WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army sophomore guard Kelsey Minato tallied a game-high 31 points to help lead the Black Knights to a 68-58 victory over Holy Cross in the Patriot League Tournament championship game on Saturday evening at Christl Arena. With the win, Army earns the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA women's basketball tournament with a 25-7 overall record, while the Crusaders fall to 20-12 on the season. Holy Cross senior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) and sophomore forward Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) were named to the Patriot League All-Tournament team.
Army jumped ahead in the contest, 6-2 at the 17:18 mark of the first half, but a 9-0 run by the Crusaders gave them the 11-6 lead (13:29). Holy Cross held the 13-9 edge with 11:39 on the clock, but the Black Knights erupted on an 13-2 rally to gain the 23-15 advantage (6:06). The Crusaders cut the deficit to one (23-22) with seven quick points over the next 2:19, but Army ended the half on a 10-4 spurt to head into the locker room with the 33-26 lead.
The Black Knights slowly increased their halftime advantage to 15 points (48-33) with 11:40 on the clock. Holy Cross tried to get back into the game, as it cut the deficit to nine points on three occasions, but a three-pointer by Minato with 4:14 on the clock put Army up by 58-46. The Crusaders responded with four quick points to slice the margin to eight points (58-50), but Minato countered with an old-fashioned three-pointer to put the Black Knights up by 11 points (61-50) with 1:53 left in the half. Holy Cross tried one final effort, as Malone hit a three-pointer with 50 seconds left to make the score 63-56, but Army finished the game going five of six from the free throw line to claim the 68-58 victory.
The Crusaders were led by Scott, who tallied her 18th double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Senior guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) and Malone both scored team-highs of 16 points, while senior forward Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) hauled in seven rebounds.
Holy Cross shot 22 of 63 from the floor (34.9 percent), while Army hit 43.4 percent from the field (23 of 53). The Crusaders canned three of 14 from behind the arc (21.4 percent), while the Black Knights connected on 38.5 percent of their shots from downtown (5 of 13). Holy Cross held advantages in rebounding (43-36) and points in the paint (30-20), while it was outmatched in points off turnovers (14-9) and bench points (18-2).