Women's Basketball Set To Host Colgate Tuesday Night

Jan. 23, 2006

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The Teams:
Colgate (3-14, 1-3 Patriot League)
Holy Cross (7-10, 3-1 Patriot League)
Date: January 24, 2006
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600)
Location: Worcester, Mass.
Broadcast Information:
Television: WCTR-TV3
Talent: Kevin Shea, play-by-play; Amy Davagian, color
Radio: WTAG 580 AM
Talent: Bob Fouracre, play by play; Jeremy Lechan, color
Internet: www.sportsjuice.com
Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM (Holy Cross student station)
Series History: 35th meeting; Holy Cross leads 32-2
Last Meeting:Holy Cross, 79-70; Patriot League Championship game (Mar. 9, 2005; Worcester, Mass.)
Series Streak: Holy Cross - 4

Pos.  No.  Name               Ht.   Cl.	PPG	RPG
G     5    Laura Aloisi       5-9   So.	4.7	4.0 apg
G     10   Sarah Placek       5-3   Sr.	9.0	3.0 apg
G     33   Brittany Keil      6-2   Jr.	9.5	6.2
F     13   Ashley McLaughlin  6-1   So.	3.2	3.4
C     52   Kaitlin Foley      6-4   Jr.	13.6	6.1

Tuesday's game is the 35th all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Colgate in the 31 year history of varsity basketball at Holy Cross.

THE SERIES: Holy Cross has dominated the series and leads 32-2, including a perfect 16-0 record when playing the Raiders at the Hart Center. The Crusaders defeated Colgate three times last season, including a 79-70 victory in the Patriot League Championship game on March 9. The last time Colgate defeated Holy Cross was during the 2003-04 season when the Radiers posted a 90-80 win in Hamilton, N.Y. Before that, the last time Colgate was victorious over Holy Cross was during the 1993-94 campaign. Colgate (0-16) and American (0-5) are the only two teams in the Patriot League which have never won a game at the Hart Center.

THIS TIME OUT: Holy Cross is coming off a 59-55 victory over American on Saturday afternoon, while Colgate is looking to bounce back from a 73-58 setback at Bucknell. The Crusaders are 3-2 in their last five games and have yet to string together consecutive wins this season. Five of the Crusaders' 10 total losses have come against Top 25 (#2 Duke; #5 UConn; #21 Boston College) or Top 25-caliber (Virginia; Western Kentucky) teams.

The Raiders come into the game with a 3-14 record and have lost three in a row and six of their last eight games. Colgate is 1-9 on the road this season, but its lone road victory was a 69-56 conference win at Lafayette earlier this month.

LAST TIME OUT: Holy Cross bounced back from the program's worst home loss (48 points; 84-36 loss to #2 Duke) in its history to defeat American, 59-55 on Saturday afternoon at the Hart Center. Holy Cross, which improved to 7-10 overall (3-1 Patriot League), handed the Eagles their ninth loss in the last 10 outings. Junior guard Brittany Keil recorded her fifth career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds and senior guard Shannon Bush added 15 points of her own to lead the Crusaders to their second straight conference win.

Keil had 12 of her team-high 16 points and five of her team-high 10 rebounds in the first half. Bush scored 12 of her 15 points in the second half. Senior guard Sarah Placek checked in with nine points, three rebounds and three assists, while sophomore guard Laura Aloisi totaled six assists, five points, four rebounds and two steals. Junior center Kaitlin Foley chipped in with eight points, five rebounds, three assists and three blocks for the Crusaders.

American started the game with a Tala Hadavi three-ball and jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead, but the Crusaders clawed their way back to take an 8-6 edge after a Keil trey with 16:42 to go in the first. The rest of the half was a similar back-and-forth battle that saw four ties and three lead changes. The Eagles led for most of the half until Holy Cross took the reins (22-20) for the first time since Keil's three-pointer after two Aloisi free throws with 4:48 on the clock. The Crusaders went into the break up 26-22 following a Foley lay-in with 2:52 remaining.

Holy Cross opened the second half with three-balls from Aloisi and Placek to take a six point lead (32-26) at the 17:44 mark. A Foley hoop inside then sparked an 8-3 Crusader run which put the home team up nine (40-31) with 14:48 remaining.

