Crusaders Set To Host Bryant On Saturday

Clare Sullivan

Complete release in PDF format

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (2-0, 1-0 Home) vs. Bryant (1-3, 0-2 Away)
Date: Saturday, November 23, 2013
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600); Worcester, Mass.
Video Streaming: Crusader Vision; Zach Lanning, play-by-play | Click here to watch
Unofficial Live Statistics: Presto Sports Primetime | Click here to view
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 6-1
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 68, Bryant 66 (Dec. 21, 2012, Smithfield, R.I.)

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos., No., Name, Ht., Cl.
F, 32, Jenn Dynis, 5-11, Fr.
F, 50, Emily Parker, 6-2, Jr.
G, 2, Brisje Malone, 5-9, Sr.
G, 12, Lisa Mifsud, 5-7, So.
G, 22, Alex Smith, 5-8, Sr. 

HOLY CROSS TO HOST BRYANT ON SATURDAY: The Holy Cross women's basketball team (2-0) will play its third contest of the season on Saturday, Nov. 23, when it will host Bryant (1-3) at the Hart Center for a 5:00 p.m. tipoff. The Crusaders are coming off a convincing 92-69 victory at UMass Lowell on Saturday, Nov. 16 to advance their record to 2-0 on the season. After the game versus the Bulldogs, the Crusaders will play host to Massachusetts on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 7:00 p.m., before the squad departs for Thanksgiving break. Holy Cross will then play three games in seven days, beginning with a road contest at Manhattan on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 2:00 p.m. The Crusaders will then host Northeastern on Wednesday, Dec. 4 (5:00 p.m.) and Fordham on Saturday, Dec. 7 (1:00 p.m.).

THE SERIES WITH THE BULLDOGS: This will be the eighth meeting between Holy Cross and Bryant, with the Crusaders holding the 6-1 series lead. The two teams last squared off on Dec. 21, 2012 with Holy Cross claiming the 68-66 victory in Smithfield, R.I. The last game at the Hart Center was on Dec. 21, 2011, as the Crusaders won the contest, 82-62. Bryant's lone victory in the series came on Dec. 19, 2010, in a 59-47 triumph at home. Holy Cross holds the 3-0 series lead in games played at the Hart Center and the 3-1 advantage in games played in Smithfield, R.I. This matchup started during the 1976-1977 season, as the Crusaders topped the Bulldogs, 72-26, at Bryant.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 6-1
At Holy Cross: Holy Cross leads, 3-0
At Bryant: Holy Cross leads, 3-1
At the Hart Center: Holy Cross leads 3-0
In Overtime Games: N/A
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, two games

HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE NORTHEAST CONFERENCE: In its program history, Holy Cross has played six of the 10 teams currently in the Northeast Conference (Bryant, Central Connecticut, Long Island-Brooklyn, Mount St. Mary's, Sacred Heart and Wagner). This season the Crusaders will only play one Northeast Conference school, Bryant. Against Northeast Conference teams, Holy Cross holds a 23-6 overall record for a .793 winning percentage. In addition to Bryant last season, Holy Cross also faced Central Connecticut (W, 57-56) and former league member Quinnipiac (L, 49-61). The Crusaders hold a winning record against all of the Northeast Conference opponents they have faced, with the series lead against Bryant (6-1), Central Connecticut (9-3), Long Island-Brooklyn (3-1), Mount St. Mary's (2-0), Sacred Heart (1-0) and Wagner (2-1).

CRUSADERS OFF TO HOT START: For the first time since the 2004-2005 season, Holy Cross is 2-0 to begin the campaign. In their last victory over UMass Lowell (92-69), it was the first time since Nov. 29, 2008, where the Crusaders scored over 90 points in a game, as they defeated Missouri 94-93 in triple overtime. It was also the most points scored in 40 minutes of basketball since Holy Cross topped Colgate, 103-72 on Jan. 16, 2002. Holy Cross is averaging 88.0 points and 26.5 assists per game, while shooting at a 49.6 percent clip from the field. The Crusaders hold large margins versus opponents in scoring (+24.0 PPG), rebounding (+17.0 RPG) and assists (+16.0 APG) this season. With a win versus Bryant, it would be the best start for the Crusaders since the 2001-2002 season, where they were 3-0. It would also be the seventh time in school history that Holy Cross has begun the year with a 3-0 mark.   

