Women's Basketball Opens Patriot League Play at Lafayette

Jan. 8, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (5-10, 0-0 PL) vs. Lafayette (6-9, 0-0 PL)
Date: January 10, 2009
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Allan P. Kirby Sports Center (3,500), Easton, Pa.
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester, www.worcesterpike.com; Jeremy Lechan, play-by-play
Television: LSN All-Access (RCN-4, WBPH-60); play-by-play, Gary Laubauch; John Leone, color; sideline, Dan Mowdy
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 40-7
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 60, Lafayette 48 (February 9, 2008; Easton, Pa.)

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG
F 33 Whitney Fremeau 5-10 So. 7.7 5.1
C 42 Kathy Gruzynski 6-2 Sr. 3.5 2.5
G 12 Jessica Pearson 5-7 Sr. 3.4 1.4
G 14 Briana McFadden 5-10 Jr. 16.0 4.7
G 44 Bethany O'Dell 5-8 Jr. 11.24.3

THE SERIES WITH LAFAYETTE:This will be the 48th meeting between the Crusaders and the Leopards on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series 40-7. The Crusaders have won the last four games, including sweeping the 2007-2008 season and winning two of the three games played between the teams during the 2006-2007 season. For games played in Easton, Pa., Holy Cross holds a 14-4 record, including a 14-2 record at the Kirby Sports Center. Holy Cross and Lafayette first took the floor in competition on Feb. 6, 1991, with the Crusaders picking up an 88-61 win against the host Leopards.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 40-7
In Easton: Holy Cross leads, 14-4
At Allan P. Kirby Sports Center: Holy Cross leads, 14-2
Bill Gibbons vs. Lafayette: 40-7
Tammy Smith vs. Holy Cross: 2-15
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, four games
In Overtime: Holy Cross leads, 1-0

O’DELL SETS NEW SCHOOL RECORD: Junior guard Bethany O’Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) broke the Holy Cross women’s basketball school record for three-point field goals made, sinking her 180th career shot from long range, surpassing Jeanette Paukert (1998-2002), who finished her career with 179. Climbing up the Patriot League career leaders list, O’Dell places ninth and is the only active player. She joins Paukert as the second Crusader to make this list. O’Dell is also currently ranked fourth in Holy Cross in three-point field goals attempted with 460, 19 behind third ranked Alison Dietz (1994-1998).

MCFADDEN NEXT TO JOIN 1,000 POINT LIST: With 240 points on the season, junior guard Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) brings her career total to 976 points, just 24 points shy of the 1,000 point mark. When McFadden scores her 1,000 point this season, she will be the eighth Crusader in women’s basketball to reach the 1,000 point  mark during her junior year. McFadden will join Holy Cross standouts Amy O’Brien (1995-1999), Lauren Maney (1992-1996), Norinne Powers (1989-1993), Maggie Fontana (2001-2005), Cheryl Aaron (1982-1987), Kathy Courtney (1993-1997) and Katie O’Keefe (1999-2003).

CRUSADERS IN PATRIOT LEAGUE OPENERS: The 2008-2009 season marks the 18th year Holy Cross has been a member of the Patriot League. During their 17 years of league play, the Crusaders have posted a 15-3 record in the first Patriot League game of the season. Holy Cross has won nine of its last 10 league openers, including three wins against Colgate (84-52 in 1998-1999; 75-60 in 1999-2000; 68-54 in 2000-2001).
Holy Cross also has won two games over Lafayette (78-39 in 2005-2006); 77-70 (OT) in 2007-2008) and Army (52-41 in 2002-2003; 66-58 in 2003-2004), and one win against Navy (82-79 (OT) in 2001-2002). The only loss Holy Cross dropped in a league opener was during the 2006-2007 season, in which it fell to Lafayette, 61-58.

CRUSADERS PICKED FIRST IN PRESEASON POLL: The Holy Cross women’s basketball team was picked to finish first in the 2008-2009 Patriot League preseason poll, voted upon by head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 90 total points and eight first-place votes, followed by Lehigh finishing second with 83 points and six first-place votes. American was ranked third with 75 points and two first-place votes. Coming in fourth was Army with 60 points, followed by Bucknell (53 points), Lafayette (38 points), Navy (35 points) and Colgate (14 points).

MCFADDEN ADDS NAME TO HOLY CROSS CAREER LISTS:  Briana McFadden is making her mark on Holy Cross’ career lists this season. She is currently ranked fifth all-time at Holy Cross for three-point field goals made with 126, 15 three-pointers shy of tying Alison Dietz (1994-1998). McFadden also holds the fifth spot on the three-point field goals attempted with 395. McFadden is also currently ranked ninth at Holy Cross in free throw made with 304, needing nine more shots from the charity stripe to tie Mary Helen Walker (1987-1991).

