 7:35 mark. Two made free-throws by senior Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) with 34 seconds left in the half gave Holy Cross a 26-point advantage, 42-16, heading into the locker room. The squad shot a season-best 51.6 percent in the first stanza (16-for-31) while the Crimson managed just 15.4 shooting from the floor (4-for-26). Smith led all scorers with 12 points.

Harvard opened the second 20 minutes with a three-point shot, but senior Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.) answered with a three-point shot of her own, keeping the squad's 26-point lead with one minute gone. Ward followed with a three-point play, setting the score at 54-28 with seven minutes gone by. The Crusaders then took a commanding 30-point lead, 58-28, at 11:15 as freshman Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) and Fremeau tallied back-to-back baskets. Harvard would outscore the Crusaders 13-8 over the next eight minutes, bringing the score to 66-41 with just over three minutes to go. Holy Cross would remain ahead by at least 17 points the rest of the way, however, as defense remained a key element in the final 72-53 win.

A total of three players finished in double-digits for Holy Cross as Fremeau and Smith added 15 and 14 points respectively to Ward's 17 scores. In the game, the Crusaders shot 50.9 percent (28-for-55) while the Crimson shot 26.2 percent (16-for-61). Holy Cross also took the rebounding edge, 44-34 as May led the defense with a season-high nine rebounds. Harvard had three players score 12 points, tying for the team high.

Holy Cross will welcome an undefeated Central Connecticut team to the Hart Center next on Wednesday, Dec. 1. The Blue Devils travel to Worcester, Mass., for a 7:00 p.m. game.