Holy Cross Entertains Northeastern On Wednesday

Lisa Mifsud

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The Teams: Holy Cross (5-0, 3-0 Home) vs. Northeastern (4-2, 3-0 Away)
Date: Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600); Worcester, Mass.
Video Streaming: Crusader Vision; Play-by-Play: Dick Lutsk | Click here to watch
Unofficial Live Statistics: PrestoSports Primetime | Click here to view
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 14-5
Last Meeting: Northeastern 70, Holy Cross 48 (December 5, 2012; Boston, Mass.)

Pos., No., Name, Ht., Cl.
F, 31, Raquel Scott, 6-0, So.
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 HOSTS NORTHEASTERN ON WEDNESDAY: The Holy Cross women's basketball team (5-0) will play its sixth contest of the season on Wednesday, Dec. 4, when it will host Northeastern (4-2) for a 5:00 p.m. tipoff. Immediately following the women's game, the Holy Cross men's basketball team will play the second game of the two-for-one doubleheader against Albany at 7:00 p.m. The women's team will then host Fordham on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 1:00 p.m. in its next contest. The Crusaders will then have 11 days off for finals before they host Quinnipiac in their third annual "Get Fit with the Crusaders" game versus Quinnipiac at 11:30 a.m.

THE SERIES WITH THE HUSKIES: This will be the 20th meeting between Holy Cross and Northeastern, with the Crusaders holding the 14-5 series lead. The Huskies won the last matchup on Dec. 5, 2012 in Boston, Mass. by a score of 70-48. The last Holy Cross win came at the Hart Center on Dec. 7, 2011, as the Crusaders won 70-68. The series dates back to Feb. 26, 1983, where Holy Cross defeated Northeastern, 52-51, in Boston, Mass. The Crusaders won the first 12 matchups with the Huskies from 1982-2002, but Northeastern has won five of the last seven contests in this series. At the Hart Center, Holy Cross holds a 7-2 series record versus the Huskies. Northeastern won the only overtime game played between these two teams on Dec. 5, 2009 (89-82, 2ot).  

Overall: Holy Cross leads, 14-5
At Holy Cross: Holy Cross leads, 7-2
At Northeastern: Holy Cross leads, 7-3
At the Hart Center: Holy Cross leads, 7-2
In Overtime Games: Northeastern leads, 1-0
Current Win Streak: Northeastern, one game

HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION: In its program history, Holy Cross has played five of the nine teams currently in the Colonial Athletic Association (Drexel, Hofstra, UNC-Wilmington, Northeastern and Towson). This season, the Crusaders are scheduled to only play Northeastern, but could also play William & Mary in the second game of the Cyclone Classic on Dec. 29 in Ames, Iowa. Against CAA schools, Holy Cross holds a 23-6 overall record for a .793 winning percentage. The Crusaders own winning records over Drexel (1-0), Hofstra (6-1), UNC-Wilmington (1-0), Northeastern (14-5) and Towson (1-0).

CRUSADERS OFF TO HOT START: For the first time since the 1987-1988 season, Holy Cross is 5-0 to begin the campaign. It is only the fourth time in the 40-year school history that Holy Cross has started the season with a 5-0 record (1981-82/6-0; 1982-83/6-0; and 1987-88/5-0). The Crusaders have scored 74 or more points in every contest this season and have won by at least 16 points in the five games. In its game versus UMass Lowell (Nov. 16), Holy Cross scored over 90 points for the first time since 2005-2006. It was also the most points in a non-overtime game since the Crusaders scored 103 versus Colgate on Jan. 16, 2002. So far this season, the Crusaders hold large margins versus opponents in scoring (+21.2), rebounding (+9.0) and assists (+12.8). With a win versus Northeastern, it would be the first time since 1982-1983 that Holy Cross has started the season with a 6-0 record.

SCOTT NAMED PATRIOT LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: For her performance from Nov. 25 to Dec. 1, sophomore forward Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) was named Patriot League Anaconda Sports Player of the Week. Scott helped lead the Crusaders to a pair of wins versus UMass (Nov. 26) and Manhattan (Dec. 1) last week. She posted back-to-back double-doubles with 21 points and 12 rebounds versus UMass and 15 points and 13 boards against Manhattan. The two double-doubles were the second and third of her career. This season, Scott averages 16.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per contest. She currently leads the Patriot League in rebounding and is fourth and seventh in scoring and assists, respectively. Scott also ranks second in the conference with a .604 field-goal percentage. In the season-opener versus Dartmouth, 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. For her performance, Scott was named the GoHolyCross.com Crusader of the Week (11/11). Last season, Scott 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). She also ranked second in last season's Patriot League tournament with 10.7 rebounds per game.

