WORCESTER, Mass. – The Holy Cross women's basketball team saw another double-digit lead disappear, letting first-place American take a 73-62 win at the Hart Center. With the final tally, the Crusaders move to a record of 9-18 (5-7 PL) on the season, while the Eagles improve to a league-best record of 19-7 (9-3 PL). Freshman Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) hit double-figures for the third time in four games, making four three-point shot attempts and finishing with a team-high 16 points.
Neither team could make a field goal in the opening minutes of the game until sophomore Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) hit a long jump shot at 17:13, giving the Crusaders a 3-1 edge. Scoring continued to be a rarity as American pulled ahead 5-3 three minutes later. Smith tallied the Crusaders' second field goal of the game at 13:21, as the team's traded baskets, pulling into an 11-11 tie. Holy Cross then put together an 11-3 run, taking its first two-possession lead of the game, 22-14, capped by Smith's three-pointer at 7:17. The Crusaders kept American scoreless until just over the four minute mark, staying up by eight points, 24-16. The Eagles began to sneak back in to it, getting within four points, 25-21, after a three-point shot was made at 1:22 and outscoring the Crusaders 5-1 in that span. Holy Cross finished the half on a 7-2 run as Smith hit her third three-point shot, giving her team a 32-23 advantage heading into the halftime break. The Crusaders hit 38.5 percent of their shots in the first half (10 of 26) while American shot 30.8 percent (8 for 26). Smith led all scorers with 11 points.
American made it a three-point game, 34-31, after two minutes had gone by in the second half, drawing a foul on a three point shot. The Crusaders maintained their lead until 15:26 as American knotted the score, 36-36, on a lay-up. Four lead changes and one tie followed with American coming out with the only run in a five minute span, taking a 50-42 edge at the nine minute mark. Senior Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) broke the run with her third field goal of the game 15 seconds later, sparking a 9-3 run with Lepley scoring on a lay-up at 6:10 to pull the Crusaders back within two-points, 53-51. Holy Cross continued to stay behind by as little as two points, but could not make the full comeback, as fouls kept sending American to the free throw line where the Eagles scored every time. The Eagles started to completely pull away with 1:30 to go in the game, gaining a 67-59 advantage. The Crusaders were forced to foul the rest of the way, as Smith added the team's final field goal at the 30 second mark, with American prevailing for a 73-62 win.
Holy Cross had three double-digit performers as Fremeau and Lepley added 13 and 11 points respectively. Fremeau also tied her season-high with seven assists to lead the squad. Senior Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.) led the team defensively with seven boards. In the game, the Crusaders shot 39.6 percent (21-for-53) while the Eagles shot 40.7 percent (22-for-54). American also took a 33-32 rebounding edge and was led by senior forward Liz Leer with a 25-point, 10-rebound double-double performance.
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. contest.