The Crusaders led by as much as 13 after two Bush free throws (51-38) with 10:26 to go, but the Eagles chipped away at the lead and went on an 11-2 run to get within four (53-49) less than five minutes later.

Holy Cross extended its lead to seven (58-51) when Bush grabbed an offensive rebound and made good on the putback at the 2:41 mark. American then went on a 4-0 run to cut the lead to three (58-55) with 1:47 to go, but the Crusaders were able to hold on down the stretch for the 59-55 win.

Holy Cross shot 39.3 percent from the floor and forced 21 AU miscues, despite being outrebounded, 43-35.

Hadavi led all scorers with 18 points, while Sahar Nusseibeh recorded a 13-point, 12-rebound outing for the Eagles.

NEXT TIME OUT: Holy Cross is on the road for three straight games, beginning Saturday, January 28, when it travels to Lehigh for a 5:00 tilt with the Mountain Hawks in Bethlehem, Pa. Holy Cross owns a 30-5 series advantage over Lehigh, and is 16-3 when playing at Stabler Arena. The Mountain Hawks did, however, defeat Holy Cross 73-63 last season in Bethlehem. That 10 point loss to Lehigh was one of just two regular season conference losses Holy Cross suffered all year.

The Crusaders then travel to Navy on Tuesday, Jan. 31 (Holy Cross leads the series, 29-4 and is 12-3 in Annapolis) and to Lafayette on Saturday, Feb. 4 (Holy Cross leads the series, 36-5, including its 78-39 win earlier this season. HC is also 18-1 when playing at the Kirby Sports Center).

HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 295-79 (.788) at the Hart Center, and is just five home wins away from its 300th victory in the 30-year old building.

The program's 100th win at the Hart Center came on January 9, 1988 when the Crusaders defeated the University of New Hampshire, 86-67. It's 200th win at the Hart Center came on February 5, 1997 when the Crusaders defeated Army, 92-59. The Crusaders' best home single-season record since its 200th win was a 15-1 mark (.937) during the 1999-00 season. Last year, the Crusaders went 12-3 at the Hart Center.

Holy Cross has posted a record of 52-18 (.742) at home over the course of the last six seasons, including its 2-3 mark this season.

SCOUTING THE RAIDERS: Colgate comes into tonight's game after a 73-58 loss at Bucknell on Saturday afternoon. The Raiders (3-14, 1-3 Patriot League) have lost three straight and six of their last eight. Earlier this season, Colgate had lost six games in a row before a 75-47 win over Niagra University at the end of December.

The Raiders are led by five-foot-six sophomore guard Melanie Cargle (Trotwood, Ohio), who is averaging a team-best 12.2 points per game. Five-foot-six senior guard and the 2005 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, Megan Ballard (Atlanta, Ga.), is not far behind with a 10.3 points per game average. Ballard leads the team once again in steals (64 steals; 40 more than the next closest player on the roster), and is also Colgate's top playmaker this season with 55 assists.

Colgate's top rebounder and shot blocker is six-foot-one freshman forward Gretchen Polinski (Mansfield, Ohio), who is averaging 5.9 boards per game and has 12 blocks this season. Polinski is just shy of averaging 10 points a game (8.7 points per game) and is just behind six-foot-one senior forward Meghan Curtin (Bronx, N.Y.), who is putting up 9.3 points each outing.

Head coach Kristin Hughes is in her second year with the Colgate program. Last season, Hughes led the team to the Patriot League Championship game before falling to Holy Cross, 79-70, in an exciting post season finale.

LAST TIME OUT VERSUS COLGATE: (3/9/05) The top-seeded Holy Cross women's basketball team defeated sixth-seeded Colgate, 79-70 to win the Patriot League Tournament title at the Hart Center in front of a crowd of 889. By winning the league tournament, the Crusaders (20-10) earned an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament, beginning March 19. Colgate finished its season 12-18.

Lisa Andrews and Maggie Fontana both scored 16 points to lead Holy Cross. Shannon Bush finished with 14 points and Sarah Placek added 12.

The Crusaders went into the break with a 33-25 advantage after a back-and-forth first half that saw three ties and nine lead changes. Holy Cross' biggest lead of the half was 10 points (33-23) with less than a minute remaining. Bush scored seven points in the final five minutes to rally HC. Bush had nine points to lead the Crusaders in the first stanza.

Holy Cross turned the ball over 10 times in the first 20 minutes, but was able to hold Colgate to just 29.7 percent from the field.

In the second, HC jumped out to a 16 point lead (57-41) after a Bush drive with 10:28 remaining, but the Raiders mounted a comeback and got within two (59-57) thanks to an Allison Lipinski trey with 7:06 left. With less than four minutes to go, the Raiders had tied the game twice, but two Fontana free throws put the Crusaders up four (70-66) with 2:10 remaining.

With 41.0 seconds left, Fontana drained two free throws to put HC up 74-70. Fontana then stole Colgate's inbounds pass after a timeout with less than 30 seconds to go, and nailed two more free throws, extending the Crusaders' lead to six (76-70).

Emily Braseth led all scorers with 21 points, while Meghan Curtin added 15 for the Raiders.

Holy Cross shot 48.3 percent from the floor in the game, while Colgate converted just 35.1 percent of its shots.

HOLY CROSS VERSUS THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Holy Cross is 168-32 (.840) in Patriot League play since its inception and is 102-9 (.918) when playing league opponents on the Hart Center floor, including its 2-0 mark this year. Under Bill Gibbons, Holy Cross is also 168-32 all-time in Patriot League action. Last season, Holy Cross finished 12-2 in the league and 7-0 at home vs. Patriot League opponents.

The Crusaders have 11 Patriot League regular season titles and 10 Patriot League Tournament titles in the 15-year history of the League. The only other team in the League's history that has more than one championship title is Fordham, a former member, who won two. Holy Cross is also coming off its 16th 20-win season under the direction of head coach Bill Gibbons.

BEDEVILED: Holy Cross' 84-36 loss to Duke last Monday was the program's worst loss suffered on the Hart Center floor, and it was the team's worst loss (48 points) suffered this season (previous was a 41 point loss to Virginia on Dec. 29). The Crusaders were looking at a 35 point differential (51-16) at halftime (largest halftime deficit of the season; previous was 19 (37-18) vs. UVa), while putting up only 16 points in the first stanza (fewest point total in a half this season; previous was 18 vs. UVa), and totaling their fewest points in a game (36; previous low was 39 vs. UVa). Holy Cross was also tormented by the Blue Devils into shooting a mere 21.7 percent from the floor for the game, which was its lowest field goal percentage for a game this season (previous low was 25.9 percent at UMass). In addition, Duke had the best halftime field goal percentage of any HC opponent this season (64.5 percent; previous high was 48.4 percent by Western Kentucky), and finished the game with the best field goal percentage of any HC opponent (54.1 percent; previous high was 49.2 percent by Boston College).

EXTRA! EXTRA!: Holy Cross' thrilling 67-63 overtime win at Bucknell on Jan. 14 was the program's first overtime win since the 2003-04 season when it topped Siena, 59-58, at the Hart Center. Holy Cross is 4-1 in its last five overtime games, dating back to the 2001-02 season. The last time the Crusaders lost an overtime game was an 84-75 double OT setback at Lehigh in 2002.

COMMON OPPONENTS: Holy Cross and Colgate have faced a number of the same opponents already this season. Holy Cross has defeated Bucknell (67-63) and American (59-55), while Colgate has lost to both the Bison (73-58) and the Eagles (74-63). Both teams lost to Army (HC lost 59-56; Colgate lost 81-85), Boston College (HC lost 67-53; Colgate lost 73-54), and Dartmouth (HC lost 74-63; Colgate lost 67-56).

KEIL STYLE: Junior guard Brittany Keil recorded her fifth double-double of the season and the second in her last three outings with a 16-point, 10-rebound performance against American on Saturday afternoon. Keil was 7-for-15 from the floor, including two three-pointers, and had 12 of HC's 26 points at the half. In the last three games, Keil has averaged 15.0 points and 7.3 rebounds.

Keil had a standout game against #2 Duke last Monday night and provided a much needed offensive spark for the Crusaders throughout the contest. Keil finished the game with a team-high 12 points, after going 5-for-11 from the floor, including two three-pointers. Keil was the only Crusader in double-figures and had 10 of HC's 16 points at the half.

Going into the Duke game, Keil was coming off her fourth career double-double with a 17-point, 10-rebound outing at Bucknell on Jan. 14. Keil was 7-for-17 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free throw line to help lead the Crusaders to a crucial conference win. Keil also clocked a career-high 41 minutes of action against the Bison.

Keil leads the team in rebounding this season (6.2 rebounds per game) and is third on the team in scoring (9.5 points per game). In the Patriot League opener against Lafayette, Keil ripped down a game-high nine rebounds and added seven points and two assists in 25 minutes of action. Against Boston University, Keil had a stellar all-around game with 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal. At UConn, Keil totaled 11 points, five rebounds and three assists after a 13-point, five-rebound night against URI and a 16-point, 12-rebound outing against Memphis at the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic.

Keil recorded three double-doubles in the first seven games of the season. In addition to her 16 points and 12 boards against Memphis, she posted her first career double-double at Northeastern (16 points, 11 rebounds), and registered the second double-double of her career after an 11-point, 10-rebound performance against Dartmouth.

BUSH LEADS HC CHARGE: Senior guard Shannon Bush scored 15 points to help lead the Crusader charge over American on Saturday. Bush had just three points in the first half and then exploded for 12 in the second stanza, including eight straight at one point, giving Holy Cross a 13 point lead (its largest of the game) with 10:26 remaining.

Bush pumped in a game-high 19 points on a 7-for-12 performance from the floor to lead Holy Cross to a 67-63 overtime victory at Bucknell on Jan. 14. Bush was 4-for-7 from behind the arc and scored four points in the extra period to help seal the victory for the Crusaders. Bush also had five assists, three rebounds and two steals against the Bison.

Bush is currently second on the team in scoring this season with an 11.2 points per game average. The Pennsylvania native played well at nationally-ranked UConn after totaling 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals. She recorded 17 points against URI, had 14 points at BC, and turned in fine all-around performance with 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals in 24 minutes of action against Saint Peter's. She is also averaging 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.3 steals.

Bush scored a career-high 20 points in the second game of the season at UMass, where she was 6-for-14 from the floor and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

DOUBLE DUTY: Junior center Kaitlin Foley narrowly missed her third career double-double and her second straight with a 10-point, eight rebound effort at Bucknell on Jan. 14. Foley was most recently coming off her second career double-double after totaling 14 points and 10 rebounds at Army on Jan. 10. Foley had the double-double in the first half, after scoring 12 of Holy Cross' 27 points and grabbing 10 of the Crusaders' 17 rebounds. Foley finished the game 6-for-10 from the field and 2-for-3 from the free throw line in 35 minutes of action.

Foley leads the team in scoring (13.6 points per game) and is fifth in the Patriot League in that same category. She is also second in the conference in blocks (0.82 blocks per game), tied for second in field goal percentage (50.0 percent), fifth in free throw percentage (75.8 percent), and is tied for eighth in rebounding (6.1 rebounds per game).

PLACEK STEPS UP: Senior guard Sarah Placek has scored 10 or more points in three of the last five games and in four of her last seven outings. The five-foot-three spark plug has averaged 11.0 points per game over the last five games and is currently fourth on the team in scoring with a 9.0 points per game average. She is also second on the team and seventh in the Patriot League in assists with 52.

MINI MILESTONES: Senior guard Sarah Placek is expected to make her 100th career start tonight, after checking into her 100th career game on Dec. 29 against Virginia. Meanwhile, fellow senior Shannon Bush is three games away from playing in the 100th game of her career, while senior Jessica Conte played in her 100th career game on Dec. 28 against Boston University. Conte and Bush have 18 and 15 career starts, respectively.

Earlier in the season, Conte, Bush and junior Brittany Keil all hit the 500th career point mark. Conte passed the 500 point plateau with her 12 point outing at Northeastern in the first game of the seaosn, while Bush passed the 500 point mark on Dec. 28 against BU, and Keil scored her 500th at UConn on Dec. 19.

COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Sarah Placek came into the season with 810 career points and she is now just 37 points away from being the program's 22nd 1,000 point scorer. Should Placek reach the 1,000 point plateau, it would mark the third consecutive season a Holy Cross women's basketball player joined the 1,000 point club (Lisa Andrews in 2004-05, Maggie Fontana in 2003-04). Placek would also be the sixth Holy Cross player in the last four years (Andrews in 2004-05, Fontana in 2003-04, and Katie O'Keefe, Jeanette Paukert and Amanda Abraham in 2001-02) to score 1,000 career points.

