Women's Basketball Looks To Bounce Back At Navy On Wednesday
Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (9-16, 5-5 PL) vs. Navy (14-10, 7-3 PL)
Date: February 16, 2011
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Alumni Hall (5,710), Annapolis, Md.
Patriot League All-Access: www.patriotleague.org/allaccess/
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 37-8
Last Meeting: Navy 53, Holy Cross 39 (January 19, 2011, Worcester, Mass.)
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST NAVY: Wednesday's match-up will be the 46th meeting all-time between Holy Cross and Navy, with the Crusaders owning a 37-8 advantage over the Midshipmen. The teams first met during the 1992-1993 season, as the Crusaders won 75-62 in Annapolis, Md. Holy Cross continued to win the next seven meetings, outscoring Navy 555-503. The Crusaders compiled their largest win streak of 11 games against the Mids from Feb. 22, 2004 until March 8, 2008 after winning 10 straight from Feb. 9, 1999-Feb. 23, 2003. Out of the eight total losses against Navy, four of them have come on the Hart Center hardwood, including the last three meetings in Worcester. The last time Holy Cross topped Navy at home was on Feb. 20, 2008, winning 56-53. Holy Cross is successful when playing on Navy's home court, recording 16 wins and four losses all-time. Navy took last season's meeting at Alumni Hall, 75-60, as the Crusaders last won in Annapolis on Feb. 18, 2009. Head coach Bill Gibbons is responsible for the 37-8 record while Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper holds a 4-1 record against the Crusaders since taking over the reins of the women's basketball program in 2008. The Midshipmen are currently on a three-game win streak against Holy Cross as they came away victorious in both meetings last season and earlier this season. Holy Cross has never lost three-straight games to the Mids and looks to end the slide on Wednesday.
HOLY CROSS AGAINST CONFERENCE FOES: The 2010-2011 season marks the 22nd year of Patriot League competition for the Crusaders. After Saturday's loss at Bucknell, Holy Cross stands at 5-5 in league play, dropping to a tie for fourth place with Army. Navy and American are now tied for first in the league with a 7-3 league record, while Lehigh, who has won five straight, sits in second at 6-4. Over the last 21 seasons, the team has competed in a total of 298 league match-ups, winning 232 and dropping 66 games total for a .779 winning percentage. 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 squad also recorded its first losing season in Patriot League play in 2009-2010, going 5-9. Holy Cross possesses two unblemished Patriot League seasons, going 12-0 in 1990-1991, and doing it again in 1996-1997. Head coach Bill Gibbons has been along for the entire ride and is responsible for the 232-66 league record. In all, Holy Cross has made 20 appearances in the Patriot League Tournament, boasting 11 championships and a 38-9 all-time record. The Crusaders are most successful against Colgate as they have mounted a 42-3 all-time record against the Raiders. The team also boasts a 45-8 record against Lafayette. Army and American have given Holy Cross the most trouble, as the two have combined for 24 of the 66 wins against the Crusaders. Lehigh has put up 12 wins against Holy Cross as well.
ROADWOES: Holy Cross ends its three-game road stretch at Navy on Wednesday, Feb. 16 after winning at Army and falling to Bucknell on the road the last time out. The Crusaders could not keep their win streak on the road going, dropping a 68-52 decision to the Bison on Saturday night. In all, Holy Cross is 4-8 when playing on the road this season, averaging 55.0 points per road game. Home teams average 70.0 points and are knocking down 43.5 percent of their baskets, while the Crusaders shoot 34.1 percent as the visitors. On a neutral floor, as in the Cavalier Classic, Holy Cross posted 65.0 points per game and allowed an average of 82.5 points to be scored. The Crusaders are also out-rebounded by an average of 7.9 rebounds when playing on the road as Bucknell out-rebounded the squad 38-22 in Lewisburg on Saturday.
HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Holy Cross, who has played in 11 home match-ups so far, has two home games left, hosting American on Saturday, Feb. 19 and wrapping up the regular season home slate against Colgate on Wednesday, Feb. 23 against Colgate. The Crusaders are 5-6 when playing on their home hardwood this season, winning against New Hampshire, Harvard, Maine, Bucknell and Lafayette, and falling to Yale, Central Connecticut, Boston College, Army, Navy and Lehigh. The Crusaders currently have a .774 home victory percentage since becoming a Division I program as the 2010-2011 season marks the 36th season of women's basketball competition at the Hart Center. The program holds an all-time 333-111 advantage at home and has posted 29 winning records at home and just five losing seasons, including last year's 4-9 record. A total of forty-seven teams have never won at the Hart Center, including conference opponent, Colgate, who the Crusaders are 17-0 against. Combined, the Crusaders have won 156 of 197 meetings against this year's home opponents, including a 125-24 record against Patriot League foes (2-3 this season).
