Holy Cross Entertains Loyola In Mid-Week Contest

Clare Sullivan

Click here to view game notes in PDF format

The Teams: Holy Cross (17-10, 9-7 PL) vs. Loyola Maryland (5-22, 2-14 PL)
Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Recreation Center (3,600)
Television: Charter TV3, Worcester (PxP: Kevin Shea; Color: Amy O'Brien Davagian)
Radio: None
Video Streaming: Patriot League Network | Click here to watch
Unofficial Live Statistics: PrestoSports Primetime | Click here to view
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 2-1
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 80, Loyola 65 (Jan. 29, 2014; Baltimore, Md.)

Pos., No., Name, Ht., Cl.
G, 2, Brisje Malone, 5-9, Sr.
G, 12, Lisa Mifsud, 5-7, So.
G, 22, Alex Smith, 5-8, Sr.
F, 31, Raquel Scott, 6-0, So.
C, 40, Molly Hourigan, 6-4, So.

Overall: Holy Cross leads, 2-1
At Holy Cross: Holy Cross leads, 1-0
At Loyola: Holy Cross leads, 1-0
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, one games
First Meeting: At Holy Cross on Jan. 27, 1990 (HC, 82-50)
Last Holy Cross Win: At Loyola on Jan. 29, 2014 (80-65)
Last Loyola Win: At Philadelphia, Pa. (N) on Dec. 28, 1999 (64-57)
In Overtime Games: N/A
Bill Gibbons vs. Loyola: 2-1
Joe Logan vs. Holy Cross: 0-1

SETTING THE STAGE: The Holy Cross women's basketball team (17-10, 9-7 PL) will play its 28th game of the season on Wednesday, Feb. 26, when it hosts Loyola Maryland (5-22, 2-14 PL) at the Hart Center for a 7:00 p.m. contest. The game will be the last home game of the regular season for the Crusaders. Holy Cross won the first matchup against the Greyhounds back on Jan. 29 in Baltimore, Md. by a score of 80-65. This will be the fourth meeting between these two schools, with Holy Cross holding the 2-1 series edge. Prior to this season, the last matchup came during the St. Joseph Classic in Philadelphia, Pa. on Dec. 28, 1999 with the Greyhounds claiming the 64-57 victory. The first meeting was on Jan. 27, 1990 at Holy Cross, as the Crusaders won the contest, 82-50.

LAST TIME OUT: The Crusaders three-game winning streak came to a close in their last contest, as they were defeated by Navy, 64-57 on Feb. 22 in Annapolis, Md. With the score tied at 18-18 in the first half (5:26), both teams went back and forth, as there were six lead changes and a pair of tied scores, but Navy went into the locker room on top 29-27. In the second half, Navy used a 9-2 rally to push its lead to nine points (38-29) with 17:41 on the clock. The Mids kept the margin (42-33) at the 14:44 mark, but the Crusaders sliced the deficit to four points (44-40) with 11:12 on the clock. Navy then surged ahead on a 13-3 run to grab its largest lead of the contest, 57-43 (6:44). Holy Cross tried to mount a comeback, as it trailed by five points (62-57) with 39 seconds left, but it would not get any closer as Navy held on to claim the 64-57 victory. Holy Cross sophomore Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) and senior Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) scored 15 points apiece, while senior Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) chipped in with 10 points. The Crusaders shot 33.3 percent from the field (19 of 57) and were outmatched in total rebounds (47-35), assists (18-15) and points in the paint (30-20).

CRUSADERS CONTINUE PATRIOT LEAGUE SLATE: Through 16 games in the Patriot League schedule, Holy Cross is in fifth place in the conference with a 9-7 record. The Crusaders trail Navy (14-2), American (12-4), Army (11-4) and Bucknell (10-6) in the Patriot League standings. The Black Knights will play a make-up game with Lehigh on Feb. 24.

WELCOME TO THE 1,000 POINT CLUB: Holy Cross senior Brisje Malone scored the 1000th point of her career in the win over Lafayette on Feb. 19. She became the 30th player in program history to accomplish the feat and the 87th Patriot League student-athlete to earn the milestone.

