WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross senior guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) scored a game- and season-best 19 points to go along with five rebounds, five steals and four assists to help lead the Crusaders to a 75-55 triumph over Bryant in non-conference women's basketball action on Saturday evening at the Hart Center. With the win, Holy Cross moves to 3-0 on the season, while the Bulldogs fall to 1-4 overall.
The 3-0 start for the Crusaders is their best record to begin the season since the 2001-2002 team also began the year at 3-0. It is also the seventh time in Holy Cross history where a team has started the campaign with a 3-0 mark.
Both teams traded baskets to begin the contest, as the score was tied at 4-4 with 18:13 on the clock. Holy Cross then jumped ahead 9-5, before the Bulldogs closed the gap and knotted the score at 9-9 at the 15:22 mark of the first half. With the score tied at 11-11 less than two minutes later, Bryant scored four straight points to go up 15-11 (13:07).
Holy Cross then countered with a 10-1 rally over the next 5:44 to gain the 21-16 advantage (8:51), as Smith tallied five points during the run. Bryant cut the deficit to one point (21-20) with back-to-back baskets, but Holy Cross ended the final seven minutes of the first half on a 15-4 run to go into the locker room on top 36-24.
Bryant came out strong in the second half, as the Bulldogs cut the deficit to eight points (40-32) with 14:37 on the clock. The Crusaders, however, erupted on a 14-0 surge to gain the 54-32 advantage midway through the second half. During the 4:39 rally, senior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) tallied seven points, while the team forced six combined turnovers. Bryant could not get anything going offensively, as it did not get any closer than 19 points over the final 10 minutes of action. The Crusaders would go on to claim the 75-55 victory.
In addition to Smith for the Crusaders, junior forward Emily Parker (Johnston, Iowa) tallied a season-best 14 points, five rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Malone scored 12 points and three assists, while sophomore forward Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) recorded nine points and a team-best six rebounds. Naana Ankoma-Mensa (15 points), Meredith Soper (12 points) and Jenniqua Bailey (10 points) all registered double-digit points for Bryant.
Holy Cross connected on 44.6 percent of its shots from the field (25-of-56) and limited the Bulldogs to 32.1 percent shooting (17-of-53). The Crusaders drained five of its 17 shots from behind the arc (29.4 percent), while Bryant only hit one of its 11 tries from downtown (9.1 percent). Both teams shot well from the free-throw line as Bryant hit 87.0 percent (20-of-23) and Holy Cross canned 74.1 percent of its shots (20-of-27). The Crusaders held advantages in assists (16-7), steals (13-4), points off turnovers (22-12) and second chance points (17-8). Bryant held the 40-33 edge in rebounding.
The Crusaders return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 26 when they will host UMass at the Hart Center for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff.