Holy Cross Hosts Dartmouth To Open Regular Season

Emily Parker

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The Teams: Holy Cross (0-0, 0-0 Home) vs. Dartmouth (0-0, 0-0 Away)
Date: Friday, November 8, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600); Worcester. Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: None
Video Streaming: Crusader Vision; Jeremy Lechan, play-by-play
Unofficial Live Statistics: GoHolyCross.com
Series Record: Dartmouth Leads, 6-4
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 64, Dartmouth 52, (Jan. 3, 2013; Worcester, Mass.)

CRUSADERS BEGIN 2013-2014 CAMPAIGN VERSUS DARTMOUTH: The Holy Cross women's basketball team begins the 2013-2014 season on Friday, November 8, 2013 against Dartmouth at 7:00 p.m. This will be the 11th meeting between the Crusaders and the Big Green, with Dartmouth holding the 6-4 series lead. Holy Cross claimed the last two contests in the series on Jan. 3, 2013 in Hanover, N.H. (64-52, HC) and on Jan. 3 2012 in Worcester, Mass. (65-63, HC). This series began during the 1978-1979 season, in which Dartmouth defeated Holy Cross, 93-57, at the Hart Center. The two teams played again in 1979-1980, before taking a 25-year hiatus of facing each other. They resumed a yearly series on Nov. 22, 2005, when the Big Green defeated the Crusaders, 74-63, at the Hart Center. Since the 2007-2008 season, Holy Cross holds the 4-2 series advantage.

FOR OPENERS: This contest will mark the 24th time the Crusaders open the regular season at the Hart Center. In season openers on top of Mount St. James, Holy Cross is 13-10 overall after ending a three-game home-opener losing streak last season with an 87-71 victory over Yale on Nov. 9, 2012. In its 39-year history, Holy Cross is 22-17 in its opening game of the season. Over the past 10 seasons, Holy Cross is 4-6 on opening day, defeating Providence (68-48, 2004-2005), Northeastern (76-60, 2005-2006) and most recently Yale (68-56, 2006-2007; 87-71, 2012-2013), while falling to St. Peter's (87-76, 2003-2004), Vermont (54-45, 2007-2008) and Yale (65-63, 2008-2009, 66-60, 2009-2010, 74-71, 2010-2011, 77-71, 2011-2012).

Overall: Dartmouth Leads, 6-4
In Worcester: Dartmouth leads, 3-2
In Hanover: Dartmouth leads, 3-2
At the Hart Center: Dartmouth leads, 3-2
In Overtime Games: N/A
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, two games

HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE IVY LEAGUE: In its program history, Holy Cross has played four of the eight teams in the Ivy League (Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown). This season, the Crusaders will only play one Ivy League school, Dartmouth. Against Ivy League teams, Holy Cross is 24-19 all-time, after compiling a 3-1 record versus the four schools the last two seasons. Last year, Holy Cross defeated Yale (87-71, Nov. 8), Dartmouth (64-52, Jan. 3) and Brown (83-66, Jan. 8), and lost to Harvard (80-62, Nov. 20). The Big Green are the only team to hold a winning record versus the Crusaders (6-4), as Holy Cross holds the series lead against Harvard (8-6) and Brown (5-0), while it has a .500 record in games versus Yale (7-7).

CRUSADERS PICKED FOURTH IN PRESEASON POLL: Holy Cross was picked to finish fourth in the 2013-2014 Patriot League preseason poll, receiving 112 points. Navy was tabbed to finish first in the poll after receiving 157 points and 14 first-place votes. Army was picked second in the poll with 133 points and three first-place votes, while new conference member Boston University finished in third place with 128 points and three first-place votes. After the Crusaders at fourth, Lehigh was picked fifth with 97 points and American was tabbed sixth with 87 points. Bucknell (seventh, 62 points), new league member Loyola (Md.) (eighth, 54 points), Lafayette (ninth, 37 points) and Colgate (10th, 33 points) round out the 10 teams in the Patriot League. Navy senior forward Jade Geif was named Preseason Player of the Year. Kelsey Minato of Army, Rashidat Agboola of BU, Kerry Kinek of Lehigh, Alex Smith of Holy Cross and Geif were all named to the Preseason All-League team.

