Women’s Basketball Downs Colgate, 71-61

Brisje Malone

Video: Postgame interview with Christine Ganser

WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross junior guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) set the pace against Colgate, scoring a team-high of 17 points and led the team to a 71-61 victory against the Raiders at the Hart Center on Saturday afternoon. The Crusaders improve to 11-11 overall and 3-4 in the Patriot League, while the Raiders slip to 6-15 and 0-7 in the conference. The Crusaders now hold a 25-0 record versus Colgate at the Hart Center.

After Colgate jumped out to an early 5-0 lead at the 19 minute mark of the first half, Holy Cross answered with Smith and senior forward Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) connecting on three consecutive three-pointers to rally the Holy Cross offense, giving them a 9-8 edge. Colgate continued to contend the Crusaders offensive play. With each team knocking down three-point shots, Colgate took a two-point lead over the Crusaders with a deep three made by Jhazmine Lynch.

Holy Cross junior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) then answered with a jumper tying the game at 11-11. The Crusaders continued to battle the Raiders throughout the first half, with each team fighting to gain an advantage. With 2:40 left in the first half, freshman Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) made an under the basket lay-up drawing the foul, which gave the Crusaders a 27-23 lead. Colgate answered with a trey by Mariah Jones bringing the score to 27-26. The first half concluded with Holy Cross leading Colgate 29-26. Both teams shot 35.7 percent in the first half on 10 of 28 shooting.

Malone and junior Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) helped the Crusaders dominate offensively by combining for 23 total points during the second half. Sophomore Ashley Cooper (Colts Neck, N.J.) sank a three-point shot giving the Crusaders a 42-36 edge over the Raiders with 13:30 remaining in the second half. With 7:20 remaining, Smith knocked down a three-pointer to give Holy Cross a 10-point lead (54-44), its largest lead of the contest. Colgate began to show difficulty in converting shots, but continued to show intense physical play. With 5:44 on the clock, Catherine Lewis of Colgate hit a trey to make the score 54-47.

Colgate did not give up on the defensive end, with Randyll Butler grabbing the rebound and Lewis converting the defensive play into an offensive shot from behind the arc, which cut the Holy Cross lead to only four points (56-52) with 3:54 remaining. With 3:33 left in the half, Lepley was fouled and hit both foul shots giving the Crusaders the advantage (58-52). Holy Cross kept the lead limiting Colgate's shooting attempts. Alex Smith completed the scoring affair with a jumper, as the Crusaders ended the game with a 71-61 victory.

In addition to Smith's performance, Lepley recorded 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Malone posted 12 points, a game-best seven assists and six rebounds, while Ganser added 11 points and two boards. Freshman Molly Hourigan (Memphis, N.Y.) chipped in with six points, five rebounds and a game-high three blocks. Lynch led Colgate with a game-best 19 points.

Holy Cross shot 41 percent from the field (23 of 56), while Colgate shot 40 percent for the game (23 of 58). The Crusaders shot 8 of 19 from behind the arc (42 percent) and the Raiders shot 9 of 22 (41 percent) from downtown. Holy Cross connected on 17 of 20 from the charity stripe (85 percent). Holy Cross held advantages in assists (19-15), steals (9-6) and points off turnovers (14-8).

The Crusaders will return to action on Sunday, Feb. 10, as it will travel to Lehigh for a 2:00 p.m. contest. This game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.