Crusaders Ready For Marriott Cavalier Classic Starting Tuesday

Alyssa May

What: Holy Cross at the Marriott Cavalier Classic
When: December 28-29, 2010
Where: John Paul Jones Arena (14,539), Charlottesville, Va.
Tournament Host: Virginia
Tournament Participants: East Tennessee State, Holy Cross, North Carolina A&T, Virginia

Day One:  Holy Cross vs. East Tennessee State, 4:30 p.m., Dec. 28
North Carolina A&T vs. Virginia, 7:00 p.m., Dec. 28
Day Two: Consolation Game, 4:30 p.m., Dec. 29
Championship Game, 7:00 p.m., Dec. 29
Unofficial Live Stats:  Click Here

Series Record versus East Tennessee State: First Meeting
Series Record versus North Carolina A&T:  First Meeting
Series Record versus Virginia: Virginia 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 39 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 52 of 100 tournament games, including a 1-3 record from the Dead River and Hawk Holiday Classics, played last season. The last time Holy Cross hosted its own tournament was in the 1987-1988 season, where they topped Niagara and Villanova and was crowned the Crusader Invitational champion. Over the past 11 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: All-time, Holy Cross has faced just one of the three other Cavalier Classic participants. Virginia has frequented the Crusaders' schedule twice while East Tennessee State and North Carolina A&T have never faced a Holy Cross team. The Cavaliers are 2-0 when playing Holy Cross, winning both games when playing Holy Cross in the Cavalier Classic. They first met in the 1989 version of the Classic, with Virginia earning a 60-46 victory. The two teams then met in the 2005 Cavalier Classic, as Holy Cross won its first round of action against Boston University, and then fell to Virginia in the championship round, 80-39. Head coach Bill Gibbons has been at the helm for both losses, while Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan, in her 34th season at the helm, has won both meetings.

HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE ATLANTIC SUN CONFERENCE: In program history, Holy Cross has never matched up with an Atlantic Sun team. There are 11 squads that make up the conference including; Belmont, Campbell, East Tennessee State, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, Mercer, North Florida, South Carolina-Upstate and Stetson. Tuesday's meeting between Holy Cross and East Tennessee State will serve as the first competition between Holy Cross and an Atlantic Sun team.  

Record: 3-5, 1-1 Atlantic Sun
Head Coach: ETSU head coach Karen Kemp is in her 17th season at the helm of the Lady Bucs basketball program. Since taking over the program in 1994, Kemp has posted 237 career wins, giving her the most wins in school history. In all, Kemp has collected a career-record of 240-230, including a 3-5 record so far this season. Last season under Kemp's watch, the Lady Bucs made their second straight trip to the NCAA tournament, marking the third straight year ETSU appeared in postseason play. In her career, Kemp has coached over 20 all-conference award recipients, including four Player of the Year winners and two Freshman of the Year candidates. Kemp, named head coach on August 8, 1994, came to ETSU after successful stints as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Mississippi State University and the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

2010-2011 Squad: The Lady Bucs stand at 3-5 so far this year, winning their first two games against Chattanooga (77-60) and Richmond (96-84). The team then dropped five straight decisions to Appalachian State (75-56), Ohio State (80-47), Middle Tennessee (87-71), South Carolina-Upstate (78-70) and North Carolina (87-47). The Bucs most recently broke up the five-game slide with a 76-61 victory over Atlantic Sun foe, Campbell. The squad will play at Tennessee before traveling to the Cavalier Classic. Tuesday's game against Holy Cross will be the first time they have played on a neutral floor this year. Senior guard Tara Davis leads the team with 13.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, and has hit 34.4 percent (33 of 96) of her field goals and 90.9 percent (30 of 33) of her free throw attempts. Freshman forward/guard Destiny Mitchell has averaged 13.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, while starting junior forward, Natalie Pickwell, has averaged 10.9 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. ETSU is coming off a 2009-2010 season in which it posted an overall record of 23-9 and taking first place in the Atlantic Sun conference after going 18-2 against league foes. They lost to Xavier in the opening round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament, falling 94-82.

HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE: In program history, Holy Cross has played against three out of the 12 teams that make up the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Crusaders have won two of their four meetings against MEAC opponents. Holy Cross has faced Howard twice all-time, splitting the series 1-1 after falling to the Bison at the Hawk Holiday Classic last season. The Crusaders have also played against Delaware State and Coppin State. Holy Cross beat Delaware State, 74-55, on Dec. 2, 2000 and lost to Coppin State, 72-70, on Dec. 29, 1991. The squad has never faced Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M, Hampton, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Morgan State, Norfolk State, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina-Central, Savannah State or South Carolina State.

Record: 3-5, 1-0 MEAC
HEAD COACH: Aggies head coach Patricia Cage-Gibbs is in her sixth season at the helm of the N.C. A&T women's basketball program. Throughout her career, she has recorded 474 wins and 269 losses, including a 3-5 record so far this season. She has also won 103 out of the 163 games played as head coach of the Aggies program. In 2009-2010, Bibbs led the Aggies to their third straight 20-win season as well as their third straight regular-season MEAC Championship. It was Bibbs' 13th career regular-season title. Before joining the N.C. A&T family, Bibbs established Hampton women's basketball as a MEAC power from 1997-2004. In just her first season as head coach at Hampton, Bibbs took the Lady Pirates basketball program into uncharted waters. She inherited a young team consisting of five starting guards and guided them to a 1997-1998 MEAC regular season Co-Championship with an overall record of 22-7 (16-2 MEAC).

2010-2011 SQUAD: The Aggies stand at 3-5 so far this year, splitting their first two games against Central Michigan (L, 119-71) and Winthrop (W, 81-56). The team then dropped three straight decisions to Old Dominion (79-65), Rutgers (88-59) and Charlotte (89-58). N.C. A&T is 2-1 in its last three games, beating out conference-foe Norfolk State (74-58) and Marshall (57-52) and then most recently dropping a 76-51 decision to Memphis. The squad is also 0-1 when playing on a neutral floor. Senior forward/guard Jaleesa Sams leads the team with 15.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, and has hit 43.5 percent (30 of 69) of her field goals and 73.7 percent (28 of 38) of her free throw attempts. Sophomore guard JaQuayla Berry adds an average of 10.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game as well. N.C. A&T is coming off a 2009-2010 season in which it posted an overall record of 23-11, going 14-2 against MEAC foes.

HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE: In program history, Holy Cross has played against eight of the 12 teams that compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference. This season, the squad faced Boston College and will face Virginia as their only ACC competitors. Combined, Holy Cross has registered an all-time 9-26 record against the Eagles and Cavaliers, including this season's loss against the No. 24 Boston College. Against the other six conference teams, the Crusaders have notched three wins and eight losses throughout program history. The team boasts a winning record against North Carolina State (1-0), has an even record with Maryland (1-1) and North Carolina (1-1) and has posted losing records against Duke (0-4), Miami (0-1) and Wake Forest (0-1). The squad has never played Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech. 

Record: 7-5, 0-0 ACC
HEAD COACH: Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan is in her 34th season at the helm of the Cavaliers women's basketball program. In her 33 years at the helm of the Virginia women's basketball program, Ryan has recorded 20 or more wins in a season 23 times and 30 or more twice en route to 24 NCAA Tournament appearances and three consecutive Final Four berths. She holds a career record of 727-313, including the 7-5 record her team has put together this season. In the season-opening game of the 2009-2010 season, Ryan reached the 700-win milestone with a victory at Maryland-Baltimore County. Only six other active coaches have reached that mark - Pat Summitt (Tennessee), C. Vivian Stringer (Rutgers), Sylvia Hatchell (North Carolina), Tara VanDerveer (Stanford), Robin Selvig (Montana) and Andy Landers (Georgia).

2010-2011 SQUAD: The Cavaliers stand at 7-5 so far this year, winning their first two games against Hofstra (82-66) and Mount St. Mary's (81-58). The team then lost four out of its next six games, dropping decisions to Tennessee (85-73), Iowa State (66-48), West Virginia (57-43) and Ohio State (74-46) while topping Longwood (74-63) and Texas Christian (59-55). The squad rebounded for three-straight wins over Drexel (63-54), Radford (76-52) and Maryland-Baltimore County (61-46) before losing its last decision to James Madison (82-80). The squad is also 5-0 when playing on its home hardwood, the game floor for the Cavalier Classic. Junior forward Chelsea Shine leads the team with 11.0 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, and has hit 44.2 percent (50 of 113) of her field goals and 80.0 percent (32 of 40) of her free throw attempts. Fellow junior guard Ariana Moorer adds an average of 10.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in 10 games played. Virginia is coming off a 2009-2010 season in which it posted an overall record of 21-10, going 9-5 against ACC foes.

ROAD SERIES: Tuesday's tournament is the part of a seven-game road series that started in Smithfield, R.I. against Bryant on Dec. 19. After falling to the Bulldogs and Northeastern, the Crusaders now head south to Charlottesville, Va., competing in the Marriott Cavalier Classic from Dec. 28-29 and looking for their second road win of the season. The team then goes north to Hanover, N.H. on Jan. 2 to play Dartmouth and then wraps up non-conference action against UMass in Amherst, Mass., on Jan. 5. The seventh and final game in the road series sends the Crusaders to Easton, Pa., for their first Patriot League match-up against Lafayette, held on Jan. 8. On the season, Holy Cross stands at 1-4 when traveling and is averaging 51.1 points per road game. Home teams average 75.8 points and are knocking down 46.8 percent of their baskets, while the Crusaders shoot 33.2 percent as the visitors.

ALL-AROUND AMY: Sophomore starting forward Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) is continuing to show off her full strength and versatility on all sides of the basketball court this season. Through the 11 games played, Lepley is averaging 9.8 points, a team-best 5.9 rebounds per game and is shooting 42.7 percent (44-for-103) from the floor. She also leads the team with 35 assists and ranks second with 19 steals. She has already recorded two double-doubles this season, an 18-point, 11-rebound outing against Yale and a 13-point, 12-rebound effort in the team's first win against Quinnipiac. Her 12 rebounds against Quinnipiac were a career-high while her 17 field goal attempts against Yale were also a career-best. She tied her career-high with nine made field-goals against the Bulldogs as well. Lepley has seven double-digit scoring outings this season, including four out of the last five games (13 points against Central Connecticut, 10 points against Maine, 10 points against Boston College and 12 points against Bryant). She has led or tied the team-high in rebounding in six out of the 11 games as well. She has also led the team in points once (against Yale), in steals three times and in assists three times. Amongst Patriot League leaders, Lepley ranks third in assists (3.2), fifrth in steals (1.7), eighth in rebounds and 15th in scoring. She has also played in an average of 28.4 minutes per game. Lepley was named to the Patriot League All-Rookie team last season after playing a full season of basketball for the first time since her junior year in high school, averaging 23.7 minutes, 6.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Lepley also claimed six Patriot League Rookie of the Week awards. The Massachusetts native also finished the season with a 44.2 field goal percentage, a team-high, and led the team in rebounding in four contests, including a season-high 10 rebounds twice.

SMOOTH SMITH: Freshman Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) has completely emerged into her role as a starting guard for the Crusaders. On the season, Smith is averaging 12.5 points, 3.3 rebounds per game and is shooting 36.6 percent from the floor (45 of 123). Thirty-five of her field goals made have come as three-point shots, while 94 of her field goal attempts have come as three-point shots as well, as she is sinking 37.2 percent of her three-point tries. Smith reached new heights in the game against Northeastern, as she poured in a season-best 22 points, the most points a Holy Cross player has put up so far this year. She also marked season-bests with eight field goals made, including six treys. She has also posted double-figures in six out of the last seven games. Smith has either led or tied for the team lead in points in five out of the 11 games played thus far, including the 22 points scored against Northeastern the last time out. She has notched seven double-digit scoring affairs in all (12 vs. UConn, 16 vs. New Hampshire, 14 vs. Harvard, 15 vs. Central Connecticut, 21 vs. Maine, 14 vs. Bryant and 22 vs. Northeastern). According to Monday's rankings, Smith ranks 27th in the nation in three-pointers made per game, which is now 3.2. She is first amongst league leaders in that category as well. She is also 10th in three-point field goal percentage and seventh in scoring average amidst league leaders. She also has two Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors under her belt (11/29 and 12/6). She ranks within the top-10 in assists (sixth), steals (fourth) and minutes played (fifth). In those categories, Smith is averaging 2.7 assists, 1.8 steals and 32.0 minutes. Her 20 total steals are also the team-high.

