DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Holy Cross junior guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) scored a team-high 15 points to go along with five rebounds to lead the Crusaders to a 63-54 victory over Bethune-Cookman at Moore Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon. With the win, Holy Cross evens its record at 6-6, while the Wildcats fall to 5-6, ending their three-game winning streak.
Both teams began the contest slowly as the Wildcats held the early 8-2 lead at the 14:32 mark of the first half. The Crusaders started to attack and went on a 11-4 scoring run to take the 13-12 lead with 8:27 on the clock on the back of a senior Kaitlin Cole (Springfield, Pa.) layup. Over the next four minutes, the two teams went back and forth as the lead exchanged hands four times with three tied scores. Holy Cross would go ahead (25-23) at the 2:33 mark of the first half on a sophomore Ashley Cooper (Colts Neck, N.J) three-pointer. Cooper would hit two more treys to close out the scoring for Holy Cross in the first half, as the Crusaders went into the locker room on top 31-25.
After the intermission, the Crusaders kept the six point advantage (35-29) at the 16:06 mark, before they would go on a 9-4 rally over the next seven minutes to go ahead 44-33. Smith drilled a three-pointer to put Holy Cross up by 11 points. The Crusaders would keep the 11-point margin (54-43) with 5:24 left in the half, before the Wildcats started to chip into the lead. Bethune-Cookman scored four straight points to make the score 54-47 with 2:23 on the clock, but would not get any closer as Holy Cross hit seven of eight from the foul line to clinch the victory.
Cooper had a career-best 13 points for the Crusaders as she was three-of-four from behind the arc. Junior forward Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) had 13 points as well to go along with five boards, while senior Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) posted six points and seven rebounds. Freshman center Molly Hourigan (Memphis, N.Y.) hauled in a game-best eight rebounds and two blocks in 10 minutes of action.
Holy Cross shot 35 percent from the field (15 of 43), while the Wildcats connected on 36 percent of their shots (20 of 55). The Crusaders were 7 of 18 from behind the arc (39 percent) as they also converted on 79 percent of their free throw attempts (26 of 33). Holy Cross held advantages in assists (11-5), rebounds (39-34) and points off turnovers (19-15).
The Crusaders will return to action on Thursday, January 3 as they will travel to Dartmouth for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff.