February 2, 2006

Women's Basketball Travels To Lafayette On Saturday

Feb. 2, 2006

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
GAME #21 at LAFAYETTE
The Teams:
Holy Cross 10-10, 6-1 Patriot League
Lafayette 6-14, 1-6 Patriot League
Date: February 4, 2006
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Place: Kirby Sports Center (3,500)
Location: Easton, Pa.
Broadcast Information:
Television: Lafayette Sports Network
Talent: Gary Laubach, play-by-play; John Leone, color; Dan Mowdy, sideline reporter
Radio: WTAG 580 AM
Talent: Bob Fouracre, play by play
Internet: www.sportsjuice.com
Series History: 42nd Meeting; Holy Cross leads 36-5
Last Meeting:Holy Cross, 78-39 (Jan. 7, 2006 - Worcester, Mass.)
Series Streak: Holy Cross - 20

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos.  No.  Name               Ht.   Cl.	PPG	RPG
G     5    Laura Aloisi       5-9   So.	5.2	4.2 apg
G     23   Jessica Conte      5-3   Sr.	8.2	4.0
G     33   Brittany Keil      6-2   Jr.	10.1	6.2
F     13   Ashley McLaughlin  6-1   So.	3.7	3.4
C     52   Kaitlin Foley      6-4   Jr.	14.3	6.0

Saturday's game will be the 42nd all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Lafayette in the 31 year history of varsity basketball at Holy Cross.

THE SERIES: Holy Cross has dominated the series and leads 36-5, including an 18-4 record when playing the Leopards in Pennsylvania. Holy Cross defeated Lafayette earlier this season to begin Patriot League play, 78-39, at the Hart Center in Worcester. Holy Cross has won twenty straight games between the two teams. The last time the Leopards defeated Holy Cross was during the 1997-98 season when they took a 75-69 decision in Easton. Holy Cross is 9-0 against the Leopards the last three years (3-0 at the Kirby Sports Center; 5-0 at the Hart Center; 1-0 at the Show Place Arena), including its 1-0 mark this season. Holy Cross has outscored the Leopards by an average of 20.2 points (680-498) during those nine wins.

THIS TIME OUT: Holy Cross is coming off a 59-55 victory at Navy on Tuesday night, while Lafayette is looking to rebound from a 62-48 loss to Bucknell on Wednesday night. The Crusaders are 5-2 in their last seven games and have won four straight for the first time this season. Five of the Crusaders' 10 total losses have come against Top 25 (#2 Duke; #3 UConn; #22 Boston College) or Top 25-caliber (Virginia; Western Kentucky) teams. The Leopards come into today's game on a three-game losing streak after a tough playing on the road in four of their last five contests (won 60-56 at Penn; won 67-64 vs. Lehigh; lost 75-60 at Army; lost 75-74 at American; lost 62-48 at Bucknell). Lafayette is 6-14 overall this season. The Leopards are 4-3 at home this year and are 1-2 at home against league opponents.

LAST TIME OUT: Senior guard Shannon Bush scored 19 points and junior guard Brittany Keil tied a career-high with 17 to lead the Holy Cross women's basketball team to a 59-55 win over Navy on Tuesday night at Alumni Hall. Holy Cross has now won four straight games and gets back to the .500 mark at 10-10 (6-1 Patriot League), while the Mids fall to 10-10 (3-4 Patriot League). Holy Cross extended its series lead over Navy to 30-4. Bush had 10 of her team-high19 points in the first half, while Keil ripped down a team-high six rebounds. Reigning Patriot League Player of the Week Kaitlin Foley added 10 points, five steals and four rebounds, and sophomore guard Laura Aloisi had five points, five assists, five steals and three boards. Navy jumped out to a 9-6 lead after draining its first three three-point attempts, while holding Holy Cross to two baskets in its first seven attempts (28.6 percent). But the Mids went cold from the floor and were one for their next eight as the Crusaders went on an 11-2 run to build a six point (17-11) lead with 9:34 to go. Holy Cross then outscored the Mids 9-5 over the next five minutes and took a ten point lead (26-16) on a Jessica Conte trey from the corner at the 4:28 mark. Navy responded with an 8-3 run of its own and cut the lead in half (29-24) after an Ashley Pelzek long ball with 1:17 left. Bush then drove the lane with five seconds on the clock to help the Crusaders go into the locker room with a 31-24 lead at the break. Holy Cross shot just 35.5 percent in the first stanza, but totaled eight steals defensively and was able to force 12 Mid miscues, scoring nine points off of those turnovers. The Mids shot 39.1 percent from the floor in the first. Holy Cross opened the second stanza on a 7-3 run thanks to four straight points by Foley to put the Crusaders up by 11 with 15:17 to go. Navy answered with a 9-2 run of its own to cut the deficit to just four (40-36) with 10:38 on the clock. Kalen Kropa had five of the Mids' nine points during the run. A Kropa drive with 8:12 on the clock had Navy within three (44-41), but Holy Cross stormed back with a 7-0 run, capped off by a Keil trey from the top of the key to take a 10 point lead (51-41) with 5:30 remaining. The Mids would not go away, however, and went on an 8-0 run to pull within two (51-49) with 3:31 to go, after back-to-back three's by Lauren Skrel and Emily Cordle. Navy kept it within two with less than a minute to go after a Skrel take to the basket made the score 57-55, but an Aloisi free throw and a Keil free throw with less than 30 seconds to play gave the Crusaders the four point victory. Holy Cross shot 38.9 percent from the floor for the game, while the Mids made 40.8 percent of their attempts on the night. The Crusaders forced 22 Navy turnovers, while only committing 13 of their own. Skrel led the Mids with 20 points after a 6-for-11 performance from the floor. Kropa was also in double-figures with 11 points.

