Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (9-17, 5-6 PL) vs. American (18-7, 8-3 PL)
Date: February 19, 2011
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 14-8
Last Meeting: American 84, Holy Cross 53 (January 15, 2011, Washington, D.C.)
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST AMERICAN: Saturday's match-up will be the 23rd meeting between Holy Cross and American. The Eagles became the most recent member of the Patriot League during the 2001-2002 season and have been an annual competitor for Holy Cross since Jan. 26, 2002. The teams first met on Dec. 3, 2000 in the St. Joseph's Classic championship game. The Crusaders topped the Eagles, 67-62, to earn the championship title. Holy Cross then went on to win the following five meetings with its Patriot League opponent, scoring at least 60 points in every triumph. The Eagles broke the six-game slide on Feb. 20, 2004 at Bender Arena by a score of 81-65. The Crusaders then put together another five-game win streak, including a 57-49 victory over the Eagles in the 2006 Patriot League Tournament. Head coach Bill Gibbons is responsible for the 14-8 record while current American head coach, Matt Corkery, stands at 4-1 after earning his fourth win against the Crusaders, 84-53, on Jan. 22, 2011. Holy Cross leads the series at the Hart Center, 9-2, splitting the last four games in Worcester. American is currently on a three-game win streak over the Crusaders.
SENIORS COMMEMORATED SATURDAY: The two members of the Holy Cross basketball program will be taking part in their second to last regular season game at the Hart Center against American. Senior forward Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) and forward/guard Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.) will be honored before the game. This year's seniors helped the Crusaders to 51 wins, including 28 Patriot League victories and a second place finish in the league in 2007-2008. Together, the two seniors have played in a total of 222 games, making 141 starts. They have also combined to score 1,478 points and recorded 878 rebounds.
HOLY CROSS CELEBRATES NATIONAL WOMEN IN SPORTS DAY: Saturday will serve as the annual nation-wide Girls and Women in Sports Day. All girls and women's teams in attendance will receive special recognition for their commitment to sports. Holy Cross teams in attendance will be recognized at every media timeout while local girl's youth groups will play during halftime.
HOLY CROSS AGAINST CONFERENCE FOES: The 2010-2011 season marks the 22nd year of Patriot League competition for the Crusaders. After Wednesday's overtime loss at Navy, Holy Cross stands at 5-6 in league play, moving into a three-way tie for fourth place with Army and Bucknell. Navy and American remain tied for first in the league with an 8-3 league record, while Lehigh, who has won six straight, sits in second at 7-4. Over the last 21 seasons, the team has competed in a total of 299 league match-ups, winning 232 and dropping 67 games total for a .776 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 232-67 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 67 wins against the Crusaders. Lehigh has put up 12 wins against Holy Cross as well.
ROAD WOES: Holy Cross ended its three-game road stretch at Navy on Wednesday, Feb. 16, finishing with a 1-2 record. The Crusaders dropped their second road game in heartbreaking fashion at Navy, letting a 10-point lead disappear and falling 73-68 in overtime. In all, Holy Cross is 4-9 when playing on the road this season, matching the 2007-2008 squads' road record. Since 2000, the Crusaders have posted just three losing season records on the road, including the last three seasons. This year's Holy Cross team averages 56.0 points per road game. Home teams average 70.2 points and are knocking down 43.4 percent of their baskets, while the Crusaders shoot 34.6 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. 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 26 games played, Lepley is averaging 9.5 points and a team-best 5.6 rebounds per game. She has one of the best shooting percentages, 41.3 percent (97-for-235), amongst starters, also ranking ninth amongst Patriot League leaders. Against Navy the last time out, Lepley scored a career-best 22 points; making eight of her 14 field goal attempts while taking down five rebounds and going a perfect four of four from the free throw line. She has 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 11 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, 11 points against Lafayette (2/5) and 22 points against Navy (2/16). She has led or tied the team-high in rebounding in 11 out of the 26 games, highlighted by her 10 rebounds in the win over Colgate on Jan. 26. She has led the team in points three times. Amongst Patriot League leaders, Lepley ranks 12th in assists (2.2), 12th in steals (1.4), 11th in rebounding and 15th in scoring. She has also played in an average of 26.5 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 11.5 points, adds 3.4 rebounds per game and shoots 37.8 percent from the floor (96 of 254). Seventy-three of her field goals made (76 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 14 three-point field goals made off the record Bethany O'Dell set in 2006-2007. One hundred-ninety one of her field goal attempts have come as three-point shots as well, which now ranks second in the Holy Cross single season records. Against Navy on Wednesday, Smith tallied nine points, going three-for-10 from the field, with all field goals coming as three-pointers and tied the team-high with five assists. 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 26 games played. 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 at12th 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 eighth in three-point field goal percentage (38.2) and 11th 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 (ninth) 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: Whitney Fremeau continues to be one of the team's biggest offensive threats and defensive presences so far this season, moving up to 23rd in the team's all-time leading scorers list after scoring 19 points in the overtime loss at Navy, bringing her career-points total to 1,041. Currently, Fremeau leads the team with a 14.4 points per game average, adds 4.5 rebounds per game and is making and taking the team's largest number of shots (154-for-363 from the floor). Fremeau extended her double-figure scoring streak to 16 games on Wednesday after hitting a career-best 10 field goals in 19 attempts against Bucknell on Feb. 12. 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 22 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 and 19 at Navy. She has also led or tied the team in scoring 12 times. She currently averages 17.2 points per game against Patriot League opponents, ranking first in that category. In all games, Fremeau ranks second amongst Patriot League individuals with her 14.4 scoring average. She also averages 31.0 minutes per game (seventh in the league) and is shooting 42.4 percent from the floor (seventh in the league and a team-best). She has also led or tied the team-high in rebounding in five games and posted a season-high nine rebounds against Lehigh on Jan. 29. In her 112 career games played, Fremeau adds 445 rebounds and 204 assists to her 1,041 career points.