SMITH NAMED PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE: Senior guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) was recently named to the Preseason All-Patriot League team after being selected first team All-Patriot League the past two seasons. In 2012-2013, Smith led the Patriot League with 14.5 points and 2.9 three-pointers made per game. She also ranked second in the league in three-point percentage (.372), third in minutes played per game (35.9), and fifth in assists per contest (3.7). Smith became the 29th player in Holy Cross history and the 11th junior to score 1,000 career points, accomplishing the feat on Jan. 19, 2013. Smith registered double-figure points in 29 contests last year and scored over 20 points in four games. Last year, Smith set a pair of Holy Cross single-season records with 93 three-pointers made and 250 three-pointers attempted. She is 18 three-pointers away from breaking the Holy Cross career record of 277 set by Bethany O'Dell and is 27 treys away from breaking the Patriot League career record of 286 by Alex Ross of Lehigh. Smith is also four three-point attempts away from having the most treys attempted in Holy Cross history set by O'Dell who had 700. For her career, Smith has 1208 points, 403 assists (10th in HC history), 351 rebounds and 156 steals. In 2012-2013, Smith was also named Academic All-Patriot League.

MALONE COMING OFF STRONG CAMPAIGN: Senior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) will join a Smith to form a strong backcourt duo this season for Holy Cross. Coming off her best season in a Crusader uniform, Malone ranked first in the Patriot League with 5.0 assists per contest and was third with 1.8 steals per game and a 1.6-to-1.0 assist/turnover ratio. She also tallied 9.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game a season ago. Malone was named to the Patriot League All-Tournament team in 2012-2013 after averaging 12.0 points and 6.0 assists in the tournament. In last year's season opener versus Yale, Malone scored a career-best 23 points to go along with four steals and three assists. She scored double-digits in 14 games last year and recorded her second career double-double with 11 points and 10 assists versus Bucknell on Feb. 23, 2013. Malone enters the season 229 points away from 1,000 in her career.

GANSER TO BOLTER HOLY CROSS FRONTCOURT: Holy Cross senior forward Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) will provide the Crusaders and more specifically the frontcourt with senior leadership and versatility. She averaged 7.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game in 2012-2013. Last season, Ganser set career-highs in points (223), assists (35), blocks (6), three-pointers made (19), three-pointers attempted (62) and field-goal percentage (.441). She scored double-digits in seven contests last season and also recorded her second career double-double with a 17 point and 10 rebound effort at Fordham on Jan. 6, 2013.

JUNIORS IN THE POST: Holy Cross junior forwards Emily Parker (Johnston, Iowa) and Clare Sullivan (Belmont, Mass.) will be big contributors in the frontcourt for the Crusaders this season. In 25 games played last season, Parker averaged 5.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. Injuries hampered the 2012-2013 season for Parker, but the 6-2 forward is back healthy for the 2013-2014 campaign. Sullivan will look for an increase role this season in the frontcourt with the graduation of forward Amy Lepley. In 28 games played a season ago, Sullivan averaged 2.4 points and 1.1 rebounds while making 11 blocks.

RAQ-ING UP THE REBOUNDS: Crusader sophomore forward Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) will look to carry over her strong effort in last year's Patriot League Tournament to the 2013-2014 season. In the tournament, Scott ranked second in the league with 10.7 rebounds per game, including a career-best 14 boards in the Patriot League semifinal versus Colgate. During her rookie campaign, Scott played in all 32 games and made 14 starts. She averaged 4.3 points per game and ranked first on the team and 12th in the Patriot League with 5.3 rebounds per contest (169 total). Scott tallied a 10 point and 12 rebound double-double versus Manhattan a season ago.

HOURIGAN LOOKS TO CONTINUE OUTSTANDING SECOND HALF: Holy Cross sophomore center Molly Hourigan (Memphis, N.Y.) will look to continue her strong freshman campaign this season. The only center on the roster at 6-4, Hourigan was a key contributor down the stretch last season, starting in 14 of the final 15 contests for Holy Cross. In 29 games played a season ago, Hourigan averaged 3.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Her blocks total ranked seventh in the Patriot League.