THE GO-TO GIRL: Briana McFadden continues to be strong on offense this season, leading the Crusaders in scoring in nine of 15 games. She is the only the Patriot League player with more than 200 points this season and
currently tops the Patriot League in scoring with 16.0 points per game. McFadden scored a career-high 31 points against Missouri on Nov. 29 during the Double Tree White Invitational. Her season has also been highlighted by five games in which she scored 20 points or more: 31 against Missouri, 24 points against Yale and Drexel, 22 against Maine and 21 versus Boston College. McFadden etched her named into the Holy Cross history books last season as she tied the single-game record for free throw percentage (1.000, 11-for-11) and consecutive free throws made (11). Starting in all 32 games, McFadden totaled 431 points, 124 rebounds, 50 assists, 30 steals and 12 blocks. Averaging 13.5 points per game, McFadden led the Crusaders in scoring in 14 games last season, including eight Patriot League games.

O’DELL KEEPS CAREER RIGHT ON TRACK: Starting in 13 games so far this year, Bethany O’Dell has led the Crusaders in scoring four times with a season-high 23 points against Western Illinois on Nov. 30, 15 points versus St. Peter’s on Nov. 25 and 13 against Northeastern on Dec. 22. Due to injury, O’Dell missed two games: Vermont (Dec. 6) and Rhode Island (Dec. 9). She currently has 145 points on the season, bringing her career total to 905 points. O’Dell is one of the many Crusaders that have hit new career-highs this season including field goals attempted (16), three-pointers attempted (14), rebounds (nine) and three-pointers made (seven). Versus Boston College, O’Dell tallied 18 points, four rebounds and four assists. In 26 minutes played against Bryant, O’Dell finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals. Against Maine, she finished with 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals in 37 minutes played. O’Dell is also coming off a stellar sophomore year, starting in all 32 games, and finishing with 364 points, 146 rebounds, 80 assists, 54 steals and four blocks. O’Dell had success from long range last year, as she ranked third in the Patriot League in three-point field goal percentage (.382) and three-point field goals made (1.97 per game).

HOLY CROSS WELCOMES JANUARY: Holy Cross has played 89 games in the month of January in the past 10 seasons, posting an overall record of 62-27 (.697). The Crusaders played the most January games (10) during the  2002-2003 season, finishing with a 7-3 record (.700). The winningest record Holy Cross finished with was during the 2000-2001 season, in which the Crusaders posted an undefeated 7-0 record. January also marks the beginning of Patriot League play as Holy Cross currently has played 63 league games, maintaining a 49-14 record (.925). The Crusaders played seven games in three seasons (98-99, 01-02, 04-05), marking the most Patriot League games played in January. The 2004-2005 season also marks the best record in league playing during the month of January, finishing with an impressive 7-0 record.

FREMEAU REMAINS STRONG IN STARTING ROLE: Sophomore forward/guard Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) has made 13 starts in Holy Cross’ 15 games. Fremeau has had plenty of success so far as she has had new career-highs in minutes played (34), points (15), field goal attempts (13), rebounds (11), field goals (seven), free throws attempts (three) and three-pointers made (two). Fremeau’s best performance this season was against Rhode Island on Dec. 9 in which she recorded her first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds and played a career-high 34 minutes. Against Missouri, she finished with a career-high 15 points in 30 minutes played. In the Crusaders’ win over Maine, Fremeau finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one steal in 31 minutes played. Fremeau made her first collegiate start on Nov. 15 versus Yale and put up nine points and eight rebounds while grabbing two steals, one assist and one block in 26 minutes played. Against Connecticut, she totaled nine points, six rebounds and one assist. In addition to her 7.9 points per game, she leads the Crusaders in rebounds with 5.2 per game. She has led the Crusaders in rebounds in four games and in scoring in one game. Appearing in 25 games last year, Fremeau totaled 42 points, 20 rebounds, 16 assists, 11 steals and two blocks.

THE LEADER OF THE PACK: Holy Cross holds the record for the most Patriot League tournament titles won, winning 11 of the 18 league titles.  During its 18 seasons in the Patriot League, Holy Cross has finished the regular season in first place 11 times.  The Crusaders have also been greatly recognized for their efforts by the league, having eight players named the Patriot League Player of the Year.  This list includes: Mary Helen Walker (90-91), Norinne Powers (91-92, 92-93), Laurie Carson (93-94), Lauren Maney (94-95, 95-96), Kathy Courtney (96-97), Amy O’Brien (97-98, 98-99), Anna Kinne (99-00) and Briana McFadden (07-08).  Holy Cross has also had two players named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year: Maggie Fontana (01-02) and Bethany O’Dell (06-07).

FRONT AND CENTER: Senior center Kathy Gruzynski (Elk Grove, Ill.) has come off the bench to appear in eight games and start in seven for Holy Cross. She played her strongest game of the season against Bryant, going 7-for-10 from field goal range, totaling 14 points while pulling down seven rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes played. She played a season-high 21 minutes versus Boston College on Nov. 18 tallied five points, five rebounds, three blocks and one assist in 14 minutes played versus Harvard on Nov. 20. In 13 minutes played at Dartmouth, Gruzynski went 4-for-4 from field goal range for eight points and pulled down three rebounds. Making 30 appearances and three starts last year, Gruzynski emerged in her role as the first Crusader off the bench. She set several career-highs with 408 minutes played, 134 points, 96 rebounds, 18 assists, 13 blocks and 10 steals. In her best performance of the 2007-2008 season, Gruzynski scored a career high 20 points and grabbed six rebounds against regular season league champion American.

PEARSON MAKES STARTING LINEUP: Senior co-captain guard Jessica Pearson (West Chester, Pa.) has appeared in 13 games so far this season, making her fifth collegiate start at Dartmouth on Sunday, Jan. 4. In 27 minutes played, she tallied eight points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal against the Big Green. At Northeastern, Pearson finished with a career-high four assists. During the Dec. 6 game at Vermont, Pearson set new career high in points scored with 11 points. During the Hawk Classic Tournament on Dec. 28-29, Pearson finished with a career-high 30 minutes played in both games of the tournament.

NEWS ON COACH GIBBONS: Bill Gibbons is now in his 24th season as head coach of the Holy Cross women’s basketball team with a overall career record of 468-238 (.688) and a 192-52 (.787) mark in the Patriot League. Last season, Gibbons led his team to its fourth consecutive appearance and 15th overall appearance in the Patriot League Championship game. Gibbons has led the Crusaders to more victories than any other coach in Holy Cross history during his 23 year-tenure. Gibbons also ranks second all-time at Holy Cross in coaching victories for all sports, only behind former baseball coach Jack Berry (616 wins, 1921-1960). He has won 20 or more games in 10 of his last 14 seasons. Gibbons is also ranked 26th on the active NCAA Division I win leaders. He has also been named the Patriot League Coach of the Year six times in his career. In 2007, coach Gibbons was selected to be an assistant coach at the Pan-American Games, where he helped lead the team to the gold medal.

CAMPBELL LOOKING FORWARD: Sophomore forward Elizabeth Campbell has returned to the Crusaders’ frontcourt for the 2008-2009 campaign, appearing in 14 games and making four starts. Campbell currently leads the team in blocks with 11 (0.8 per game), ranking her ninth in the Patriot League. In the game against Maine, she played 30 minutes and scored a career-high 16 points. Campbell played a season-high 33 minutes and grabbed six rebounds versus Drexel during the Hawk Tournament Classic on Dec. 28. In 26 minutes played at Dartmouth, she finished with eight points and season-highs in rebounds (seven) and blocks (three). Campbell played 22 minutes and tallied nine points at Rhode Island. She also finished with 16 minutes played, six points and three rebounds against Yale. Campbell also played 10 minutes against Harvard, chipping in two points, two blocks, one rebound and one assist. Following an outstanding debut season, she was named to the 2007-2008 Patriot League All-Rookie Team. Appearing in 32 games, she made 11 starts, totaling 664 minutes played, 196 points, 135 rebounds, 36 blocks and 28 steals. Leading the Crusaders in blocks, Campbell ranked fifth in the Patriot League in that category. She also led the league in field goal percentage (.472). In league play, Campbell started in eight of the 13 games she appeared in, averaging 28.8 minutes played, 8.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.5 assists per game.

THAT’S MINE!!!: Holy Cross has forced 269 turnovers in 15 games, averaging 17.9 per game. Against Bryant on Wed. Jan. 7, the Crusaders forced a season-high 27 turnovers. In the Crusaders’ season-opener against Yale, Holy Cross forced 24 turnovers, matching last year’s season-high. The Crusaders caused 22 turnovers against Northeastern on Dec. 22 and against Maine on Jan. 2. Against Missouri on Nov. 29 and Boston College on Nov. 18, the Crusaders had 21 forced turnovers. The Crusaders caused 24 turnovers in a game three times during the 2007-2008 season: at Yale on Jan. 6, 2008, at Navy on Jan. 23, 2008 and against Colgate on Jan. 30, 2008. Overall last year, Holy Cross forced 16.9 turnovers per game.

