March 8, 2006
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Junior center Kaitlin Foley recorded her fourth career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds and two other Crusaders reached double figures, but it was not enough as the Holy Cross women's basketball team dropped a heartbreaking 69-68 decision to Army in the championship game of the Patriot League Tournament in front of 2,474 fans on Wednesday night at Christl Arena. The Crusaders finish the season with a 16-14 overall record. Army improves to 20-10.
The conference title, which is Army's first-ever in the 16-year history of the Patriot League, also gives the Black Knights an automatic bid to the 2006 NCAA Tournament beginning on March 18.
Foley finished the game 7-for-14 from the field and 3-for-4 from the free throw line, while registering her team-high 17 points and game-high 10 boards. Junior guard Brittany Keil added 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting and senior guard Shannon Bush scored 10 points, while grabbing six rebounds. Sophomore point guard Laura Aloisi totaled a game-high and a career-high 12 assists, to go along with six points, three steals and two rebounds.
Foley, Keil and Aloisi were all named to the All-Tournament Team.
The game was deadlocked at 40 with 15:11 on the clock when Holy Cross ran off 11 straight points, to take a 51-40 lead with 11:28 to go. The Black Knights got within seven three minutes later, but a Jessica Conte triple at the 7:54 mark put Holy Cross back on top by 10 (58-48).
Army clawed its way back into the game, however, and went on a 15-2 run to re-claim the lead (61-60) with 4:20 to go. Freshman guard Alex McGuire scored six of Army's 15 points during the run. A Margaree King jumper put Army up 63-60 with 3:50 to go, but Holy Cross rattled off five straight points (Bush drive and a Keil trey) to go back on top, 65-63 with 2:16 left.
Stefanie Stone converted on a traditional three-point play with 1:49 remaining, putting the Black Knights back on top by one (66-65), but a Conte jumper from the corner gave Holy Cross a 67-66 advantage with less than a minute to go. McGuire then hit two free throws with 45 seconds left, giving Army the lead back (68-67) until Foley tied the game at 68-all after making one of two foul shots with 35 seconds on the clock.
With 34.9 seconds to go, Holy Cross had possession of the ball and ran the clock down while looking for a final shot. But with 13 seconds left, Stone intercepted a pass at the top of the key and was fouled while going up for the fast break lay-in on the other end. Stone missed the first of her two free throws, but drained the second, which gave the Black Knights a 69-68 lead with eight seconds remaining. On the ensuing inbound, Holy Cross lost possession of the ball and was tied up in a jump ball situation. The Crusaders retained possession, but three more seconds had ticked off the clock. With five seconds to go, Aloisi took the inbounds pass and drove the lane, but could not convert the lay-up and did not get a foul called, and time expired.
The Army defense held Holy Cross to just 10 points in the final 7:54 after Conte's three, which had given the Crusaders the 58-48 lead.
Holy Cross shot 50.0 percent in the second half, while the Black Knights made 55.6 percent of their shots in the final twenty minutes. The Crusaders only went to the line six times (5-for-6) in the game. Army was 11-for-15 from the charity stripe on the night and held a slight (31-30) rebound advantage over Holy Cross.
Army went into the break up 31-30 after a back-and-forth first half of play that saw three ties and nine lead changes. The Black Knights had their largest lead of the half (12-7) at the 14:01 mark until the Crusaders went on a 7-0 run to take a 14-12 lead after a Bush trey with 11:27 remaining. Holy Cross was up three (28-25) with 3:03 on the clock following a Foley rebound and putback, but the Cadets outscored the Crusaders, 6-2 to end the half.
Army was led by freshman Alex McGuire's 18 points. Margaree King scored 12 points and Stefanie Stone added 11. McGuire was also named to the All-Tournament Team, while sophomore guard Cara Enright (eight points, six rebounds) was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player.