GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (7-6, 0-0 PL) vs. Fordham (9-5, 0-0 A-10)
Date: January 6, 2013
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Place: Rose Hill Gymnasium (3,200), Bronx, N.Y.
Holy Cross Radio: WNEB 1230AM, Worcester, Dick Lutsk, play-by-play, Click here to listen
Fordham Radio: Click here to listen
Live Video Streaming: Click here to watch
Unofficial Live Statistics: Click here for live stats
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 31-8
Last Meeting: Fordham 54, Holy Cross 43 (Nov. 19, 2011, Hart Center)
CRUSADERS CONCLUDE EIGHT-GAME ROAD TRIP AT FORDHAM: Holy Cross will play its last contest in an eight-game road swing on when it heads to Fordham on Sunday, Jan. 6 at 2:00 p.m. The Crusaders will return home to face Brown on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 11:30 a.m. for their second annual "Get Fit with the Lady Crusaders Day," in which over 2,000 Worcester Public School students will attend the game. The contest versus the Bears will be the final non-conference game of the season before Holy Cross opens up Patriot League play on Saturday, Jan 8, as it will host Lehigh at 2:00 p.m.
THE SERIES WITH THE RAMS: This will be the 40th meeting between the Crusaders and the Rams, with Holy Cross holding the 31-8 overall series lead. Fordham is on a two-game winning streak versus the Crusaders, as the Rams won on Nov. 20 2012 (67-36) at the Rose Hill Gymnasium and on Nov. 19, 2011 (54-43) at the Hart Center. Fordham was a member of the Patriot League from 1990-1995 before moving to the Atlantic-10 and won the Patriot League Championship in 1992 and 1994. Holy Cross won its first 19 matchups versus the Rams from 1984-1990, but the last 20 contests between the two squads has played more evenly, with the Crusaders holding the 12-8 record.
SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 31-8
In Bronx: Holy Cross leads, 12-6
At the Rose Hill Gymnasium: Holy Cross leads, 12-6
Bill Gibbons vs. Fordham: 27-8
Stephanie Gaitley vs. Holy Cross: 1-0
Current Win Streak: Fordham, two games
In Overtime: Series tied 1-1
SMITH STEPPING UP FOR CRUSADERS: Junior guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) has been a key offensive leader for the Crusaders so far in 2012-2013. She currently leads the Patriot League in scoring with 14.7 points per game and is third in assists with 3.8. She has scored double digits in 12 of the 13 games this season, including a 20 point effort versus UMass. Smith is tied for first in the conference with 2.1 steals per game as she has had a pair of six-steal games this season, both tying her career high. She averages 3.0 three-pointers made per game, which ranks her first in the Patriot League, while also playing the third most minutes per contest at 35.2. She also leads the team with an 84.2 free-throw percentage. Smith posted 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in the season opening win versus Yale, while grabbing a career-best 10 rebounds against Quinnipiac. For her stellar play a season ago, Smith was named to the first team All-Patriot League with averages of 12.5 points, 5.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
LEPLEY BACK TO LEAD HOLY CROSS: After missing the first nine games of the year due to a pre-season injury, senior forward Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) played in her first contest versus Bryant on December 21, 2012. In 31 minutes of action versus the Bulldogs, Lepley scored 16 points as she shot 7 of 7 from the field and 2 of 2 from the free-throw line for 16 points, including the game-winning bucket with 17 seconds remaining. This season, Lepley is averaging 10.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per contest. She notched her eighth career double-double with a 10 point-10 rebound effort versus Dartmouth. The 2011-2012 second team All-Patriot League player averaged a team-best 13.4 and 6.4 rebounds per contest a season ago and was selected to the 2012-2013 Preseason All-Patriot League team.
1,000 POINTS MILESTONE IN REACH FOR PAIR: Lepley and Smith are on pace to reach the 1,000 career points milestone this season. Lepley is only eight points shy from the historic mark and would become the 28th player to score 1,000 points and the 75th in the history of the Patriot League. She is also in reach to finish her career in the top-15 on Holy Cross' all-time career points list. Smith is 64 points away from the 1,000 point milestone and would the 11th Crusader to reach the mark during their junior season. Smith also has a chance to break into the top-20 on the Holy Cross all-time scoring list by season's end.