MERRIHUE HITS NEW HEIGHTS: Senior co-captain Jessica Merrihue (Holtsville, N.Y.) has appeared in 14 games this season, making four starts. Against Bryant, she finished with seven points and two assists in 18 minutes played. In her first collegiate start against Boston College on Nov. 18, she scored six points, blocked three shots and grabbed one rebound in nine minutes played. Merrihue has also added new career-highs in minutes played (18), free throws (four), free throw attempts (five), blocks (three) and steals (three).

HOME SWEET HOME: The 2008-2009 season marks the first time Holy Cross has ever hosted its first four games of the season. Prior to this season, the Crusaders had three seasons in which they hosted the first three games: 1988-1989 (1-2), 2001-2002 (1-2) and 2004-2005 (2-1). Overall, the Holy Cross women’s basketball team is 317-94 (.771) at the Hart Center.

TAKING ON # 1: The Crusaders have faced No. 1 ranked teams five times during the regular season, all being games against Connecticut, with a 0-5 overall record. The last time Holy Cross competed against a No. 1 ranked team was against the Huskies on Dec. 3, falling 96-37.
STRONG SCORING VERSUS MISSOURI: Holy Cross scored 94 points against Missouri on Nov. 29, marking the first time the Crusaders have scored more than 90 points in a game in the last three seasons. The last time Holy Cross put up at least 90 points was on Dec. 3, 2005, when it defeated Memphis, 91-66, at the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic held in Tempe, Ariz.

ROOKIE NOTES: Freshman guard Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) has made five starts and appeared in 14 games for the Crusaders, highlighted by her performance against Boston College, tallying seven points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 27 minutes played. Ward had a career-high five rebounds and matched her career-high in points scored (seven) against Vermont. She played a career-high 30 minutes and had two points, two assists and one rebound against Connecticut. She also had a career-high five assists against Northeastern on Dec. 22. Freshman center Marygrace Jay (Vienna, Va.) has appeared in nine games so far this year, highlighted by new career-highs in points (seven), rebounds (three) and minutes played (11) in the game against Vermont.

LAST TIME OUT: Bethany O’Dell broke the women’s basketball school record for three-point field goals made, scoring her 180th career shot as the Crusaders defeated Bryant, 73-54, on Wednesday, Jan. 7 at the Hart Center. The Crusaders started the game with a 10-4 lead in the opening four minutes, led by Kathy Gruzynski with eight points. Holy Cross held a short 13-10 lead over Bryant, but pushed forward with a 10-5 run, with O’Dell scoring all 10 points. The Bulldogs got within three points, 27-24, but Holy Cross stayed on top, finishing the half with an eight-point lead, 40-32, with a buzzer-beat jump shot by Jessica Pearson. Bryant scored first to start the second half, but the Crusaders pressed on with a strong 16-4 run, with junior guard Christy Cushnie (Vienna, Va.) hitting a shot from long range to give Holy Cross a 20-point lead, 56-36. Down by 27 points with less than eight minutes to go, the Bulldogs chipped away at the Crusaders lead to get within 16 points (70-54), but three foul shots by Marygrace Jay gave Holy Cross a 19-point win, 73-54. O’Dell led the team in scoring (15), rebounds (nine) and steals (four), while Gruzynski finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Briana McFadden was the third Crusader to score in double-digits with 11 points while tallying six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

BACK TO THE HART: Concluding an eight-game road trip, Holy Cross returned back to the Hart Center for its first game in Worcester since Nov. 25, defeating Maine, 68-63, on Jan. 2 and Bryant, 73-54 on Jan. 7. While on the road, the Crusaders picked up two wins  in both the tournaments they played in, downing Missouri, 94-93, in triple overtime at the DoubleTree White Invitational hosted by Northwestern in Evanston, Ill. and defeating Drexel, 63-58, at the Hawk Classic Tournament hosted by St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia, Pa.

MERRIHUE AND PEARSON NAMED CAPTAINS: Senior forward Jessica Merrihue and senior guard Jessica Pearson have been selected as the Crusaders’ captains for the 2008-2009 season. Merrihue is three-year letterwinner for the Holy Cross while Pearson is a two-year letterwinner. Both players have taken over the leadership role from Laura Aloisi and Ashley McLaughlin who served as the Crusaders’ captains as seniors during the 2007-2008 season.

WELCOME BACK TO WORCESTER: Ann McInerney is in her first season as an assistant coach on the Holy Cross staff. A Worcester native, coach McInerney graduated from Assumption College where she was the all-time leading scorer at the completion of her career. She was named the 1989 Northeast-10 Player of the Year and is also a member of the Assumption College Athletic Hall of Fame.

NEXT UP FOR THE ‘SADERS: Holy Cross begins a three-game Patriot League homestand with the first game on Wed. Jan. 14 against Army at 7:00 p.m.