FREMEAU BREAKS LOOSE: Senior forward Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) continues to be one of the team's biggest offensive threats and defensive presences so far this season. Currently, Fremeau tie for the Holy Cross team-lead with a 12.5 points per game average, adds 3.5 rebounds per game and is making and taking the team's largest number of shots (56-for-139 from the floor). She poured in a career-high 20 points in the team's 72-60 win over Quinnipiac on Nov. 17, finishing the game making seven of her 17 field goal attempts, both season-highs. Her 20 points bested her previous career-high of 18 points, which she collected four times over her career. She has posted a total of seven double-digit scoring outings this season (13 vs. Yale, 20 at Quinnipiac, 16 vs. New Hampshire, 15 vs. Harvard, 13 vs. Maine, 16 vs. Boston College and 19 vs. Northeastern). She has led or tied the team in scoring three times. Fremeau currently ranks seventth amongst Patriot League individuals with her 12.5 scoring average after putting up 19 points against Northeastern the last time out. She also averages 30.2 minutes per game and is shooting 40.3 percent from the floor (11th in league standings). Her 2.7 assists per game ranks sixth in the league as she has a total of 30 assists thus far. She collected seven assists against Yale in the season opener, one shy of her career-high set against Bucknell on Jan. 16, 2010. 

THE FROSH IMPACT: Through the 11 games played so far this season, the five-member freshman class is showing why head coach Bill Gibbons has so much faith in their immediate impact on the program. So far, the newcomers have scored 295 of the team's 685 total points, are bringing down 132 out of 381 rebounds and have added 56 of the 181 assists and 46 of the 97 total steals. Together, the five are averaging 5.4 points, 2.4 rebounds per game and have made 95 of their 269 field goal attempts (35.3 percent).

WILLFUL WARD: Junior Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.), who began the season as the team's sixth-man off the bench, moved in to the starting role at guard against New Hampshire on Nov. 23. After starting the last six games, Ward now averages 6.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game and is shooting 37.5 percent from the floor (21-for-56) on the entire season. In her second consecutive start against Harvard, Ward broke out for a career-best 17-point outing, sinking seven of her 11 field goal attempts. Her seven field goals made were a career-high as she also posted six assists, a season-best. Ward now has four double-digit scoring outings in 11 games played (14 vs. Quinnipiac, 10 at Fordham, 11 vs. New Hampshire and 17 vs. Harvard). She is extremely calm and collected at the free throw line this season as well, as she has made 28 free throws in 29 attempts (96.6 percent) including a perfect 12-for-12 performance at Quinnipiac. Her free throw percentage is amidst the nation's best, as she ranks seventh amongst all NCAA leaders as of last Monday. She now ranks second amongst Patriot League leaders, with Lafayette's Lauren Jackson ranking first with a 96.8 free throw percentage. In all, Ward has led the squad in scoring twice (Fordham, Harvard) and has led or tied the team in assists five times (Harvard, Central Connecticut, Boston College, Bryant and Northeastern). She has a total of 30 assists this season, averaging 2.7 per game, which also ranks sixth amongst Patriot League leaders.

LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING: With no player on the roster listed taller than 6-1, the Holy Cross women's basketball team knew that height may be a challenge in terms of team defense. However, the Crusaders showed that height has not been an issue in almost all of the games played thus far. They pounded Yale on the boards in the first game of the season, collecting 40 rebounds next to the Bulldogs' 28 and then picked up a 51-45 rebounding edge against Quinnipiac, who had four of its five starters listed over 5-8. Its 51 rebounds were a team-high so far this season. Holy Cross also topped Harvard with a 44-34 rebound advantage, out-rebounded Central Connecticut 45-41 and Northeastern 29-28. To date, the team has 383 rebounds, including 135 offensive and 246 defensive boards. As a team, Holy Cross ranks fifth amongst Patriot League leaders with its average of 12.3 offensive boards per game. Lepley leads all rebounders with 65 rebounds (20 offensive, 45 defensive) while the team as a whole has 55 rebounds. Opponents have tallied 416 rebounds, including 138 offensive and 277 defensive. The squad has been out-rebounded by Connecticut (48-16), Fordham (45-29), New Hampshire (39-36), Maine (33-32), Boston College (36-29) and Bryant (39-31).