MALONE PLAYS KEY MINUTES IN BACKCOURT: Junior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) has done well this season both offensively and defensively for Holy Cross. Through 13 games, Malone is second on the team with 32.9 minutes played per contest and averages 9.5 points, 4.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. Her assists mark is tied for first in the Patriot League. She is sixth in the conference with a 1.2 assist/turnover ratio and is ninth with 1.5 steals. In the season opener versus Yale, Malone scored a career-high 23 points. She also hit the buzzer-beating bucket to lift Holy Cross over Central Connecticut as she posted a season-best nine assists. During the 2011-12 campaign, Malone played in all 34 games in and started in all but one. She averaged 8.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in just under 30 minutes per contest.
GANSER STEPPING INTO STARTING ROLE: Junior forward Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) has filled in nicely for the Crusaders starting lineup. Through 13 games, she is third on the team with 9.1 points per contest and leads the squad with an average of 5.7 rebounds (11th in the Patriot League). Her best game of the season came against Harvard, as she posted a season-high 17 points and hauled in seven rebounds. She also tallied 16 points and six rebounds in the win over UMass. Ganser is third on the team with a .765 free-throw percentage and first with 2.7 offensive rebounds per game. Her offensive rebounds mark is sixth in the Patriot League. In 2011-2012, she averaged 19.5 minutes of playing time and put up totals of 6.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Ganser also performed well from the charity stripe last year as she converted on 76.5 percent of her free throws, which was second best on the team.
SCOTT LEARNING QUICKLY FOR CRUSADERS: Freshman forward Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) has begun her first collegiate season as a key contributor for Holy Cross. In the first 13 games, Scott is fifth on the team with 5.9 points and has 5.3 rebounds per contest. In her first start versus New Hampshire, Scott posted 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals in 36 minutes of action. Her best game of the season came at Manhattan, as the freshman recorded the first Crusaders double-double of the season with a 10 point and 12 rebound effort with six offensive boards. Scott has started in 10 of the 13 games this season for Holy Cross.
PARKER WORKING HARD IN THE POST: Sophomore forward Emily Parker (Johnston, Iowa) has been a strong presence in the frontcourt for the Crusaders this season. So far this season, Parker is fourth on the squad with 8.3 points, second with 5.5 rebounds and first with 1.0 blocks per contest. She scored a season-best 18 points versus Yale in the season opener as she grabbed seven rebounds in the game against Boston College. In the win over Manhattan, Parker tallied nine points and a season-best nine rebounds. Parker is coming off a solid freshman campaign in which she took home Patriot League All-Rookie team accolades in 2011-2012. Last year, the 6'2" Parker played the number five position on the floor for the Crusaders as she appeared in 32 contests, starting in 31 of them. A season ago, she averaged 10.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while also blocking a team-best 38 shots. Her points mark was third on the squad, while her rebound average was second.
HAMNER ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL: After missing the first six games of the season due to injury, junior guard Kelly Hamner (Manassas ,Va.) has slowly worked herself back into the Crusaders playing rotation. In the game versus Manhattan on Dec. 1, Hamner saw five minutes of action as she scored two points. On Dec. 5 against Northeastern, she played 16 minutes off the bench and scored four points to go along with career-bests four assists and six rebounds. This season, Hamner is averaging 2.0 points and 1.7 rebounds in 9.6 minutes per contest. In 2011-12, Hamner saw 16.4 minutes of playing time per game and averaged 3.0 points and 2.6 rebounds.
COOPER BACK FROM INJURY: Sophomore guard Ashley Cooper (Colts Neck, N.J.) saw her first action of the season versus Bethune-Cookman. The long-range sharpshooter connected on her first three shots from behind the arc, as she was the second leading HC scorer with 13 points in 18 minutes of action. She also drilled a pair of treys in the win over Dartmouth. Through two games, Cooper is averaging 9.5 points and is 5 of 9 (.556%) from behind the arc in 20.0 minutes per contest. Last season, Cooper averaged 3.0 points per game and hit 23 of 68 of her shots from downtown (.338%) in 13.5 minutes per contest.
HOURIGAN COMING UP BIG FOR CRUSADERS: Freshman center Molly Hourigan (Memphis, N.Y.) has seen in increase in minutes over the last three games and has shown she can be a strong presence in the paint for Holy Cross. In only 11 minutes of action versus Bethune-Cookman, Hourigan grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. During the following matchup versus Dartmouth, she scored a season-best 10 points, while she hauled in six boards in 19 minutes of action. In the past three contests, Hourigan averaged 5.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in 14.0 minutes. For the season, she has posted 2.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 10 games played.
