WORCESTER, Mass. – Freshman forward Emily Parker (Johnston, Iowa) led the Crusaders with 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks as the Holy Cross women's basketball team was defeated by Patriot League opponent American, 61-58, at the Hart Center. With the final, the Crusaders fall to 9-8 (1-2 Patriot League) on the season while the Eagles improve to 11-6 (3-0 PL). Sophomore guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) added 12 points and had six assists.
In the first half the Eagles got off to a strong start going on a 6-0 run in the opening three minutes to lead by six, 10-4. The Eagles continued to dominate the action on the floor by going on a 13-3 run and leading 17-7 with 11:19 remaining. The Crusaders began to find their game as they went on a 7-0 run, finding themselves only down three with 8:18 remaining after senior guard Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) put in a layup. Back-to-back three pointers by American dropped the Crusaders down by nine, 23-14. The Crusaders continued to fight hard to cut into the lead and did just that by going on a 9-2 run over the next four minutes, led by Parker converting a three point play and junior forward Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) hitting a clutch three point basket. The effort gave the Crusaders their first lead in the game since the opening minute, 26-25 with 1:55 remaining in the opening half. American outscored Holy Cross 6-4 in the final minutes, as the Crusaders found themselves down by four, 30-26 heading into the locker room. The Crusaders shot 38.5 percent (10 of 26) from the floor over the first 20 minutes as Parker led all scorers with seven points.
In the second half, sophomore guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) got the Crusaders off on the right foot, hitting a three point basket in the opening minute which made it a one point game, 30-29. With 14:19 remaining, Eagle senior Lisa Strack hit a three pointer to increase the Eagles lead to eight, 45-37. The Crusaders were able to cut the lead to only three, 45-42 with 11:16 remaining, after Smith hit her second three point basket of the half. The Crusaders continued to battle hard, but could not find a way to stop the offense of the Eagles. With only 33 seconds remaining, Parker made a layup to make it a one possession game, 61-58. The Eagles maintained strong rebounding in the closing seconds which helped them to stay in the lead as Holy Cross suffered only its second loss at home this season, losing to American, 61-58.
In the game, Holy Cross shot 40.4 percent from the floor (21 of 52) while American shot 44.1 percent (26 of 59). The Crusaders won the rebounding battle, 43-29, as Parker led the Crusaders with her nine rebounds. American was led by Strack with 17 points.
Holy Cross finishes its non-conference portion of the schedule at Brown on Monday, Jan. 16. The Crusaders will play at 7:00 p.m. against the Bears in Providence, R.I.