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 the last contest at UMass Lowell, Smith filled the stat sheet with 17 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Her points, assists and steals mark were all game-highs. In the season opener versus Dartmouth, Smith registered 11 points (all in the second half), six assists and three rebounds. She also went 3-of-6 from behind the arc versus the Big Green. She is 12 three-pointers made away from breaking the Holy Cross career record of 277 set by Bethany O'Dell and is 21 treys away from breaking the Patriot League career record of 286 by Alex Ross of Lehigh. She recently broke the Holy Cross record for career three-point attempts, as she now has 711. She ranks first in the Patriot League with 6.5 assists per game and a 6.5 assist-turnover ratio. She ranks second with 2.0 steals per game and eighth with 14.0 points per contest. 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. For her career, Smith has 1,236 points (13th in HC history), 416 assists (Ninth in HC history), 361 rebounds and 160 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 Smith to form a strong backcourt duo this season for Holy Cross. In the last contest versus UMass Lowell, Malone registered her third career double-double with 16 points and 12 assists in only 24 minutes played. In the season opener versus Dartmouth, Malone had the second most points for Holy Cross with 16. She also recorded six assists and three rebounds versus the Big Green. She ranks fourth in the league with 16.0 points per game and ninth with 7.5 rebounds per contest. She also ranks fifth in assists with 4.5 per game. 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 is just 197 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 the win at UMass Lowell, Parker totaled 13 points and seven rebounds. In the season opener versus Dartmouth, Parker tallied 11 points and a team-best nine rebounds in only 18 minutes of action. She was also tied for the game-high with three blocks. She ranks first in the Patriot League in offensive rebounding (5.0), third in field-goal percentage (.588) and ninth in rebounding (8.0). 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. Against the Riverhawks, Sullivan tallied seven points and a pair of rebounds. She saw 15 minutes of action versus Dartmouth and recorded a pair of assists and one rebound. 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 season opener versus Dartmouth, Scott had her best game as a Crusader. In only 25 minutes of action, she recorded a career-best 22 points (18 in the first half) on 10-of-12 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds and five assists (career-high). For her performance, Scott was named the GoHolyCross.com Crusader of the Week. In last year's 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. She recorded 10 points and five boards in the win at UMass Lowell. In the season opener versus Dartmouth, Hourigan tallied seven points, seven rebounds and three blocks in 19 minutes of action off the bench. She currently ranks second in the Patriot League with a .636 shooting percentage. 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.

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. She saw her first action of the season in the win at UMass Lowell, where she had three points and one rebound. Sophomore Lisa Mifsud (Erie, Pa.) has started in both contests this season and has performed well. In the win at UMass Lowell, Mifsud recorded career-highs of 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds. In the season opener versus Dartmouth, she recorded 12 points and four assists. This season, she is eight-for-eight in free throws and ninth in the Patriot League in scoring (13.5) and fourth in assists (5.5).  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. Both Gillespie and Walsh have seen action in the two contests 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 made her first collegiate start at UMass Lowell and recorded a career-best 11 points and five rebounds in the winning effort. In the season opener versus Dartmouth, she tallied five points, three rebounds and a pair of assists. Dynis ranks fourth in the Patriot League with a .583 shooting percentage. Ganser has also played in both contests this season. At UMass Lowell, she dished out a career-best two assists, while she hauled in a rebound in the season opener versus Dartmouth. 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.

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.

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. This season, the duo along with sophomore Lisa Mifsud, have helped the Crusaders again rank first in the Patriot League in helpers with 26.5 per game. Smith, Mifsud and Malone rank first (6.5), fourth (5.5) and fifth (4.5) in the Patriot League, respectively, in assists. The Crusaders tallied 25 assists on 35 shots at UMass Lowell and recorded 28 helpers on 32 buckets in the season opener versus Dartmouth. 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). This season, the Crusaders picked up right where they left off and currently lead the Patriot League with 88.0 points per game and shooting percentage of .496. Holy Cross scored its most points in regulation (92) against UMass Lowell since the 2001-2002 season. The team also tallied 84 points in the season opener versus Dartmouth. 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 .742 when playing their games at home (353-123). Since Holy Cross went to Division I during the 1982-83 season, they hold an even better .762 winning percentage with a record of 314-98 at the Hart Center.

