Nov. 26, 2004
Fort Collins, Colo. - The University of Alabama at Birmingham defeated Holy Cross, 66-65 in the first game of the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational at Moby Arena on Friday night. Senior guard Maggie Fontana (Barrington, Ill.) put up a double-double with 10 boards and 10 points, and freshman guard Laura Aloisi (Nashua, N.H.) had a team-high and a career-high 14 points, but it was not enough, as the Blazers hung on to win in the final minute of the game.
"This is a very disappointing loss," said Crusaders head coach Bill Gibbons. "We did not play smart defensively or rebound. We have two one-point losses to UMass an UAB and both losses were because of rebounding," said Gibbons. "We need to work on those things to improve. We have to get better because we have a killer schedule coming up with two Top 20 teams in Boston College and UConn," Gibbons said.
The Crusaders took an early 11-4 lead, after a quick seven points by sophomore guard Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.). Aloisi's three-ball then put Holy Cross up 16-8. The Blazers chipped away at the lead and got within two after a jumper by Crystal McFadden, followed by a strong take to the basket by Carmen Guzman, and two LaKitha Murray free throws.
Holy Cross started to pull away again after Sarah Placek's (Alexandria, Va.) fast break lay-in, an Aloisi free throw, and a nice take to the basket by Shannon Bush (Doylestown, Pa.) gave the Crusaders a 21-16 lead with just over six minutes to go in the half. Holy Cross would then go up by as much as 10 points (28-18) after a Jessica Conte (New Canaan, Conn.) long ball, but the Blazers responded with a three of their own, and went on a 9-0 run until a Fontana rebound and putback, gave the Crusaders a 30-27 lead at the half.
In the second, the Crusaders started on an 8-4 run with 16:37 remaining, thanks to a Fontana hoop and steal, and a Placek jumper. The Blazers came back again and took the lead for the first time in the game, 39-38 after back-to-back turnovers by the Crusaders, and back-to-back lay-ups for UAB. The remaining 14 minutes saw multiple lead changes, with UAB eventually coming out on top.
Holy Cross went up 41-39 after an Andrews free-throw, but Guzman hit a shot to tie the game, 41-all. The Crusaders went up six (58-52) with 6:49 remaining after a Placek lay-in and a Conte three-point-play.
But Lauren Brittingham brought the Blazers back to tie the game at 58, and Diamond Rogers gave UAB the lead, 62-60 with 3:10 remaining after a hoop in the paint. With 1:22 left, Conte's rebound and putback after her own missed free throw gave the Crusaders a one point lead, 63-62. Brittingham responded with a jumper, giving the lead back to UAB with under one minute remaining. After a Holy Cross miss, UAB took a three-point lead (66-63) with under ten seconds remaining. Fontana then made it a one-point game after a basket on the other end. HC got the ball back as time ran down, and Aloisi's last second chance rimmed out, giving UAB a 66-65 victory.
Keil had nine points for the Crusaders, Placek contributed eight, and Lisa Andrews (Concord, Mass.) chipped in seven. Guzman led the UAB with a game-high 21 points. Brittingham added 14 points, all of which she scored in the second-half thanks to four steals, and McFadden had 11 for the 1-3 Blazers. UAB takes on host Colorado State, which beat Iona 108-59, in the championship game tomorrow night at 9:00 EST. Holy Cross (2-2) faces Iona in the consolation game tomorrow at 7:00 EST.