FRESHMAN FRENZY: Holy Cross adds five new faces to this year's team with a large freshman class. Guards Lisa Mifsud (Erie, Pa.), Kate Gillespie (Washington, D.C.) and Jenn Walsh (Dallas, Texas) all were league champions for their respective high schools. Gillespie was also named Washington D.C. Gatorade girls basketball player of the year as a senior. In the front court, Raquel Scott and Molly Hourigan (Memphis, N.Y.) add size to an already tall front line. The 6'0" Scott comes from Immaculate Heart Academy, while the 6'4" Hourigan is the team's only center and is from Jordan-Elbridge. All five freshmen have seen action this season. Mifsud is averaging 3.5 points in 18.1 minutes per contest as she scored 11 points twice this season, versus Yale and Quinnipiac. Gillespie has made two starts for the Crusaders and averages 4.9 minutes per game.
OFF THE BENCH: With some early season injuries, many bench players have stepped up for the Crusaders. Senior forward Kaitlin Cole (Springfield, Pa.) has been a spark on the defensive side of the ball as she averages 1.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 9.9 minutes per game. In the Yale game, Cole posted career-highs with six rebounds and four steals, while versus Boston College, she also added a career-best three assists. She registered a career-high 28 minutes of action versus UMass to go along with four swipes. Sophomore forward Clare Sullivan (Belmont, Mass.) has averaged 7.8 minutes per contest with 2.9 points and 1.1 rebounds per game. In the game versus Central Connecticut, Sullivan scored 13 points in the first half on six-of-six shooting, which was a career-high. She also connected on her first collegiate three-pointer in the game versus the Blue Devils. Sullivan made her first career start versus Manhattan and scored six points. Alexis Nicholas (Jamaica, N.Y.) has seen an average of 2.3 minutes of playing time this season and scored her first points of the season at Manhattan.
DARTMOUTH RECAP: Holy Cross senior forward Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) registered her eighth career double-double with a 10 point, 10 rebound effort to help propel the Crusaders to a 64-52 triumph over Dartmouth on Jan. 3 at Leede Arena. Holy Cross improves to 7-6 on the season, while the Big Green fall to 1-12 overall. Both teams traded baskets over the first 8:30 in the contest, as the score was knotted at 8-8 with 11:27 on the clock. Holy Cross then went on an 8-0 rally to grab the 16-8 lead at 6:41 of the first half. Junior guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) had four points during the stretch for Holy Cross. The Crusaders kept up the pressure and went on an 8-3 run over the next 4:38 to claim a 13-point lead (24-11). Smith and sophomore guard Ashley Cooper (Colts Neck, N.J.) each hit a trey during the rally. Holy Cross worked the lead to 28-17 with eight ticks on the clock, but Dartmouth's Kamala Thompson hit a three pointer with one second remaining to go into the locker room at 28-20. Holy Cross kept up the pace and jumped out on an 8-2 surge to begin the second half as it took the 36-22 lead with 16:29 on the clock. The Crusaders stingy defense allowed them to go up 16 points, as they led 45-29 at the 10:11 mark of the second half. Less than three minutes later, Holy Cross pushed ahead with an 8-2 run to grab its largest lead of the contest at 53-31.However, Dartmouth countered with a quick 7-0 spurt to cut the deficit to 53-38 at 5:56 and then worked the margin to 12 points (57-45) just over two minutes later. The Big Green got as close as 11 points on two occasions over the finals minutes, before Holy Cross made it a 64-52 final. Smith scored a game-high 12 points to go along with four assists, as she tied a career-best with six steals. Freshman center Molly Hourigan (Memphis, N.Y.) posted a career-high 10 points and also hauled in six boards. Junior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) had a solid all-around game with nine points, five rebounds, four assists and four swipes. Faziah Steen led Dartmouth with nine points.
SCORING TRENDS: During the 2012-2013 season, Holy Cross has boasted strong records based on scoring trends. In games where its opponents score less than 60 points, Holy Cross is a perfect 5-0. Also, the Crusaders are 6-2 when they score 60 points or more this season. Lastly, when the Crusaders enter the second half with the lead, they have an overall record of 5-1.
CRUSADERS PICKED THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL: Holy Cross was picked to finish third in the 2012-2013 Patriot League preseason poll, receiving 70 points and one first place vote. Navy was chosen to finish first, receiving eight first-place votes as junior Jade Geif was voted preseason Patriot League Player of the Year. The Mids earned a league-high 89 points and was followed by American, who received six first place votes and 85 points. Army was picked fourth with 66 points and one first place vote, while Lehigh (58 points) and Lafayette (30 points) were selected fifth and sixth, respectively. Bucknell and Colgate tied for seventh in the poll with 25 points each.