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 25 games played, Lepley is averaging 9.0 points and a team-best 5.6 rebounds per game. She has one of the best shooting percentages, 40.3 percent (89-for-221), amongst starters, also ranking 11th amongst Patriot League leaders. Against Bucknell on Saturday, Lepley recorded eight points, two assists and one rebound in 24 minutes of action. 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 and were the most rebounds collected by a Crusader this season. She tied her career-high with nine made field goals against the Bulldogs as well. Lepley has recorded 10 double-digit scoring outings this season; 13 points against Central Connecticut, 10 points against Maine, 10 points against Boston College, 12 points against Bryant, 13 points against East Tennessee State, 14 points against North Carolina A&T, 10 points vs. Navy and 11 points against Lafayette (2/5). She has led or tied the team-high in rebounding in 11 out of the 25 games, highlighted by her 10 rebounds in the win over Colgate on Jan. 26. She has led the team in points twice, in steals five times and in assists three times. Amongst Patriot League leaders, Lepley ranks 12th in assists (2.3), 10th in steals (1.4), ninth in rebounding and 16th in scoring. She has also played in an average of 26.3 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 ranks second on the team with 11.6 points, adds 3.4 rebounds per game and shoots 38.1 percent from the floor (93 of 244). Seventy of her field goals made (75 percent) have come as three-point shots, which now ranks second in the Holy Cross single season records list for three-pointers made. She is 17 three-point field goals made off the record Bethany O'Dell set in 2006-2007. One hundred-eighty three of her field goal attempts have come as three-point shots as well, which now ties for second in the Holy Cross single season records. Against Bucknell on Saturday, Smith extending her double-digit scoring streak to three games, collecting 11 points on three-for-nine shooting. She reached the 20-point mark for the third time this season against Lafayette on Feb. 5, leading the team in scoring while also dishing out five assists, winning the team's Winter Homecoming Game MVP award. Against Northeastern on Dec. 22, Smith tallied a season-high 22 points, also notching season-bests with eight field goals made, including six treys, which ranks third amongst the program's single-game records. Smith has either led or tied for the team lead in points in eight out of the 25 games played as well. She has notched 14 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, 22 vs. Northeastern, 16 vs. East Tennessee State, 10 vs. North Carolina A&T, 10 at Dartmouth, 17 at Lafayette, 11 vs. Bucknell, 20 vs. Lafayette, 18 at Army). According to the Feb. 14 NCAA rankings, Smith sits at 12th in the nation in the three-pointers made per-game category (2.9). She is first amongst league leaders in that category as well. She is seventh in three-point field goal percentage (38.3) and 12th in scoring average amidst league leaders. She now has three Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors under her belt (11/29, 12/6, 2/7), was named AT&T Crusader of the Week on Dec. 20 and named to the Cavalier Classic's All-Tournament Team. Smith showed off her versatility against Dartmouth as she led the team in rebounding for the first time this season, bringing down a season-high eight rebounds, while also collecting six steals, another season-high. She is the team-leader in assists, collecting 78 in all. In the league, she ranks within the top-10 in assists (fourth), steals (sixth) and minutes played (sixth). In those categories, Smith is averaging 3.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 31.6 minutes per game.
FREMEAU BREAKS LOOSE: Senior Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) continues to be one of the team's biggest offensive threats and defensive presences so far this season, moving up to 24th in the team's all-time leading scorers list after reaching the 20-point plateau (21 points total) in Saturday's loss at Bucknell, bringing her career-points total to 1,022. Currently, Fremeau leads the team with a 14.2 points per game average, adds 4.4 rebounds per game and is making and taking the team's largest number of shots (146-for-348 from the floor). Fremeau extended her double-figure scoring streak to 15 games on Saturday, also hitting a career-best 10 field goals in 19 attempts. She recorded a career-high 26 point outing against Lehigh on Jan. 29, including seven three-point shots made in nine tries. Her seven three-point shots in a single game rank second in Holy Cross' single game record list, tying Bethany O'Dell's seven three-pointers made against Western Illinois in 2008. After combining for 50 points from Jan. 26-29, Fremeau was awarded Patriot League Player of the Week honors, the first of her career. She has posted a total of 21 double-digit scoring outings this season. Her double-digit outings comprise of; 13 vs. Yale, 20 at Quinnipiac, 16 vs. New Hampshire, 15 vs. Harvard, 13 vs. Maine, 16 vs. Boston College, 19 vs. Northeastern, 10 vs. East Tennessee State, 10 vs. North Carolina A&T, 15 at Dartmouth, 13 at Massachusetts, 19 at Lafayette, 12 vs. Army, 15 vs. Bucknell, 12 vs. Navy, 12 at American, 24 at Colgate, 26 vs. Lehigh, 12 vs. Lafayette and 17 at Army, 21 at Bucknell. She has also led or tied the team in scoring 12 times. She currently averages 17.0 points per game against Patriot League opponents, ranking first in that category. In all games, Fremeau ranks third amongst Patriot League individuals with her 14.2 scoring average. She also averages 30.6 minutes per game (ninth in the league) and is shooting 42.0 percent from the floor (ninth in the league and a team-best). She has also led or tied the team-high in rebounding in four games and posted a season-high nine rebounds against Lehigh on Jan. 29. In her 111 career games played, Fremeau adds 439 rebounds and 204 assists to her 1,022 career points.