GOOD GRABS BY GANSER: Freshman Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) is emerging as a great force underneath the basket for the Crusaders this season. Currently, Ganser is averaging 5.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game and is sinking 43.3 percent of her shots (13-for-30). She has played in all 11 games thus far, tying or leading the team in rebounding four times (8 vs. Fordham, 5 vs. Maine, 7 vs. Bryant, 6 vs. Northeastern), collecting a season-high of eight rebounds three times this season against the Rams, New Hampshire and Harvard. She also tallied a season-best 10 points against Central Connecticut including seven points in the paint and her first career three-point shot. She followed with nine points against Maine, notching season-highs with three field goals made in five attempts. Because of her defensive efforts, Ganser now ranks second on the team with 57 total rebounds. She has also made her way up on the list of Patriot League bests, as she ranks 13th in rebounding average (5.2) and ninth in defensive rebounds (4.1 per-game).

STANDOUT PERFORMANCES: So far this season, a number of Holy Cross team and player performances have been at the top of the league's individual player and team game-highs. Meredith Ward's 12-for-12 free throw performance against Quinnipiac is an individual best, while Alex Smith's 14 three-point shot attempts against Maine and six three-pointers made against Northeastern are also a high. Lepley's nine field goals made against Yale rank second while Smith has also tallied the second-highest number of steals (five against New Hampshire and Bryant). As a squad, the Crusaders have collected team-highs with 26 total assists versus Maine and 16 steals against New Hampshire. They rank second in conference team-highs with their 31 field goals made against Yale, a 50.9 field goal percentage versus Harvard, 28 free throws made against New Hampshire and 11 three-point field goals made against Northeastern.

HEAD COACH BILL GIBBONS: 26th SEASON: Bill Gibbons is in his 26th season at the helm of the Holy Cross women's basketball program and 30th as a member of the Holy Cross basketball family in 2010-2011. He has compiled a 480-252 record as head coach, including a 4-7 record at the helm this season. Her ranks 28th on the active Division I win leaders list as well. His quarter-century pledge to the team has made a major impact on all aspects of the women's basketball world and especially in the surrounding community. He has led the Crusaders to nine Patriot League Championships in the last 15 years. He has also made 12 postseason appearances (11 NCAA Tournaments and one WNIT) in his 24 years as head coach. With sixteen 20-win seasons under his belt, Gibbons has cemented himself and the women's basketball program as one of the best in the East. The sixth coach of the women's program at Holy Cross, Gibbons has enjoyed the longest tenure in the position. He has led the Holy Cross women's basketball program to more victories than any other coach, and is the winningest coach in Holy Cross Basketball history. With his 358th victory, he surpassed George Blaney (357 wins as head coach of the Holy Cross men's basketball program), who had hired him to be his assistant coach in 1981. Now with more than 450 wins under his belt, Gibbons is the second-winningest coach in Holy Cross Athletics history, behind legendary baseball coach Jack Barry, who totaled 616 wins from 1921-1960.

CRUSADERS PICKED FIFTH IN PRESEASON POLL: Holy Cross was picked to finish fifth in the 2010-2011 Patriot League preseason poll, receiving 42 votes. American was chosen to finish first, receiving nine first-place votes as senior forward Michelle Kirk was also voted Preseason Player of the Year. The Eagles earned a league-high 93 points and was followed closely behind by reigning Patriot League Champion, Lehigh, who received seven first place votes and 91 points. Navy was picked third with 70 points, while Army (59 points) and Holy Cross (42) were selected fourth and fifth respectively. Colgate and Lafayette tied for sixth place with 40 votes and Bucknell wrapped up the standings in eighth place with 31 points.

FREMEAU, MAY AND WARD NAMED 2010-2011 TEAM CAPTAINS: Fremeau, May and Ward were named captains for the 2010-2011 season. Fremeau topped the team in rebounding last year, ranking 10th in the league as well with an average of 5.4 rebounds per game. She is also a threat not only on defense but on offense as well as she also posted a 12.3 scoring average, ranking seventh amongst league individuals and third on the team last season. She was named to the second team All-Patriot League for her efforts. May is the veteran starting in the backcourt, as she returns as the team's best defensive player. As a junior, she averaged 22.1 minutes, 3.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Her 4.1 rebound average was second highest on the team. Ward is also listed among the veterans in the backcourt, as she moves from the point guard position to the shooting guard in her junior season. Ward saw action in all 31 games last season, averaging 26.8 minutes, 5.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. She ranked second on the team and ninth in the Patriot League with 72 assists, averaging 2.3 assists per game. Combined, the three scored 661 out of the 899 points posted by the team's returning letterwinners. They also pulled down 348 out of the 502 rebounds collected by this year's returners. Through the 11 games of action, the captains have put up 266 points, 113 rebounds and 80 assists.