AN ELITE GROUP: Senior Alex Smith is one of eight current Division I women's basketball players who have accumulated over 1,500 points, 500 assists and 400 rebounds in a career. Smith is also the only Holy Cross player ever to achieve those numbers as she has totaled 1,578 points, 538 assists and 440 rebounds as a Crusader.

MILESTONES WITHIN REACH: Many current Crusader players are closing in on Holy Cross records or personal milestones. Senior Alex Smith is currently tied for fifth all-time in Holy Cross history with 1,578 career points and is 143 points away from fourth place. She is also 31 assists shy of fourth place in school history, as she has 538 helpers in her career. With a start versus Loyola, Smith would be tied for third place in Holy Cross history with 121 career games started. Senior Brisje Malone ranks 27th in Holy Cross history with 1,021 career points and is eight points away from moving into 26th place all-time. Malone also is now eighth in school history with 438 assists in her career and is 47 away from the seventh spot. Smith and Malone join Maggie Fontana as the only three players in program history to record over 1,000 points, 400 rebounds and 400 assists in a career. Raquel Scott hauled in her 400th rebound of her career at Navy, as she currently has 406 total caroms. Sophomore Molly Hourigan (Memphis, N.Y.) is six blocked shots away from recording the 100th of her career.

WHAT'S TRENDING?: Holy Cross has done well this season when it scores 70 or more points in a game, as its record is 14-3 in those contests. When the Crusaders hold teams under 70 points, they are 14-3, while they are 16-1 in games where they hold the halftime lead. In games played on Wednesdays, Holy Cross is 8-1. 

SCOUTING REPORT: Loyola comes into this contest in 10th place in the Patriot League with a 5-22 overall record and a 2-14 mark in the conference. The Greyhounds have dropped their last eight contests, but have forced overtime in the losses to Army (56-45) and most recently Colgate (67-65). Loyola's two league wins this season came at Lehigh (70-64) and at Colgate (61-54). The Greyhounds are led offensively by Nai Brown, who averages 15.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Kara Marshall has played in 10 games this season and has 13.5 points per game, while Lisa Mirarchi averages 8.0 points and 3.6 assists per contest. Loyola is led by ninth-year head coach Joe Logan, who comes into this contest with an overall record of 126-145. He guided Loyola to a WNIT appearance and first round win in 2010-2011. 

NEXT TIME OUT: The Crusaders will conclude the regular season with a road game at Boston University on March 2 at 1:00 p.m. The Patriot League Women's Basketball Tournament will begin on March 4 with the first-round contests and continue to the championship game, which will be held on March 15. Game hosts are determined by tournament seedings.

RAQ-ING UP THE REBOUNDS: Holy Cross sophomore forward Raquel Scott has been a key reason for the Crusaders' success this season with her dominant play in the paint. Scott currently leads the squad with 16.4 points and 9.2 rebounds, while shooting at a 49.7 percent clip from the field (169 of 340). Scott has led Holy Cross in rebounding in 21 of the 27 games this season and leads the squad and also the Patriot League with 14 double-doubles. At Navy, Scott posted 15 points and team-best eight rebounds, while she recorded her third straight and 14th double-double of the season at Lafayette with team-highs of 25 points and 10 rebounds to go along with five assists. Scott registered her 13th and 12th double-doubles of the year versus Lehigh (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Army (career-high 27 points, 11 rebounds). She also tied the Holy Cross single-game record of 13 free throws converted versus the Black Knights. In the win over Colgate, Scott poured in 15 points and a career-best eight assists, while at Loyola she posted her 11th double-double of the season with 16 points and a game-best 12 caroms. In the three games prior to Loyola, she recorded double-doubles versus Navy (10 points, 11 rebounds), Lafayette (18 points, 12 rebounds) and Lehigh (23 points, 16 rebounds). She also played well versus Army (15 points, five rebounds, three steals), Colgate (16 points, career-best 16 rebounds), American (15 points, 10 rebounds), Boston University (career-best 24 points, 10 rebounds), Boston College (16 points, 10 rebounds), Fordham (21 points, eight rebounds), Massachusetts (21 points, 12 rebounds), Manhattan (15 points, 13 rebounds), Northeastern (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Dartmouth (22 points, seven rebounds, five assists). On Dec. 2, Scott was named Patriot League Anaconda Sports Player of the Week, in helping the Crusaders to a pair of victories over UMass and Manhattan. For her performance against Dartmouth, Scott was named the GoHolyCross.com Crusader of the Week (11/11).

