WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross junior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) registered her second career double-double with an 11 point and 10 assist effort to help lead the Crusaders to a 57-49 triumph over Bucknell in women's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at the Hart Center. With the win, Holy Cross improves to 15-12 overall and is now in third place in the Patriot League standings with a 7-5 record. The Bison slip to 13-14 on the season and 4-8 in the conference.
The Crusaders started strong right from the tipoff as they pushed ahead 15-5 at the 14:05 mark of the first half. Freshman center Molly Hourigan (Memphis, N.Y.) scored six points during the opening stretch for Holy Cross. The Crusaders pushed the lead to 12 points twice over the next three minutes of action, before Bucknell started to slice into the deficit as it trailed 21-14 with 5:31 on the clock.
Holy Cross, however, exploded on a 10-2 run to gain the 31-16 advantage at the 2:51 mark on the back of a Hourigan layup. Malone scored four points during the run for the Crusaders. Bucknell finished the half with a pair of free-throws as Holy Cross went into the locker room on top 31-18. At the half, Hourigan had already recorded a career-best 12 points.
After the intermission, the Crusaders picked up right where they left off, as they jumped ahead with a 7-1 run over the first three minutes of action to take the 38-19 lead. Holy Cross increased the lead to its largest of the game (46-25) with 12:20 on the clock before it held the 51-31 advantage at the 8:15 mark of the second half.
Bucknell started to regain some momentum and went on a 13-4 rally over the next four minutes of play to cut the deficit to 55-44, but Malone made a key steal and fast break layup on the other end to put the Crusaders on top by 13 points (57-44) with 3:25 left in regulation. The Bison ended the game on a 5-0 run, but they could not overcome the deficit as the Crusaders claimed the 57-49 victory.
In addition to Malone for Holy Cross, Hourigan tallied a game-high 16 points and a team-best seven rebounds. She also tied her career-best with three blocks in the contest. Junior guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) tallied 14 points to go along with four assists and three rebounds. Smith ended her consecutive games with at least one three-pointer, as she had made a trey in the 29 previous contests. Senior forward Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) chipped in with nine points, six boards and three assists. Lindsay Horbatuck led the Bison with 15 points, while Audrey Dotson tallied 10 points and seven caroms.
The Crusaders shot 46.6 percent from the floor (27 of 58) as Bucknell connected on 14 of its 46 shots from the field (30.4 percent). Both teams drained 15.4 percent of their shots from behind the arc (2 of 13). The Bison heavily outshot the Crusaders from the charity stripe as Bucknell connected on 19 of its 25 free-throws (76.0 percent), while Holy Cross went one of three from the line (33.3 percent).
Holy Cross held advantages in assists (20-9), blocks (4-3), points in the paint (38-20), fast break points (20-4) and bench points (21-5).
In a brief pregame ceremony, Lepley and classmates Alexis Nicholas (Jamaica, N.Y.) and Kaitlin Cole (Springfield, Pa.) were honored on "Senior Day" for their commitment to the women's basketball program over the past four seasons.
Holy Cross will return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 27, when it will host Army in its final regular season home contest of the year at the Hart Center, beginning at 7:00 p.m.