SMITH TO LEAD CRUSADERS THIS SEASON: Senior guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) has been a key player to this year's team. She currently averages 16.6 points, 5.8 assists and 4.2 rebounds per contest. She also has a .534 shooting percentage (31 of 58) and has drilled 18 of her 38 three-pointers this season (47.4 percent). In the last game at Manhattan, Smith broke the Holy Cross all-time career three-pointers made record, as she currently has 278 treys. Versus the Jaspers, Smith totaled 13 points and a game-best eight assists. In the win over Massachusetts, Smith tallied a season-best 23 points and connected on five three pointers. Smith also played well versus Bryant (19 points, five rebounds, five steals), UMass Lowell (17 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals) and Dartmouth (11 points, six assists and three rebounds). She is nine three-pointers away from breaking the Patriot League career record of 286 set by Lehigh's Alex Ross. Smith also broke the Holy Cross record for most three-pointers attempted versus Dartmouth. Smith currently ranks first in the Patriot League in steals per game (2.6), assist-to-turnover ratio (4.8-to-1), three-pointers made (3.6), second in assists per game and fourth in points per game. In 2012-2013, Smith led the Patriot League with 14.5 points and 2.9 three-pointers made per game. 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 1,291 points (13th in HC history), 432 assists (8th in HC history), 372 rebounds and 169 steals. In 2012-2013, Smith was named first team and Academic All-Patriot League.

MALONE PLAYING WELL FOR HOLY CROSS: Senior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) has had a great season for the Crusaders thus far and currently averages 11.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per contest in 2012-2013. Malone filled the stat sheet in the win at Manhattan with 11 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals. Against UMass, Malone also had eight assists. Malone also played well versus Bryant (12 points, three rebounds), UMass Lowell (16 points, 12 rebounds; third career double-double) and Dartmouth (six assists and three rebounds). She currently ranks third in the Patriot League in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.4-to-1), seventh in assists per game, ninth in steals per game (1.6) and 18th in points per game. Last year, Malone was named to the Patriot League All-Tournament team 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 174 points away from 1,000 in her career.

PARKER STRONG IN THE POST: Holy Cross junior Emily Parker (Johnston, Iowa) has been an important cog in the frontcourt this season for the Crusaders. She currently is averaging 11.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots per game. In the last game at Manhattan, Parker totaled eight points, five rebounds and four blocks. Prior to that, she recorded her third career double-double versus UMass with 11 points and tied a career-best with 12 boards. Parker also played well versus Bryant (14 points, five rebounds), UMass Lowell (13 points, seven rebounds) and Dartmouth (11 points, nine rebounds). She currently ranks first in the Patriot League in offensive rebounds per game (4.0), second in blocked shots per game, fourth in field goal percentage (.550), ninth in rebounding and 17th in points per game.  In 25 games played last season, Parker averaged 5.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. She was named to the Patriot League All-Rookie team in 2011-2012 with 10.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest.

MIFSUD WITH INCREASED ROLE IN BACKCOURT: Crusader sophomore guard Lisa Mifsud (Erie, Pa.) has played a significant role in the backcourt this season for Holy Cross. She has started in all five games this year and is currently averaging 9.8 points, 3.6 assists and 2.2 rebounds per contest. In the last game at Manhattan, Mifsud scored 11 points and connected on a trio of three-pointers. 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. She currently ranks second in the Patriot League in free-throw percentage (.923), seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6-to-1), 10th in assists and 26th in scoring. Mifsud played in 30 games in 2012-2013 and averaged 2.2 points per game.  

HOURIGAN LOOKS TO IMPROVE ON FRESHMAN SEASON: Holy Cross sophomore center Molly Hourigan (Memphis, N.Y.) will look to continue her strong freshman campaign this season. She is currently averaging 5.6 points and 3.2 rebounds through five games played. 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. 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. She has seen action in four contests this season and is averaging 2.5 points and 1.8 rebounds 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 had her best game as a Crusader in the win over Bryant, with career-highs of eight points and two rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Both Gillespie and Walsh have seen time in all five contests this season. Gillespie played in 14 games and made two starts last season, while Walsh saw action in a pair of contests.

FRESHMEN SEE EXPANDED ROLE: Holy Cross freshmen guard/forwards Jenn Dynis (St Louis, Mo.) and Madelyn Ganser (Needham, Mass.) have seen action in all five games this season and have been key contributors. Dynis currently averages 5.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per contest. In the last game at Manhattan, she tallied six points, three boards and a pair of assists. She 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. Ganser is averaging 1.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. In the win over Manhattan, she recorded a career-best five points and four rebounds. 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 during the 2013-2014 campaign. Smith was co-captain with graduate Amy Lepley during the 2012-2013 season.

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: Holy Cross' fast start to the season is a testament to its selflessness on the offensive end of the floor. As of Dec. 1, the Crusaders are ranked first in the nation with 23.8 assists per contest. The Crusaders have had over 20 assists in four of the five games this season and in their last game at Manhattan, they dished out 26 assists on 29 field goals. Holy Cross had 28 assists on 32 shots in the season opener versus Dartmouth. Alex Smith is 32nd in the nation with 5.8 assists per game, while Brisje Malone ranks 46th in the country with 5.4 helpers per contest. Last season, Holy Cross ranked first in the Patriot League and 34th in the nation with 15.5 assists per contest.