SMITH PLAYS WELL AT THE POINT: Senior guard Alex Smith has been a key player to this year's team at the point guard position. She is the only player on the roster to start in all 27 games and currently averages 13.7 points, 5.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per contest. Smith also has a .413 shooting percentage (132 of 320) and has drilled 76 of 199 from behind the arc (38.2 percent). Smith scored 10 points at Navy, while she had 15 points and five helpers versus Lehigh and 23 points and five rebounds in the win over Army. At Bucknell, she totaled 12 points and five helpers, while in the win over Colgate, she canned a trio of three-pointers en route to an 11 point performance. Versus American, Smith recorded 15 points and a contest-high seven assists while also scoring her 1,500th point. She also played well versus Loyola (17 points, five rebounds), Navy (11 points, six assists), Lafayette (22 points, five assists), Lehigh (19 points, six rebounds, five assists), Army (19 points, six rebounds), Bucknell (17 points, seven assists), Quinnipiac (career-best 31 points – set Holy Cross record for most points (27) in one half), Northeastern (15 points, eight assists), Manhattan (13 points, eight assists), UMass (23 points, five three-pointers made), Bryant (19 points, five rebounds, five steals) and UMass Lowell (17 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, four steals). This season she was named Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week (Dec. 23) and the GoHolyCross.com Player of the Week (Feb. 17).

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 24 of the 27 games this year and is currently averaging 10.8 points, 3.3 assists and 2.0 rebounds per contest. Mifsud has also drained 32.2 percent of her shots from behind the arc (37 of 115), which is second on the team. She scored 20 points in the win over Lafayette, while she led the team at Bucknell with 16 point and five assists. In the win over Colgate, she posted 12 points and four assists, while at Loyola, Mifsud scored 10 points and went five of six from the charity stripe. She scored a team-high 12 points versus Navy, while in the win over Lafayette, she recorded 19 points and a team-best six assists, as she was five of eight shooting from behind the arc. She also played well versus Lehigh (15 points, seven assists), Army (12 points, six assists), Bucknell (career-high 23 points), Colgate (10 points), American (nine points, three assists), Boston College (11 points), Fordham (11 points, four assists), Manhattan (11 points, three three-pointers), UMass Lowell (15 points, seven assists, five rebounds) and Dartmouth (12 points, four helpers).

MALONE PUTTING UP GREAT NUMBERS: Senior guard Brisje Malone has had a great season for the Crusaders thus far and currently averages 10.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists per contest. She also ranks first on the team with 1.8 steals per game. At Navy, she totaled 15 points, five rebounds and four assists, while in the win at Lafayette, Malone became the 30th player in Holy Cross history to eclipse the 1,000 career point milestone, as she totaled 15 points and six assists. In the win over Lehigh, she tallied 16 points and five assists, while at Bucknell, she totaled 15 points, four assists and four steals, while moving into 10th place in HC history in career helpers. In the win over Colgate, Malone tallied nine points, three assists and a trio of swipes, while at Loyola, she made the start and posted eight points and five rebounds. Malone also played well versus Colgate (12 points, five assists), American (seven points, nine rebounds), Boston University (19 points, five rebounds, five assists), St. Louis (11 points, eight rebounds, game-winning basket), Quinnipiac (15 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds; second double-double of season), Northeastern (14 points, seven rebounds, seven assists), Manhattan (11 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, five steals) and UMass Lowell (16 points, 12 rebounds; third career double-double). She was named the GoHolyCross.com Crusader of the Week (12/30).

