PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Four players notched double-figures, including a team and season-high 16 points from senior captain Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) as the Holy Cross women's basketball team tallied a 81-74 victory over its final Ivy League opponent Brown at the Pizzitola Sports Center. With the final, the Crusaders register a record of 10-8 on the season while the Bears move to 9-6. Sophomore Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) added on 15 points and a team-high eight assists to pace the squad.
Brown held a slight edge, 12-11, after the first six minutes of action in the front half as Ward led the Crusaders with two field goals and five points. The Crusaders came out of the second media timeout with an 11-2 run, earning a 24-17 lead as Ward and Smith hit back-to-back three pointers. Brown followed on a 13-0 run, taking a 27-24 lead at the 4:56 mark, capitalizing on six missed field goals by Holy Cross. Smith sank her second three-pointer of the game to start a 6-0 run, giving the Crusaders back a 31-27 advantage at 3:15. The team kept up the momentum the rest of the half, outscoring Brown 11-9 with Smith hitting a three-point shot at the buzzer to send the team into the locker room ahead 42-35. The Crusaders shot 58.6 percent (17 of 29) from the floor over the first 20 minutes as Smith led all scorers with 11 points.
The Bears started the second half with eight unanswered points to take a 43-42 lead as Holy Cross could not hit its first three shots. Five lead changes followed before Holy Cross found its offensive tempo again, scoring eight straight points, four from Ward, to regain a 54-47 edge at 13:25. A three-point play by freshman Emily Parker (Johnston, Iowa) made it a 10-point game, 66-56, halfway through the second. Two free throws made by Smith put Holy Cross over the 70 point mark at 6:08 as the squad continued to lead the Bears 71-61. After Ward put the Crusaders up 77-68 with just over one minute to play, the Bears hit two consecutive three pointers to pull within five, 79-74. Brown was forced to foul the rest of the way as Smith hit two final free throws to seal the 81-74 win for Holy Cross.
In the game, Holy Cross shot a season-best 59.3 percent from the floor (32 of 54) while Brown shot 43.5 percent (30 of 69). The Crusaders won the rebounding battle, 35-34, as Lepley led the Crusaders with eight rebounds. Lepley finished with 14 points while Parker added 10 points and three blocks. Brown was led by junior guard Sheila Dixon with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Holy Cross returns to the road to face its fourth Patriot League opponent, Lafayette, on Wednesday, Jan. 18. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Kirby Sports Center in Easton, Pa.