THE FROSH IMPACT: Through the 26 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 630 of the team's 1,580 total points, are bringing down 96 out of 913 rebounds and add 156 of the 402 assists and 88 of the 218 total steals. Together, the five are averaging 4.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, while making 205 of their 593 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 14 starts in the Crusaders' 26 total games, including the last four contests. As a starter, Malone averages 7.1 points per outing, hitting 32 of her 96 field goal attempts. Against Navy the last time out, Malone tallied nine points and tied the team-high with five assists, notching a season-high as well. Malone adds 6.4 points per and 2.8 rebounds through all 26 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 28th in scoring and eighth in free throw percentage (71.9).
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 13, Ward averages 6.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 32.4 percent from the floor (44-for-136) on the season, almost doubling her career average of 3.4 points and 1.5 rebounds. Against Navy the last time out, Ward hit two free throws and also had two assists. In her 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 26 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 65 free throws in 77 attempts (84.4 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 61 assists this season, averaging 2.3 per game, which ranks 10th amongst Patriot League leaders. In her 84 career games played, Ward has collected 355 points, 158 rebounds and 139 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 five points and 3.9 rebounds in 26 games off the bench. She also shoots 36.3 percent (33-for-91) from the floor and averages 14.7 minutes played per game. In the loss at Bucknell on Feb. 12, 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 fourth on the team with her 3.9 rebounding average and has at least one rebound in the last 17 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 60 of 81 free throw attempts (74.1 percent), ranking sixth amongst league individuals.
DEFENSE MAY'S WAY: Alyssa May, who is listed as a 6-0 forward/guard, ranks first on the team with 43 steals this season, tallying a career-high in steals made in a season. After tying her career-high with five steals at Navy the last time out, May now averages 1.7 steals per game, ranking sixth amongst Patriot League performers. May also tied her career-high with seven assists against the Lafayette on Feb. 5, leading the team. She is also ties the team-high in blocks, 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 79 career games played, May has recorded 439 points, 307 rebounds and 150 assists.
HELPING HANDS: Holy Cross ranks first amongst Patriot League teams in the assists category. Through 26 games, Holy Cross averages 15.5 assists per outing (402 total) as Alex Smith leads the way with 83 assists, leading the team in the category in nine of the last 13 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 15.5 assists to 18.7 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 495-283 record as head coach (.636 winning percentage), including a 9-17 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.
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 26 games of action, the captains have put up 636 points, 293 rebounds and 171 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 concludes its regular season home slate with a game against Colgate on Wednesday, Feb. 23. The Raiders come to Worcester for a 7:00 p.m. game.
18-7 (8-3 Patriot League)
HEAD COACH: American head coach Matt Corkery is in his third season at the helm of the Eagles women's basketball program. Corkery took over the reins at American in the spring of 2008 and owns a 59-29 career record with his Eagles, including his 18-7 record in the 2010-2011 season. He is also 27-8 against Patriot League opponents, which includes the 8-3 league conference record this season. In total, Corkery has been on the American staff for five seasons, dating back to the 2004.
2010-2011 SQUAD: This year's American team enters Saturday's game with an 18-7 record, 8-3 in the Patriot League, tying for first place with Navy. The squad was one of three league opponents to start its season with a 3-0 league record, before losing to Army (64-50) on Jan. 19. Prior to that loss, the Eagles had won 11 straight games, one contest shy of a school record. In league play, American has won three straight, topping Bucknell (66-38), Colgate (69-49) and Army (60-47). They went 10-4 in non-conference play and are 7-4 when playing on the road. The team returns eight letterwinners, including three of the five starters from last season. Senior forward Liz Leer leads the team offensively and defensively with 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 50.6 percent (120-237) from the floor. Junior guard Lisa Strack follows with 11.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. American completed the 2009-2010 season with a record of 22-10, including a 13-1 mark in Patriot League contests, finishing as the runner-up.