BACKCOURT DEPTH: Holy Cross' depth in the backcourt will give them the ability to have a variety of lineups depending on its opponents. Senior Kelly Hamner (Manassas, Va.) will provide the Crusaders with a physical on-ball defender as she played in 20 games a season ago and totaled 10 steals. Sophomore Lisa Mifsud (Erie, Pa.) will contend for a starting role this season, as she started in the exhibition contest versus Assumption. Mifsud played in 30 games in 2012-2013 and averaged 2.2 points per game. Second-year players Kate Gillespie (Washington, D.C.) and Jenn Walsh (Dallas, Texas) will also add depth coming off the bench this season. Gillespie played in 14 games and made two starts last season, while Walsh saw action in a pair of contests.

CRUSADERS ADD PAIR OF FRESHMEN: Holy Cross will add two freshmen to the 2013-2014 team. Jenn Dynis (St. Louis, Mo.) and Madelyn Ganser (Needham, Mass.) will play a variety of roles on this year's squad, as both are listed as a guard/forward. Dynis comes from Visitation Academy and was a two-time conference champion and player of the year. Ganser, sister of senior forward Christine, comes to Holy Cross from Needham High School. At Needham, she was a three-time conference all star and helped guide her team to the state tournament in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Both players are listed at 5-11 and will play either the three or four position on the floor. 

SMITH AND GANSER NAMED 2013-2014 CAPTAINS: This season, the Crusaders will have two senior captains. Forward Christine Ganser and guard Alex Smith will lead the Crusaders as they embark on the 2013-2014 campaign. Smith was co-captain with graduate Amy Lepley during the 2012-2013 season.

RAQUET NAMED ASSISTANT COACH: In August, the Crusaders announced the hiring of assistant coach Matt Raquet. Raquet comes to Holy Cross after three years at Temple University where he served as administrative coordinator and graduate assistant coach for the women's basketball program. His primary responsibilities at Holy Cross include video operations, player development, scouting and recruiting. Raquet received his bachelor's degree from Pittsburgh in 2009 and was a four-year member and senior team captain of the men's track and field team.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS 2.0: The Crusaders motto of "unfinished business" will carry over to this season, as the team was bested for the second straight year in the Patriot League championship game by Navy. After earning the fourth seed in the Patriot League Tournament in 2012-2013, Holy Cross defeated Lehigh and Colgate, both at home, to earn a trip to the championship contest. The Mids, however, claimed the 72-53 victory to earn their third consecutive Patriot League title. Holy Cross will look to improve on its No.4 seed from last season to put itself in position to host multiple tournament games and earn a trip to the NCAA tournament.

SMITH NAMED A SENIOR CLASS CANDIDATE:  Alex Smith has been named one of the 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award for Division I women's basketball. The Senior CLASS Award recognizes NCAA student-athletes who have notable achievements in four area of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. The 30 candidates will be narrowed down to 10 finalists midway through the regular season and those names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2013 NCAA Women's Final Four. Go to 'http://www.seniorclassaward.com/athletes/alex_smith/' to read Smith's nomination information.

HELP ME HELP YOU: In 2012-2013, Holy Cross ranked first in the Patriot League and 34th in the nation with 15.5 assists per contest and that largely had to do with senior guards Brisje Malone and Alex Smith. Last season, Malone ranked first in the conference and 43rd in the country with 5.0 assists per game. Smith also contributed with 3.8 assists per contest last season, which put her fifth in the Patriot League. The pair combined for 267 of Holy Cross' 495 assists in 2012-2013 and will look to improve on those numbers this year.

HOLY CROSS' HIGH SCORING OFFENSE: The Holy Cross offense has been a big part of its success over the past few seasons and last years' team was no different. The Crusaders ranked first in the Patriot League in points per game (59.9), field goal percentage (.414) and second in the conference in three-pointers per game (5.7) and three-point field goal percentage (.332). The 2011-2012 team also ranked first in the conference in points per contest (63.1) and field goal percentage (.413).

HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: Last season, the Crusaders ranked in the top 100 in the NCAA Division I leaders in six statistical categories. In addition, Alex Smith and Brisje Malone are in the top 100 in the nation in four individual statistics as well. The rankings for the 2012-2013 season:

Category                                        Rank       Player / Team         Avg. / Pct.
Three-Pointers Made   17   Alex Smith 2.91
  92   Holy Cross 5.70
Assists Per Game 34   Holy Cross 15.5
  43   Brisje Malone 5.00
Three-Point Percentage 44   Alex Smith 37.2
  56   Holy Cross 33.2
Fewest Personal Fouls 58   Holy Cross 14.6
Field Goal Percentage 74   Holy Cross 41.4
Assist-Turnover Ratio 78   Brisje Malone 1.58
  94   Holy Cross 0.86








HOME SWEET HOME: Holy Cross boasts a very strong record when playing at the Hart Center. In now their 39th season, the Crusaders have an all-time record winning percentage of .741 when playing their games at home (352-123). Since Holy Cross went to Division I during the 1982-83 season, they hold an even better .762 winning percentage with a record of 313-98 at the Hart Center.