HOURIGAN PLAYS BIG DOWN LOW: Holy Cross sophomore center Molly Hourigan has played well this season for Holy Cross and is averaging 5.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks through 27 games played and has started in the last 13 contests. Over the past eight games, Hourigan has compiled 33 blocked shots and currently ranks second in the Patriot League. In the win over Lafayette, she posted 10 points and five caroms, while versus Lehigh she totaled six points, six rebounds and seven blocked shots. At Army, Hourigan tallied nine points, 10 rebounds and a career-best eight blocked shots, while in the win against Colgate, she totaled nine points, a team-high seven rebounds and three blocks. In the win over Loyola, Hourigan had her best game in a Crusader uniform as the sophomore notched her first career double-double with 16 points (ties career-best) and a career-high 10 rebounds. Hourigan also played well versus Navy (seven points, nine rebounds, five blocks), Lehigh (12 points, five blocks), Army (six blocks), Iowa State (10 points, five rebounds), Boston College (seven rebounds), Northeastern (eight rebounds), UMass Lowell (10 points and five rebounds) and Dartmouth (seven points, seven rebounds and three blocks). 

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 and currently averages 10.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, while shooting a 54.2 percent clip from the field (84 of 155). In the win over Lafayette, she totaled 11 points and a pair of rebounds, while at Bucknell she posted 15 points and a team-high eight caroms. At Colgate, Parker recorded a career-best 23 points and 12 rebounds at Colgate, while against American she tallied 17 points and eight rebounds. Parker also played well versus Boston University (12 points nine rebounds, three blocks), Saint Louis (13 points), Quinnipiac (12 points), Fordham/Northeastern (eight points, eight rebounds), Manhattan (eight points, five rebounds, four blocks), UMass (11 points, 12 rebounds), Bryant (14 points, five rebounds), UMass Lowell (13 points, seven rebounds) and Dartmouth (11 points, nine rebounds). She was named the GoHolyCross.com Crusader of the Week (1/6).

GANSER AND SULLIVAN ADD FRONTCOURT DEPTH: Senior forward Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) and junior forward Clare Sullivan (Belmont, Mass.) have added depth to the frontcourt this season for the Crusaders. Ganser has started in three games and is averaging 3.6 points and 3.0 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game. In the win over Colgate, she hauled in six boards, while versus American, she totaled a season-best nine points to go along with four rebounds. She earned her first start of the season versus Navy and scored eight points, while in the win over Lafayette, she totaled five points and five rebounds. Sullivan is averaging 3.1 points and 0.8 rebounds in 7.9 minutes per game. She scored a season-best seven points at UMass Lowell, while she has tallied six points in a pair of games versus Bucknell and Lafayette.

OFF THE BENCH: Holy Cross has used a trio of guards off the bench this season to give it the ability to have many different lineups. Senior Kelly Hamner (Manassas, Va.) has played in 26 games this season with five starts. She is averaging 1.3 points and 1.7 rebounds per game this season. Second-year players Kate Gillespie (Washington, D.C.) and Jenn Walsh (Dallas, Texas) also have seen action this season off the bench. Gillespie has played in 26 games this season and averages 2.0 points and 1.0 rebounds per game. She tallied a career-best 16 points on five of six shooting from behind the arc in the win over Army. Walsh has seen action in seven contests this season. Holy Cross freshmen Jenn Dynis (St Louis, Mo.) and Madelyn Ganser (Needham, Mass.) have also helped the Crusaders off the bench this season. Ganser, the sister of senior forward Christine, has played in 22 games and averages 1.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game. She posted four points and tied a career-high with four rebounds versus Army, while she had three points and four rebounds against Bucknell. Ganser scored a career-best five points at Manhattan. Dynis has appeared in 18 games, with one start at UMass Lowell. Versus the Riverhawks, she recorded a career-best 11 points and five rebounds.

HIGH OCTANE OFFENSE: The Holy Cross offense has been a big part of its success this season. The Crusaders currently lead the Patriot League in scoring offense (71.1), field-goal percentage (43.3) and assists per game (18.0), while they rank fourth in three-point percentage (33.6) and scoring margin (+4.1). Holy Cross has scored 70 or more points in 17 games this season which is the most since the 2001-02 team scored 70+ in 22 contests. The Crusaders have also tallied 90 or more points on three occasions this year, which ties them with the 2001-02 squad, who also scored 90+ in three games. Holy Cross also has five players on the team (Raquel Scott, Alex Smith, Emily Parker, Lisa Mifsud and Brisje Malone), who all average double-digit points. The closest team in the Patriot League, Navy, has three players on its roster who average double-digit points per game. 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).

TWENTY WINS WITHIN REACH: With two regular season games and at least one Patriot League Tournament game remaining, the 17-10 Crusaders are three wins shy of the 20-win plateau. If accomplished, it would be the first time since the 2004-2005 season that Holy Cross has won 20 or more contests, as that squad finished the year with a 20-11 overall record. Over the 39 years of Holy Cross women's basketball, the Crusaders have won at least 20 games in 20 seasons. Head coach Bill Gibbons has 16 20-win campaigns to his name.

HELP ME HELP YOU: Holy Cross' impressive season is a testament to its unselfish style of play on the offensive end of the floor. As of the Feb. 23, the Crusaders are ranked 12th in the nation with 18.0 assists per game. Holy Cross has had over 20 assists in eight contests this season with a season-best 28 versus Dartmouth. The Crusaders have also had assists on 69 percent of their field goals on the year. As of the Feb. 23 rankings, Alex Smith and Brisje Malone rank in the top-100 in the nation in assists per game. Smith ranks 57th in the country and first in the Patriot League with 5.0 helpers per game, while Malone is 86th in the nation with and third in the conference with 4.6 assists per contest. Last season, Holy Cross ranked first in the Patriot League and 34th in the nation with 15.5 assists per contest.

MILESTONE WIN FOR GIBBONS: Holy Cross head coach Bill Gibbons won his 550th career game on Feb. 19, 2014 at Lafayette. Gibbons, the winningest coach in program and Patriot League history, came into the season ranked 43rd all-time in Division I history with 533 victories. Prior to the season, he was also ranked the 37th active winningest coach by victories across all three Divisions and the 20th for Division I. His overall record currently stands at 550-325 (.629), while he is 287-105 (.732) in Patriot League contests.

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.

SMITH NOMINATED FOR PAIR OF AWARDS: Alex Smith was nominated for both the Senior CLASS Award for Division I women's basketball and the Allstate Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Good Works Team. The Senior CLASS Award recognizes NCAA student-athletes who have notable achievements in four area of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. In its second year, the Allstate WBCA Good Works Team honors players at all levels of college basketball who represent the sport's finest in the areas of leadership and charitable achievements amongst their peers. A total of 84 women's basketball players from all levels of collegiate play were listed as nominees for the Allstate Good Works Team. More information about the Allstate WBCA Good Works Team® is available at www.wbca.org. For more information about the Senior CLASS award, go to www.seniorclassaward.com/womensbasketball.

HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: This season, the Crusaders are ranked in the Top-75 in the NCAA Division I leaders in five statistical categories. In addition, Alex Smith, Brisje Malone, Raquel Scott and Molly Hourigan are all ranked in the Top-75 in six individual statistics as well. The rankings through games on Feb. 23:

Category                                             Rank                    Player / Team                                   Value           
Assists Per Game 12 Holy Cross 18.0
  57 Alex Smith 5.0
Assist/Turnover Ratio 16 Holy Cross 1.27
  45 Alex Smith 2.05
  69 Brisje Malone 1.86
Double-Doubles 22 Raquel Scott 14.0
Blocks Per Game 31 Molly Hourigan 2.33
  70 Holy Cross 4.0
Three-Pointers Per Game 36 Alex Smith 2.81
Field Goal Percentage 55 Holy Cross 43.3
Turnovers Per Game 57 Holy Cross 14.1
Three-Point Percentage 63 Alex Smith 38.2

 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 .737 when playing their games at home (359-128). Since Holy Cross went to Division I during the 1982-83 season, they hold an even better .757 winning percentage with a record of 320-103 at the Hart Center. 

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 four 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
Jan. 18 at Lehigh: Service Electric Cable Network
Feb. 19 at Lafayette: Lafayette Sports Network
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

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