LEPLEY AND SMITH NAMED 2012-2013 TEAM CAPTAINS: The two leading scorers for the Crusaders last year, Amy Lepley and Alex Smith were named captains for the 2012-2013 season. Smith is coming off first-team All-Patriot League honors last year as she started in all 34 games. She averaged 12.5 points, 5.5 assists and 2.1 steals per contest. Her assist mark was tops in the Patriot League, while her points average was fifth. Lepley was named to the second-team All-Patriot League a season ago as she led the Crusaders with 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest. Her points-per-game average was third in the Patriot League, while her field goal percentage of 0.499 was also third-best. In addition, both players were also selected to the 2012-2013 preseason All-Patriot League.
CAPTAINS NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE TEAM: After coming off great campaigns a season ago, Lepley and Smith were chosen to the preseason All-Patriot League team in a vote by conference sports information directors and head coaches. The duo joins the team with Army senior forward Anna Simmers, and two juniors, American's Alexis Dobbs and Navy's Jade Geif. Lepley and Smith were key contributors to last-year's Patriot League runner-up finish as they started in all 34 games for the Crusaders. Also, the pair was selected to the Patriot League All-Tournament team last year.
HELP ME HELP YOU: Last season, Holy Cross was ranked ninth in the country and first in the Patriot League with 16.9 assists per contest and that largely had to do with junior guards Alex Smith and Brisje Malone. This year, the pair has combined for 104 of Holy Cross' 197 assists with a combined average of 8.0 per game. Malone is tied for first in the Patriot League with 4.2 assists per game, while Smith is just behind her in third place with 3.8 helpers per contest. In the game versus Central Connecticut, the pair combined for 14 assists on the team's 22 made field goals.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: The Crusaders are approaching this season with the theme of "unfinished business," as it is looking to capture the Patriot League crown for the 12th time in the program's history. Last season, the Crusaders made it to the Patriot League championship game for the first time since 2008, after knocking off top-seeded American in the semifinals. However, the team fell to Navy in the title game, 57-48, one win shy of going to the NCAA Tournament. The goal is to get back into the Patriot League Championship game and claim their first NCAA tournament automatic bid since the 2006-2007 season.
"SMITH"-SONIAN LEAVING MARK IN RECORD BOOK: Alex Smith is marking her name all over the Holy Cross career record books with her phenomenal play. The junior is now second on the list with 206 three-pointers made, trailing only Bethany O'Dell, who had 277. Her three-pointers converted mark is eighth best in Patriot League history. She is also third with 550 three-pointers attempted, trailing Briana McFadden (579) and O'Dell (700). Smith ranks 11th in career assists with 335 and would move into the top-10 with six more assists. She is currently fifth on the list with a .375 three-point percentage. In 2011-2012, Smith set Holy Cross records for most minutes played in a season (1199), most games started and played (34) and most three-pointers attempted (229).
HOLY CROSS' HIGH OCTANE OFFENSE: The Crusaders are coming off one of their best offensive seasons in recent years, as the team led the Patriot League in many shooting categories. This season Holy Cross has continued its offensive success as it ranks second in the Patriot League with 60.6 points per game and first with a .414 field-goal percentage. In the season opener versus Yale, the Crusaders scored 87 points, which was the most points scored in an opening game since the 1988-1989 season.
HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders are currently ranked in the top 150 in the NCAA Division I leaders in four statistical categories. In addition, Alex Smith and Brisje Malone are in the top 150 in the nation in four individual statistics as well. The rankings through games on Jan 3:
|Three-Pointers Made||18||Alex Smith||3.0|
|Three-Point Percentage||60||Alex Smith||37.9|
|Personal Fouls||68||Holy Cross||14.8|
|Field-Goal Percentage||77||Holy Cross||41.4|
HOME SWEET HOME: Holy Cross boasts a very strong record when playing at the Hart Center. In the 37 years of the women's program, the Crusaders have an all-time record winning percentage of 0.750 when playing their games at home (345-120). Since Holy Cross went to Division I during the 1982-83 season, they hold an even better 0.763 winning percentage with a record of 306-95 at the Hart Center.