With 10 regular season games remaining, Placek needs to average 3.7 points per game to reach the 1,000 point mark before postseason play begins. She is currently averaging 9.0 points per game.

In her three years in a Holy Cross uniform, the five-foot-three guard has never finished a season with an average below 8.5 points per game. Her sophomore season, she averaged a career-best 10.5 points per game. Placek's career high in a single game is 23 points (Dec. 7, 2004 at Rhode Island).

ON A ROLL: With its 78-39 victory against Lafayette on Jan. 7, Holy Cross won its 14th consecutive Patriot League conference opener and the 15th overall of the 16 years the Patriot League has been in existence. The last and only time Holy Cross lost a Patriot League conference opening game was against Lafayette during the 1991-92 season (78-72 Lafayette) in Pennsylvania.

PUNCH ME IN: Four Crusaders set or tied season and/or career highs in minutes played at Bucknell on Jan. 14. Brittany Keil played a career-high 41 minutes, Kaitlin Foley played a career-high 40 minutes, Laura Aloisi played a career-high 39 minutes, and Shannon Bush played a season-high 37 minutes.

TOP BILLING: Holy Cross is 0-5 when playing Top 25 teams at the Hart Center in the last six years. Before last Monday's loss to #2 Duke, the last time Holy Cross hosted a top seed was on Jan. 10, 2000, when UConn visited Worcester in front of the first ever sold out crowd in women's history at the Hart Center. In the last five seasons, Holy Cross has posted a record of 0-16 against Top 25 teams, including its 0-2 mark this season (84-36 loss to #2 Duke; 81-54 loss to #9 UConn). The Crusaders are 0-7 when playing the #1 or #2 ranked teams in the country. Four of those seven losses against #1 or #2 ranked teams came against UConn, during its National Championship seasons (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004).

QUICK HITTERS: Brittany Keil recorded her fifth career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds against American ... Kaitlin Foley had a career-high three assists and tied a career-high with three blocks against American ... Keil tied a career-high with 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season at Bucknell ... Foley picked up a career-high six steals at Bucknell ... Foley also recorded the second double-double of her career (14 points, 10 rebounds) at Army ... Laura Aloisi had a season-high five steals at Army ... Ashley McLaughlin tied a career-high with six rebounds at Army ... Sarah Placek tied a season-high with 14 points, grabbed a season-high six rebounds and had a season-high five assists against Lafayette ... Jessica Conte scored a career-high 20 points at Maine ... Shannon Bush was named to the 2005 Marriott Cavalier Classic All-Tournament Team ... Kaitlin Foley had a career-high 20 points, played a career-high 38 minutes and tied for career highs in steals vs. URI ... Jessica Conte had a season-high seven rebounds and five steals vs. URI ... Brittany Keil pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds and tied season-highs with 16 points and five assists against Memphis ... Jessica Pearson shot 1.000 percent from the floor against Memphis and scored a career-high nine points (3-for-3), inlcuding two triples in a career-high 12 minutes of action ... Jessica Merrihue scored the first points of her career against Memphis after draining a long ball in six minutes of action ... McLaughlin had season-highs in points (seven) and assists (two), and tied a career-high with three steals against Memphis.

CONTE GOES FOR CAREER HIGH: Senior guard Jessica Conte pumped in a career-high 20 points at Maine on Jan. 2. Conte was 7-for-12 from the floor, including two three-pointers, and 4-for-6 from the free throw line. Just two games prior, Conte had tied her previous best of 18 points against Boston University on Dec. 28. In the BU game, Conte was 4-for-5 from long range and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. She is currently fifth on the team in scoring with an 8.4 points per game average and is third on the team in three-pointers made (20), just six treys behind team leader, Shannon Bush (26 made).

Conte had a perfect shooting night at Boston College, going 3-for-3 from the floor, including a 2-for-2 night from behind the arc and a 1-for-1 showing at the free throw line for nine points, after a 3-for-6 night (nine points) against Saint Peter's. Conte scored perhaps the most important hoop of the night against the Peahens, when she nailed a three-ball to cut the Saint Peter's lead to one (41-40) with just over 11 minutes remaining. Conte's three-ball then triggered what would be a 14-0 Crusader run, which essentially gave Holy Cross the lead for good.