THE FROSH IMPACT: Through the 25 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 608 of the team's 1,512 total points, are bringing down 85 out of 880 rebounds and add 146 of the 385 assists and 87 of the 210 total steals. Together, the five are averaging 4.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, while making 198 of their 573 field goal attempts (34.6 percent). In all, the freshman class has led the squad in scoring 10 times and in rebounding nine times.
MALONE MAKES IT HAPPEN: Freshman Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) is an added spark to the starting lineup for the Crusaders. Malone has earned 13 starts in the Crusaders' 25 total games, including the last three contests. As a starter, Malone averages seven points per outing, hitting 30 of her 90 field goal attempts. Malone adds 6.3 points per and 2.8 rebounds through all 25 contests and led the squad in scoring for the first time against Army on Jan. 13. Her 15 points against the Black Knights registered a season-high as were her five field goals made. She led the team defensively in the next game, recording a team-best nine rebounds against Bucknell on Jan. 15. Amongst Patriot League players, Malone ranks 29th in scoring and 14th in steals (1.2).
WILLFUL WARD: Junior Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) has been a major factor after accepting the role as the team's sixth man this season. Starting 13 games and coming off the bench in 12, Ward averages 6.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 32.8 percent from the floor (44-for-134) on the season, almost doubling her career average of 3.4 points and 1.5 rebounds. Against Bucknell the last time out, Ward collected five points and added one rebound and one assist. 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. Ward has five double-digit scoring outings in 25 games played (14 vs. Quinnipiac, 10 at Fordham, 11 vs. New Hampshire, 17 vs. Harvard and 12 vs. East Tennessee State). She is extremely calm and collected at the free throw line this season, as she has made 63 free throws in 75 attempts (84.0 percent) including a perfect 12-for-12 performance at Quinnipiac. The 12 free throws attempted and made set a new single-game record for the program. She also ranks first amongst Patriot League leaders in the free throw percentage category. In all, Ward has led the squad in scoring twice (Fordham, Harvard) and has led or tied the team in assists six times. She has a total of 59 assists this season, averaging 2.4 per game, which ranks ninth amongst Patriot League leaders. In her 83 career games played, Ward has collected 353 points, 158 rebounds and 137 assists.
GOOD GRABS BY GANSER: Freshman Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) is emerging as a great force underneath the basket for the Crusaders this season as she currently averages 5.2 points and 4.0 rebounds in 25 games off the bench. She also shoots 36.3 percent (33-for-91) from the floor and averages 15.0 minutes played per game. In the loss at Bucknell, Ganser was strong from the free-throw line, making five of six attempts and finishing with five points and three rebounds. She tallied her best defensive effort against Lafayette on Feb. 5, hitting new heights with 11 rebounds, a season and team-high. Ganser recorded her best offensive outing of the season in the win against Lafayette on Jan. 8, tallying season-highs with 15 points on five of nine shooting. She also ranks third on the team with her 4.0 rebounding average and has at least one rebound in the last 16 games. Ganser has a total of four double-digit outings thus far (10 vs. Central Connecticut, 12 vs. North Carolina A&T, 15 at Lafayette and 13 vs. Lehigh). The Needham, Mass. product is also one of the team's best free-throw shooters, sinking 55 of 75 free throw attempts (73.3 percent), ranking seventh amongst league individuals.
DEFENSE MAY'S WAY: Senior Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.), who is listed as a 6-0 forward/guard, ranks first on the team with 38 steals this season, tallying a career-high in steals made in a season. After making one steal against Bucknell the last time out, May now averages 1.5 steals per game, ranking ninth amongst Patriot League performers. May tied her career-high with seven assists against the Lafayette on Feb. 5, leading the team. She is also one of the team's top shot blockers, registering 12 blocks so far this season. She recorded a career-best four blocks against East Tennessee State on Dec. 28 and averages 0.5 blocks-per-game, ranking 14th amongst top league performers. Her 12 blocks are a career-high, besting her eight blocks from the 2009-2010 season. Through 25 games, May is averaging 4.0 points and 4.0 rebounds after leading the team with eight crucial boards against Army on Feb. 9. She scored a career-high 12 points against Boston College on Dec. 8 and posted a season-best nine rebounds against Harvard on Nov. 28. May was a also major factor in the win over Colgate on Jan. 26, scoring 11 points, recording eight rebounds and tying her career-high with five steals, leading the team in that category. In her 78 career games played, May has recorded 437 points, 302 rebounds and 146 assists.
