Crusaders Rally Past Lafayette, 61-52

Brisje Malone

WORCESTER, Mass. – Despite shooting under 40 percent in the game, the Holy Cross women's basketball team posted a 61-52 victory over Patriot League opponent Lafayette at the Hart Center. With the final, the Crusaders register a season record of 14-12 (5-6 PL) while the Leopards move to 8-18 (2-9 PL). Freshman Emily Parker (Johnston, Iowa) and sophomore Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) combined to score 30 of the team's 61 points, notching 15 points apiece.

Parker scored all four of the Crusaders points in the opening minutes of the first half with the teams playing to an early 4-4 tie. The teams continued to battle back and forth, staying in a 12-12 tie through the midway point. Back-to-back three-point shots broke the tie as freshman Ashley Cooper (Colts Neck, N.J.) gave Holy Cross its first two-possession edge of the game, 18-14. Parker sank her fourth jumper of the game at 6:12, breaking a three minute scoring drought and boosting the Crusaders to a 20-14 advantage. Holy Cross held the upper hand throughout the rest of the half, outscoring the Leopards 8-5 in the final minutes to take a 28-19 lead into the break. The Crusaders shot 35.5 percent (11 of 31) from the floor over the first 20 minutes as Parker led all scorers with eight points.

The Crusaders hit their stride offensively in the start of the second half, jumping out to a 37-21 lead as Malone scored four of the team's nine points. Second chance opportunities allowed Holy Cross to continue to pull ahead, going up 44-26 with 14:22 on the clock. A six minute scoring drought allowed Lafayette to shrink the lead as a Leopards' jumper at the 8:02 mark made it a 44-36 game. Parker broke the scoreless streak less than one minute later, but Lafayette continued to make shots, keeping the game within six points, 48-42. Two consecutive layups from Parker and senior Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) gave the Crusaders the spark they needed, regaining a 52-42 lead at 5:32. Lafayette would get as close as seven points in the final five minutes, but a made jumper by Malone with 30 seconds to go solidified the team's 61-52 victory.

In the game, Holy Cross shot 34.9 percent from the floor (22 of 63) while Lafayette shot 39.7 percent (23 of 58). The Leopards won the rebounding battle, 40-38, as junior Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) led the Crusaders with eight boards, adding to her 11 points. Lafayette was led by sophomore center Danielle Fiacco who posted a 17-point 13-rebound double-double.  

Holy Cross begins a two-game road trip on Saturday, Feb. 18 when it travels to Bucknell. The Crusaders will take on the Bison for a 7:00 p.m. night cap at the Sojka Pavilion in Lewisburg, Pa.