CRUSADERS HAVE 11 PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT CROWNS: Five years ago, the Crusaders captured their 11th Patriot League Tournament Crown with a 56-48 victory over American on March 7, 2007. Holy Cross has won half of the 22 Patriot League Championships since the conference's inception during the 1990-91 season. The Crusaders' previous tournament titles came in 2005, 2003, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1993 and 1991. Holy Cross has also appeared in the championship game 11 times over the past 15 years. Overall the Crusaders have made a conference-record 16 appearances in the Patriot League championship game.
GIBBONS AT THE HELM FOR 28TH SEASON: Bill Gibbons is in his 28th season at the helm of the Holy Cross women's basketball program and 32nd year as a member of the Holy Cross basketball family in 2012-2013. He has compiled a 522-307 record as head coach (.630 winning percentage), including a 19-15 record at the helm last season. He ranks 20th on the active Division I win leaders list after winning his 500th game on December 3, 2011. His quarter-century pledge to the team has made a major impact on all aspects of the women's basketball world and especially in the surrounding community. He has led the Crusaders to 11 Patriot League Championships in the last 22 years. He has also made 13 postseason appearances (11 NCAA Tournaments, one WNIT and one WBI) in his 27 years as head coach. With sixteen 20-win seasons under his belt, Gibbons has cemented himself and the women's basketball program as one of the best in the East. The sixth coach of the women's program at Holy Cross, Gibbons has enjoyed the longest tenure in the position. He has led the Holy Cross women's basketball program to more victories than any other coach, and is the winningest coach in Holy Cross Basketball history. With his 358th victory, he surpassed George Blaney (357 wins as head coach of the Holy Cross men's basketball program), who had hired him to be his assistant coach in 1981. Now with more than 515 wins, Gibbons is the second-winningest coach in Holy Cross Athletics history, behind legendary baseball coach Jack Barry, who totaled 616 wins from 1921-1960.
ON THE RADIO: Eleven of the Crusaders' basketball contests during the 2012-2013 season will be carried by Emmanuel Radio, WNEB 1230 AM in Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 26th season calling the play-by-play for Crusader basketball on the radio. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their ninth year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. All games aired on Emmanuel Radio can also be heard live over the internet at 'www.1230radio.com'. Most games not carried on Emmanuel Radio will be streamed by Stretch Internet free of charge, with links to the broadcasts available at 'www.GoHolyCross.com'. WCHC 88.1 FM, the Holy Cross student station, will also carry a number of games this year.
ON TELEVISION: Holy Cross will have at least four games shown on live television during the 2012-2013 season. The Crusaders had seven television appearances last year, while appearing on television five times in 2010-11 and six times in 2009-10. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2012-2013 season:
Date, Opponent, Television Outlet
Dec. 8, at Quinnipiac, New England Sports Network (NESN)
Jan. 16, vs. Navy, Charter TV3
Feb. 10, at Lehigh, CBS Sports Network
Feb. 27, vs. Army, Charter TV3
CRUSADER VISION: Live video streaming of most 2012-2013 Holy Cross home non-conference games will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision. The package, done in association with Stretch Internet, is available for $8.95 per game. Season packages are also available for men's basketball only ($29.95) or all Holy Cross sports ($99.95). For details on how to view games through Crusader Vision, visit 'www.GoHolyCross.com'.
ON THE INTERNET: Information on Crusader basketball and all 26 other varsity sports is available through the Holy Cross Athletics home page at "www.GoHolyCross.com". In addition, links to Holy Cross basketball audio broadcasts and live video streaming can be found on the home page. Updates on Holy Cross Athletics can also be found at "www.facebook.com/HolyCrossAthletics" and "www.twitter.com/GoHolyCross".
EMAIL ALERTS: Get all the latest news and results on the Holy Cross women's basketball team sent directly to your e-mail. To sign up for e-mail alerts, visit 'www.GoHolyCross.com/list-signup'.
SCOUTING FORDHAM:Fordham has a 9-5 record overall this season as it has won its last two contests versus American on Jan. 4 (71-50) and against Colorado State on Dec. 30 (64-59 2OT). The Rams were tabbed to finish in 11th place in the Atlantic-10 preseason poll after a 12-18 record a season ago. Mariah Strickland leads the Rams with 13.8 points per game, while Erin Rooney ranks second with 13.2 points. Samantha Clark is Fordham's leading rebounder with 6.3 caroms per contest. Fordham coach Stephanie Gaitley enters her second season at the helm of the Rams. Prior to Fordham, Gaitley had coached at Monmouth, Long Island, St. Joseph's and Richmond over a 25-year span. Coming into this season, she has compiled a 464-270 record as head coach. Overall, Gaitley has made seven appearances in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament.