Crusaders Rally To Beat Lehigh, 71-68

Jan. 30, 2005

Box Score

Worcester, Mass. - Senior Maggie Fontana (Barrington, Ill.) scored a game-high and a season-high 21 points to lead Holy Cross to a 71-68 victory over visiting Lehigh (14-6, 6-1) in a dogfight between the only two undefeated teams in the Patriot League on Sunday afternoon.

The Crusaders (12-8, 7-0 Patriot League) hand Lehigh its first league loss of the season, while rattling off their seventh straight win.

Junior guard Sarah Placek (Alexandria, Va.) came up with two huge steals and six points in just over a one minute span down the stretch to give Holy Cross the lead for good with 3:12 remaining.

Lehigh went into the break with a slim one point lead (33-32) after the two teams played a back-and-forth half, which featured seven lead changes and four ties. Neither team could manage more than a five point lead, combining for 27 first half turnovers (HC 17).

The Crusaders came out in the second on a 6-2 run, taking the lead back 38-35 with 17:49 remaining. The Mountain Hawks then went on a 10-2 tear before a Jessica Conte (New Canaan, Conn.) three-ball cut the lead to three (45-42) with 13:18 left.

Lehigh led for more than 14 minutes in the second half, but could not break away from the Crusaders who stayed within six points or less the whole way. With 4:28 remaining, the Mountain Hawks had a four point lead (61-57) until Placek broke out for the Crusaders. Her jumper with 3:12 left gave HC its first lead of the game since the 17:49 mark in the second.

Fontana came up big down the stretch sinking four free throws to seal the win for the Crusaders. Fontana shot a season-best 11-for-11 from the charity stripe. The 5-foot-11 Illinois native also grabbed nine rebounds.

Conte finished with 12 points, going 4-for-6 from the field, while Lisa Andrews (Concord, Mass.) tallied 11 points and two blocks and Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) added 10 points for the home team. Placek had eight points, three steals, two assists and a rebound on the afternoon.

Freshman Ashley McLaughlin (Andover, Mass.) also played a key role underneath, pulling down six boards to go along with four points, two assists and two steals.

Lehigh had three players in double-figures led by Jessica DePalo's 19 points. Sara Ellis finished with 17 and Adrienne Blount came off the bench to score 10.

The Crusaders are back in action next Friday night at the Hart Center when they play host to Navy. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m.