ASSUMPTION RECAP: Holy Cross senior guard Alex Smith recorded a game-best 18 points to go along with six assists and three rebounds to help lead the Crusaders to a 69-46 triumph over Assumption in an exhibition contest on Sunday afternoon at the Hart Center. In addition to Smith for the Crusaders, senior guard Brisje Malone tallied 12 points and four rebounds in addition to a game-high seven assists. Junior forward Emily Parker totaled 12 points and a team-best nine rebounds, while sophomore center Molly Hourigan registered nine points, five rebounds and three blocks. The Crusaders jumped out to the early 7-2 advantage less than four minutes into the contest, but Assumption would rally to knot the score at 7-7 with 15:13 on the clock. The Greyhounds then took the lead less than a minute later to go on top 9-7, but a layup by Parker on the other end tied the game at 9-9 (14:22). Holy Cross went on an 11-3 rally over the next 3:53 to gain the 20-12 lead, as Malone tallied five points during the run. Assumption cut the deficit to four points (20-16) with 10:05 left in the first half, but the Crusaders embarked on an 11-2 surge to gain the 31-18 lead with 5:38 left in the first half. The Crusaders kept the lead as it went into the locker room on top 35-23. In the second half, Holy Cross jumped out on an 8-2 run to gain the 43-25 lead with 16:42 on the clock. The Greyhounds responded with a 6-1 rally to slice into the deficit and make the score 44-33 (13:49). Both teams went back-and-forth over the next 7:38, with the Crusaders still holding on to the 11-point advantage (52-41). Holy Cross scored seven straight points to make the score 59-41 with 5:22 left in regulation. The Crusaders ended the contest on a 10-5 run to claim the 69-46 victory. Holy Cross shot 40.3 percent (25-of-62), and limited the Greyhounds to 16-of-60 shooting on the afternoon (26.7 percent). The Crusaders held advantages in points in the paint (28-18), points off turnovers (19-9) and assists (20-6).

CRUSADER VISION & THE PATRIOT LEAGUE NETWORK: Live video streaming of all Holy Cross home non-conference games and most Patriot League regular season games during the 2013-2014 season will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision and the Patriot League Network. The package, done in association with Campus Insiders, is available free of charge. For details on how to  view games through Crusader Vision or the Patriot League Network, visit 'www.GoHolyCross.com' or "www.PatriotLeague.org".

ON THE RADIO: Seven of the Crusaders' basketball contests during the 2013-2014 season will be carried by Emmanuel Radio, WNEB 1230 AM in Worcester.  Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 27th season calling the play-by-play for Crusader basketball on the radio. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their 10th 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'.  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 two games shown on live television during the 2013-2014 season. The Crusaders had five appearances last season, while appearing seven times in 2011-2012. Holy Cross was on television five times in 2010-11 and six times in 2009-10. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2013-2014 season:

Jan. 2 vs. Boston University (Charter TV3)
Feb. 26 vs. Loyola (Md.) (Charter TV3) 

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".

ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Updates on Holy Cross basketball can be found through the Holy Cross Athletics pages on the following social media networks:


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 THE BIG GREEN: This will be the first contest of the season for Dartmouth, as it finished the 2012-2013 campaign with a 6-22 overall record and held a 4-10 mark in the Ivy League. The Big Green were tabbed fifth in the Ivy League preseason poll and return 13 letterwinners to the roster this season. Dartmouth guard Nicola Zimmer returns after averaging 8.9 points and 3.2 rebounds a season ago. The Big Green also bring back forward Abbey Schmitt (8.2 PPG/5.5 RPG) and center Tia Dawson (5.4 PPG/7.5 RPG) to bolster the frontcourt. Dartmouth head coach Belle Koclanes enters her first season at the helm of the Big Green, after serving as an assistant coach at Patriot League rival American. She also spent time as an assistant coach at Old Dominion, Columbia and Pennsylvania.