WELCOME TO WORCESTER: There are two new faces handling front office duties for the 2010-2011 Crusader basketball squad, assistant coaches Chante Bonds and Kristin Drabyn. Bonds spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the Fairleigh Dickinson University women's basketball team. In addition to her assistant coaching responsibilities at FDU, Bonds scheduled the team's travel arrangements, worked with the strength and conditioning program and recruited on the east coast and Canada. She was a four-year letter winner on the Bentley women's basketball team, graduating in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in Informational Design and Corporate Communication. Drabyn spent the previous two seasons as a graduate assistant coach for the women's basketball team at Texas Tech. While at Texas Tech, Drabyn assisted in the everyday operations of the women's basketball program, including serving as the video coordinator. Drabyn was also a four-year member of the University of Maryland Baltimore County women's basketball team. She graduated as the school's all-time record holder in free throw percentage (90%) and in made three pointers (169). She co-captained the squad as a senior and was an All-Conference selection in 2008. In 2007, UMBC was the America East Tournament champions, earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Drabyn was also named the America East Sportsmanship winner in 2007. A 2008 graduate of UMBC with a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Communications and Exercise Physiology, Drabyn earned her Master's degree in Sports Management from Texas Tech in 2010.

RETURNING TO GLORY: The 2010-2011 season is the first instance under Gibbons' tutelage that a player on the roster has not participated in the NCAA Tournament. The last time a Holy Cross team made the NCAA Tournament was at the end of the 2006-2007 season. Holy Cross has played in the Big Dance 12 times, posting a 1-12 all-time record. It received a team-best seventh seeding in 1985 and played as the 16th seed in its last appearance, 2007. The Crusaders have also participated in the WNIT, playing in the 2002 season. 

PATRIOT LEAGUE DOMINANCE: Despite its preseason ranking, the Holy Cross women's basketball team has its eyes set back on the top spot amongst the Patriot League's eight teams. Since its inaugural season back in 1991, the team has posted 237 league victories and just 63 losses. It has made 20 appearances in the Patriot League Tournament, boasting 11 championships and a 38-9 all-time record. The team was seeded fifth in the tournament last season, a program low, but proved that it could not be counted out, topping Army, 57-53 in the quarterfinal round before falling to the 2010 champion, Lehigh, in the semifinals. The Crusaders are most successful against Colgate as they have mounted a 41-3 all-time record against the Raiders. The team also boasts a 43-8 record against Lafayette. Army and American have given Holy Cross the most trouble, as the two have combined for 24 of the 63 wins against the Crusaders. Lehigh has put up 11 wins against Holy Cross as well.

RENEWING OLD RIVALRIES: Fordham, a former Patriot League foe, Massachusetts, an in-state rival, and Quinnipiac reenter the Crusaders' slate this season. The Crusaders and Rams have played in a total 38 contests, dating back to the 1983 season. Holy Cross holds the 31-7 all-time edge over Fordham, falling to the Rams on Nov. 20. Massachusetts and Holy Cross have faced off 16 times in program history and will vie for the lead in the all-time series as it is tied at 8-8. The Minutewomen own a three game win-streak against Holy Cross, however, winning the last meeting 77-46 in 2007. The Crusaders also topped Quinnipiac on Nov. 17, taking a 3-2 edge in the all-time series.

HOLY CROSS AMONGST THE NATION'S BEST: Holy Cross has gained recognition with many of the nation's top teams and players after the second round of the NCAA Division I rankings was released this week. Currently, the Crusaders rank 33rd in assists per game (16.2), 96th in assist/turnover ratio (0.82) and 197th in scoring offense. Alex Smith remains a top the nation's three-point performers as she ranks 27th in three-point shots made per game (2.9) and 139th in three-point percentage (34.1). Lastly, Meredith Ward ranks seventh on the national scene with her 96.3 free throw percentage.

NEXT UP FOR THE CRUSADERS: Holy Cross will continue action at the Marriott Cavalier Classic, playing in either the consolation or championship round. The consolation round begins at 4:30 p.m. while the championship round starts at 7:00 p.m. All games will be played at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va. Once the tournament ends, the Crusaders will open up the New Year with a Jan. 2 trip to play Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H. Game time is set for 2:00 p.m. at the Leede Arena.