Conte has scored nine or more points in eight out of 17 games this season and leads the team in steals (33 steals). Additionally, she is third on the team in rebounding (3.8 rebounds per game), and is tied for fifth in the league in steals (1.94 spg).

BUSH NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Just one day after senior Shannon Bush set a career-high with seven rebounds against Boston University, the five-foot-11 guard grabbed eight boards against Virginia, setting a new career mark. For her efforts at the Marriot Cavalier Classic, Bush was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Bush was one of just two Crusaders to reach double figures against Virginia, totaling 10 points, a career-high eight rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes of action. One day earlier against Boston University, Bush recorded 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.

FOLEY HELD UNDER 10: Junior center Kaitlin Foley was held to seven points against Virginia on Dec. 29, marking the first game all season long that she has been held under 10 points. Foley was 2-for-3 from the floor and 3-for-3 from the free throw line in 25 minutes of action. Going into the UVA game, Foley was averaging 17.6 points per game over the previous five outings (19 vs. BU; 12 at UConn; 20 vs. URI; 18 vs. Memphis; 19 vs. WKU). Since the UVa game, Foley has been held under 10 points on just two other occassions; her three point outing against #2 Duke on Jan. 16 and her eight point day against American on Jan. 21.

HIGHS AND LOWS: Holy Cross' 39 point victory (78-39) over Lafayette was its biggest of the season since its 25 point victory (91-66) over Memphis on Dec. 3. The Crusaders' 19 point lead at halftime (33-14) of the Lafayette game was also a season high, passing their 18 point halftime lead (42-24) against Memphis. In addition, Holy Cross held Lafayette to the lowest opponent halftime field goal percentage (20.0 percent) of the season, as the Leopards managed just five field goals (5-for-25) in the first twenty minutes.

LIGHTS OUT: Holy Cross set a number of season records with their 91 point outing against Memphis earlier this season. The Purple and White scored a season-high 49 points in one half (previous high was 39 points against Saint Peter's) and forced a season-high 27 turnovers (previous high was 21 against Northeastern). Through 16 games, Holy Cross is 4-1 when forcing 20+ miscues.

FOLEY POSTS ANOTHER CAREER HIGH: Junior center Kaitlin Foley hit for another career-high when she pumped in a team-high and career-high 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor against URI on Dec. 7. Foley has set and surpassed career highs in points three times this season (18 at Northeastern, 19 vs. Western Kentucky, 20 vs. URI). Foley recorded her first career double-double with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds at UMass earlier this season.

FOLEY EARNS ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Junior center Kaitlin Foley earned a spot on the Wells Fargo/Arizona State Holiday Classic All Tournament Team after her performances that weekend, in which she averaged 18.5 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game, while shooting .739 (17-for-23) from the floor.

In the first round against Western Kentucky, Foley pumped in a team-high and a then-career high 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting, surpassing her previous career high of 18 points set earlier this season at Northeastern. Then in the consolation game, the Albany native scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed five rebounds in 26 minutes of action in Holy Cross' 91-66 blowout win over Memphis.

PICKING UP WHERE SHE LEFT OFF: Sophomore point guard Laura Aloisi (Nashua, N.H.) is once again leading the team in assists (64assists) and assists per game (4.00 apg) this season. The second year playmaker now has 183 career assists, after her rookie campaign in which she led the team and finished second in the Patriot League with 119 helpers.

Aloisi is second in the Patriot League in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.45; 64 assists, 44 turnovers), ranks third in assists (4.00 apg) and 14th in blocked shots (0.38 bpg).

GRUZ GETS HER FEET WET: Freshman forward Kathy Gruzynski (Elk Grove, Ill.) continues to contribute in the paint for the Crusaders. The six-foot-two post player scored four points, had two assists, a rebounds and a steal in nine minutes in her Patriot League debut against Lafayette. Gruzynski also scored four points and grabbed three rebounds in a career-high 11 minutes of action against Memphis at the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic. Gruzynski scored a career-high five points against Dartmouth in nine minutes of action earlier this season, and pulled down a career-high five rebounds in nine minutes of action at UMass.

HEATHLY PROPORTIONS: As a team, Holy Cross ranks fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.75), averaging 14.9 assists per game and 19.8 turnovers per game. Guards Laura Aloisi and Sarah Placek are ranked second and fourth, respectively, in the Patriot League in assist-to-turnover ratio. Aloisi has a 1.45 ratio (64 assists to 44 turnovers), and Placek has a 1.11 mark (52 assists to 47 turnovers).

STREAK ENDS: Brittany Keil was 12-for-12 (1.000 percent) from the free throw line going into the Memphis game, but made just 6-of-9 foul shots against the Tigers, ending her bid to reach Maggie Fontana `05, who set a program record with 26 consecutive free throws (across five games). For the season, Keil is now 19-for-23 from the line (82.6 percent), which is third best in the Patriot League.

GETTING TO THE LINE: Two of the top five free throw shooters in the League are Holy Cross Crusaders. Senior guard Shannon Bush ranks third in the league in free throw percentage (82.2 percent; 37-for-45), and Kaitlin Foley is fifth (75.8 percent; 50-for-66). As a team, Holy Cross ranks fourth in the conference in free throw percentage (67.8 percent).

TOUGH `D': The Crusaders are ranked in the top 3 in the Patriot League in a number of defensive categories this season. They lead the League in three-point field goal percentage defense (27.7 percent), are second in steals (9.94 steals per game), and are tied for second in blocks (2.35 blocks per game). Holy Cross held Memphis to 34.3 percent from the floor, Saint Peter's to 27.5 percent from the floor and Lafayette to a season-low 27.3 percent from the floor.

CRUSADERS PICKED TO REPEAT: Holy Cross was picked first in the Patriot League preseason poll for the second consecutive season. The Crusaders received 94 total votes, inlcuding 11 first place nods. Holy Cross is coming off its 16th 20-win season under the direction of head coach Bill Gibbons and its 10th Patriot League Tournament Title.

KEIL NAMED PRESEASON ALL-LEAGUE: Junior Brittany Keil was named to the Patriot League Preseason All-League Team. Keil returns to the Holy Cross line-up as the team's top scorer (9.6 ppg) and rebounder (5.3 rpg). She is also the team's top three-point (.420 percent) and free throw (.810 percent) shooter from a year ago.

WELCOME TO WORCESTER: Morgan Valley is in her first season as assistant coach on the Holy Cross staff. Valley graduated from Connecticut in May and won three national titles with the Huskies under head coach Geno Auriemma.

2005-06 CAPTAINS: Senior guards Shannon Bush (Doylestown, Pa.), Jessica Conte (New Canaan, Conn.) and Sarah Placek (Alexandria, Va.), are team captains for the 2005-06 season.

SIXTEEN 20-WIN SEASONS: The Holy Cross women's basketball program has totaled 18 twenty-win seasons its 31 years of existence, and has amassed 16 twenty-win seasons while a NCAA Divsion I member. The past 16 twenty-win seasons have also come under the direction of head coach Bill Gibbons. Gibbons has led the Crusaders to more victories than any other coach in Holy Cross history during his 20-year tenure. He has won 20 or more games in 10 of the last 11 seasons and in 16 seasons overall.

400-CLUB: Bill Gibbons currently ranks 34th on the list of winningest active Division I coaches (by percent) and 36th by number of wins, according to the 2005 NCAA Women's Basketball Record Book. He is the winningest head basketball coach in Holy Cross history and is the second-winningest coach - of any sport - in school history, behind former baseball coach Jack Barry, who totaled 616 wins from 1921-1960.

2004-2005 HONORS: Four Holy Cross players were named to the 2005 Patriot League All-Conference Team at the end of last season. Since graduated seniors Lisa Andrews (Concord, Mass.) and Maggie Fontana (Barrington, Ill.) earned First Team All-League accolades, and current sophomores Laura Aloisi (Nashua, N.H.) and Ashley McLaughlin (Andover, Mass.) were selected to the All-Rookie Team.

HC SIGNS FOUR TO NATIONAL LETTERS OF INTENT: Four student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to play for Holy Cross beginning in the Fall of 2006. Tayana Carper (Shrewsbury, Mass.), Christy Cushnie (Vienna, Va.), Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.), and Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) of Lincoln High School will all be donning the purple and white next season.