HELPING HANDS: Holy Cross ranks first amongst Patriot League teams in the assists category. Through 25 games, Holy Cross averages 15.4 assists per outing (385 total) as Alex Smith leads the way with 78 assists, leading the team in the category in eight of the last 12 games. The squad tied a season-high with 26 dishes against Lafayette on Feb. 5, which they also did against Maine on Dec. 4. The 26 assists are the highest total assists made by a Patriot League team in conference play so far this season. The team also ranks third in assist/turnover ratio, averaging 15.4 assists to 18.8 turnovers (0.8 ratio). Amy Lepley, Whitney Fremeau and Alyssa May have all recorded seven assists, a single game-high for the Crusaders. In all, the Crusaders have recorded more assists than their opponents in 13 games.
BIG W: The Feb. 5 win over Lafayette turned in to one of the best team performances put in by the Crusaders all season, and maybe in years. The squad hit a season-best 52.5 percent, making 31 field goals in 59 attempts. Not only did Holy Cross outscore Lafayette by 37 points, it brought down 20 more rebounds (50-30) and dished out 17 more assists (26-9). The last time Holy Cross won by at least a 37-point margin was in 2006, when Holy Cross beat out the Leopards 78-39 at the Hart Center. The Crusaders then followed with a seven-point win over Army, beating the Black Knights on their home court for the first time in over six meetings. The team also out-rebounded the Black Knights, 42-31, for the first time in four seasons.
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 495-282 record as head coach (.637 winning percentage), including a 9-16 record at the helm this season. He 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 25 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 490 wins, 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: Whitney Fremeau, Alyssa May and Meredith 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. 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 25 games of action, the captains have put up 613 points, 282 rebounds and 165 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. 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. 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. 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 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.
HOLY CROSS AMONGST THE NATION'S BEST: Holy Cross has gained recognition with many of the nation's top teams and players after the sixth round of the NCAA Division I rankings was released on Feb. 14. Currently, the Crusaders rank 40th in assists per game (15.4), 98th in assist/turnover ratio (0.82) and 222nd in scoring offense (60.5). Alex Smith remains a top the nation's three-point performers as she ranks 12th in three-point shots made per game (2.9) and 73rd in three-point percentage (38.3). Lastly, Whitney Fremeau ranks 152nd on the national scene with her 42.0 field goal percentage.
NEXT UP FOR THE CRUSADERS: Holy Cross inches closer to the end of the regular season, hosting two straight home games from Feb.19-23. American visits the Hart Center first on Saturday, Feb. 19 for a 1:00 p.m. match-up. Saturday will also serve as senior day, honoring the team's two senior captains, Whitney Fremeau and Alyssa May.
14-10 (7-3 Patriot League)
HEAD COACH: Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper is in her third season at the helm of Midshipmen women's basketball program and her 12th season as a collegiate head coach. Pemper took over the reins at Annapolis in the spring of 2008 and owns a 47-39 record with the Midshipmen, including her 14-10 record in the 2010-2011 season. In her career, Pemper has compiled 282 wins and 87 losses, which includes a 235-48 record over her decade as the head coach of Bowdoin. Her career winning percentage of 83% ranked fourth in NCAA Division III history upon her departure.
2010-2011 SQUAD: This year's Navy team enters Wednesday's game with a 14-10 record, 7-3 in the Patriot League, tying for first with American. The squad's three league losses have come against Colgate (59-55), Lehigh (63-59) and Lafayette (58-53) the last time out. The Mids are 1-3 in their last four contests, grabbing their last win over Bucknell on Feb. 5. They went 7-7 in non-conference play, winning against Siena (57-43), NJIT (72-55), Harvard (65-60), Maine (65-43), Mount St. Mary's (63-46), Air Force (63-62) and Howard (58-45). The squad lost to Villanova (54-41), Florida (52-43), Loyola (57-54), Delaware (60-55), Princeton (74-61), Maryland-Baltimore County (65-56) and Seattle (62-50). Navy is also 8-4 when playing at home and average over 1,385 fans at Alumni Hall. The team returns seven letterwinners, including four of the five starters from last season. Senior guard Angela Myers leads the team offensively with 12.7 points, while shooting 42.1 percent (106 of 252) from the floor and makes 79.7 percent of her free throw attempts (51 of 64). Fellow senior center Cassie Consedine follows with 11.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Freshman forward Jade Geif is the team's top rebounder, averaging 7.3 boards per contest. Navy finished 17-14 overall in 2009-2010, including an 8-6 mark in Patriot League contests, finishing in third place.