UMASS LOWELL RECAP: Holy Cross senior guard Brisje Malone tallied her third career double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds to help lead the Crusaders to a 92-69 victory over UMass Lowell in non-conference women's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at the Costello Athletic Center. This is the first time since the 2004-2005 season, where Holy Cross has started the season with a 2-0 record. Both teams traded baskets to begin the contest as the score was 7-7 at the 18:15 mark of the first half. Holy Cross then went on a 13-5 rally to gain the 20-12 lead (13:20) on the back of a three-pointer by sophomore Lisa Mifsud. After the River Hawks drained a three on the other end to cut the deficit to 20-15, the Crusaders embarked on a 10-0 run to grab the 30-15 lead with 8:27 on the clock. Holy Cross senior Alex Smith got the 10-point rally started with back-to-back three-pointers. UMass Lowell countered with a 7-0 rally to cut the deficit to 30-22 (6:37), but the Crusaders came out on all cylinders after a timeout. Over the next four minutes, Holy Cross went on a 15-0 scoring surge to go on top 45-22. The Crusaders kept up the pressure, as they went into the locker room with the 48-30 lead. In the second half, Holy Cross came out strong as it went on a 14-4 run over the first 4:45 of action to gain the 62-34 advantage on the back of senior Kelly Hamner trey from the corner. The River Hawks worked the deficit to 21 points (66-45) at the 10:58 mark of the second half, but Holy Cross countered with a 15-3 rally to gain the 81-48 advantage (6:01). UMass Lowell closed the game on a 21-11 run, but it would not be enough as the Crusaders would go on to claim the 92-69 victory. In addition to Malone for the Crusaders, five other players had double-digit points for Holy Cross. Smith recorded an all-around great game with a game-best 17 points to go along with seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Mifsud recorded career-highs of 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds, while junior forward Emily Parker tallied 13 points and seven boards. In her first collegiate-start, freshman Jenn Dynis tallied a career-high 11 points and five rebounds, while sophomore center Molly Hourigan totaled 10 points and five caroms. UMass Lowell was led by Shannon Samuels, who had 15 points. Holy Cross connected on 35 of its 70 shots (50 percent), while it limited UMass Lowell to a 31.8 percent clip from the floor (21-of-66). The Crusaders drained 34.8 percent of their shots from the behind the arc (8-of-23), while the River Hawks shot 11-of-42 from downtown (26.2 percent). Holy Cross held advantages in points in the paint (38-20), points off turnovers (19-8), assists (25-12) and rebounds (53-34).

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:

Facebook: Holy Cross Athletics
Twitter: @GoHolyCross
YouTube: GoHolyCross
Instagram: GoHolyCross

E-MAIL 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, click here.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Bryant comes into this contest with a 1-3 overall record after dropping its last three contests to Providence (104-67), Maine (75-65) and most recently Brown (66-61). The Bulldogs lone win on the year came in the season opener, as they defeated Vermont, 82-71. Bryant was tabbed seventh out of 10 teams in the Northeast Conference preseason poll. Senior forward Naana Ankoma-Mensa was named to the preseason All-NEC team and is currently averaging 12.5 points and a team-best 10.2 rebounds per contest. She has registered a double-double in the past three games for Bryant. Senior guard Courtney Schissler ranks first on the squad with 14.8 points per game, while classmate Jenniqua Bailey is second on the team with 13.0 points and a team-best 4.8 assists per contest. Bryant head coach Mary Burke enters her 23rd year at the helm of the Bulldogs and has an overall record of 307-323. Since Bryant moved to Division I during the 2008-2009 season, Burke holds a 60-86 overall record. Last season, the Bulldogs qualified for the Northeast Conference tournament for the first time in school history.