HOLY CROSS' HIGH OCTANE OFFENSE: The Holy Cross offense has been a big part of its success this season. The Crusaders currently rank first in the Patriot League in scoring offense (80.2), scoring margin (+21.2), field-goal percentage (47.0) and assists (23.8). Holy Cross has four players, Raquel Scott, Alex Smith, Emily Parker and Brisje Malone who all are ranked in the top 20 in Patriot League scoring leaders and who all are averaging double-digit points per game. 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. Last year, 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).

Category  Rank       Player / Team        Avg. / Pct.
Win-Loss Percentage 1   Holy Cross 100.0
Assists Per Game 1   Holy Cross 23.8
  32   Alex Smith 5.8
  46   Brisje Malone 5.4
Assist-Turnover Ratio 1   Alex Smith 4.83
  4   Holy Cross 1.75
  22   Brisje Malone 3.38
Three-Pointers Per Game 9   Alex Smith 3.6
  48   Holy Cross


Field-Goal Percentage 21   Raquel Scott 60.4
  23   Holy Cross 47.0
Scoring Margin 21   Holy Cross 21.2
Three-Point Percentage 21   Holy Cross 38.9
  28   Alex Smith 47.7
Blocked Shots Per Game 34   Emily Parker 2.40
Turnovers Per Game 34   Holy Cross 13.6
Three-Point Percentage Defense      35   Holy Cross 24.5
Rebound Margin 35
Holy Cross 9.0
Scoring Offense 38
Holy Cross 80.2
Scoring Defense 49   Holy Cross 59.0

HOME SWEET HOME: Holy Cross boasts a very strong record when playing at the Hart Center. In now their 40th season, the Crusaders have an all-time record winning percentage of .742 when playing their games at home (355-123). Since Holy Cross went to Division I during the 1982-83 season, they hold an even better .763 winning percentage with a record of 316-98 at the Hart Center.

MANHATTAN RECAP: Holy Cross sophomore forward Raquel Scott notched her third career double-double with game-highs of 15 points and a season-best 13 rebounds to help lead the Crusaders to a 74-58 triumph over Manhattan in non-conference women's basketball action on Sunday afternoon. With the win, Holy Cross improves to 5-0 on the season, while the Jaspers slip to 1-5 overall. This is the best start for the Crusaders since the 1987-1988 season, where they also began the campaign with a 5-0 mark. The Crusaders were also led by senior guard Brisje Malone who filled the stat sheet with 11 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and a game-high five steals. Fourth-year guard Alex Smith totaled 13 points and tied Malone with a game-best eight helpers. She also canned a trio of three-pointers, which makes her Holy Cross' all-time leader in three-pointers made with 278. Freshman guard Lisa Mifsud scored 11 points, while sophomore forward Emily Parker recorded eight points and five boards. Manhattan's Kayla Grimme tallied a 14 point and 10 rebound double-double to lead the Jaspers. Holy Cross jumped ahead right out of the gate, as it claimed the 25-9 lead at the 11:19 mark of the first half. Smith totaled eight points during the opening run, while Parker added six. Manhattan closed the deficit to 10 points, as it when on a 10-4 rally to make the score 29-19 with 5:09 on the clock. The Crusaders outscored the Jaspers, 10-8, over the final five minutes of the half and went into the locker room with the 39-27 lead. After the intermission, Holy Cross used a 16-5 rally to gain the 57-32 advantage with 14:10 on the clock. Scott tallied seven points for the Crusaders during the early surge. Manhattan scored six straight points to cut the margin to 57-38, but Holy Cross countered with an 11-3 run to earn its largest lead of the game (68-41) with 6:54 left in the second half. The Jaspers closed the game on a 17-6 rally, but Holy Cross would go on to claim the 74-58 victory. Holy Cross connected on 29 of its 61 shots from the field (47.5 percent), while it limited Manhattan to 38.9 percent shooting (21 of 54). The Crusaders canned 50 percent of its shots from behind the arc (10 of 20), while the Jaspers hit seven of 23 from downtown (30.4 percent). Holy Cross held advantages in assists (26-16), rebounds (41-28), points in the paint (34-22) and fast break points (8-0). The Crusaders had assists on 26 of their 29 field goals in the game.

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 HUSKIES: Northeastern comes into this contest with a 4-2 overall record and are coming off a loss versus Harvard on Nov. 26 (81-74). Prior to the loss to the Crimson, the Huskies won three straight games versus New Hampshire (70-50), Rhode Island (64-59) and NJIT (79-55). Northeastern is led by A'lece Mark, who averages 19.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Jewell Tunstull averages 14.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest, while Amencie Mercier has 7.2 points and 4.0 assists per game. Northeastern head coach Daynia La-Force is in her seventh season at the helm of the Huskies and has an overall record of 100-143. In her seven seasons at Northeastern, she holds a 76-136 record. Prior to Northeastern, La-Force was the head coach at New Haven.