NEXT TIME OUT: Holy Cross returns home to Worcester to kick off a three-game home stand as it welcomes Army to the Hart Center on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Holy Cross leads the overall series, 27-7, but the Black Knights won the first meeting between the two teams this season, 59-56, on Jan. 10, which currently stands as Holy Cross' only conference setback this year. The Crusaders then take on Bucknell on Saturday, February 11 for a 1:00 p.m. showdown with the Bison. The ticket to the Holy Cross vs. Bucknell men's and women's doubleheader is already sold out. The Crusaders lead the Bucknell series, 29-8, including this year's 67-63 overtime thriller on Jan. 14. Holy Cross then hosts Navy on Tuesday, February 14. The Cross owns a 30-4 series advantage over the Mids, and recently defeated them, 59-55 on Jan. 31 in Annapolis.

HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 296-79 (.789) at the Hart Center, and is now just four 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 LEOPARDS: Lafayette comes into tonight's game after a 62-48 loss at Bucknell on Wednesday night. The Leopards have now lost three straight and are 1-6 in league play through the first half of the conference schedule. The Leopards are led by six-foot sophomore forward Vanessa Van de Venter, who leads the team in scoring (11.4 points per game) and is second in rebounding (6.4 rebounds per game). Five-foot-seven guard Kara Stetler is also averaging double-figures with 10.0 points per game, while five-foot-eight senior guard Lindsay Myers is putting up 9.3 points per game. Six-foot sophomore forward Brittany Purr has missed the last few games due to injury, but has been practicing for a week and is expected to play today. Purr leads the team in rebounding, pulling down 6.9 boards per contest and ranks fourth on the team in scoring with a 7.1 points per game average. Emily Garner is listed as questionable for today's game after suffering a concussion at Army. Garner is averaging 5.5 rebounds and 5.3 points per game this season. Head Coach Tammy Smith is in her fifth season with the Leopards and has a career record of 131-182 (.418). She is 18-114 (.136) at Lafayette.

LAST TIME OUT VERSUS LAFAYETTE: (1/7/06) The Holy Cross women's basketball team began its quest to defend its Patriot League title in fine fashion after opening the 2006 conference schedule with a 78-39 win over the Lafayette at the Hart Center on Jan. 7. Holy Cross improved to 5-8 overall (1-0 Patriot League) while snapping a two-game skid in the process. The Leopards (4-9, 0-1 Patriot League) lost their ninth game in their last ten outings. Junior center Kaitlin Foley led the Crusaders with 16 points to go along with five rebounds. Senior guard Sarah Placek had a stellar all-around day with 14 points, six rebounds, and a season-high five assists, and sophomore guard Laura Aloisi had a standout game with eight points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals. Jessica Conte added nine points, Shannon Bush totaled eight points, four rebounds, and three assists, and Ashley McLaughlin had five points and a season-high six boards. Junior Brittany Keil also had an impressive game with seven points and a game-high nine rebounds. Lafayette jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first four minutes of the game, after the Crusaders missed their first six shots and turned the ball over five times. The first Holy Cross field goal did not fall until the 14:05 mark after a Foley lay-in. The Crusaders regrouped after that and responded with a 15-0 run to take a 16-7 lead with nine minutes remaining in the half. Sue Izevbigie scored underneath for the Leopards with 8:29 to go, giving them their first field goal since the 16:36 mark. But the Crusaders continued their dominance, extending their lead to 22-9 following a Sarah Placek three-ball with 7:34 left. Holy Cross had its largest lead of the half (32-13; 19 points) with 1:16 to go after a Placek jumper. The Crusaders went into the break up 33-14, after forcing 12 Leopard turnovers and holding Lafayette to just 20.0 percent shooting from the floor in the first stanza. In the second, Holy Cross had a commanding 28 point lead (50-22) just six minutes into the half following a Keil trey from the right wing. A Conte three-ball put the Crusaders up by 35 (59-24) with 9:36 to go. Holy Cross led by as much as 43 (74-31) after an Ashley Brennan-McBride lay-in with just over four minutes remaining. Holy Cross shot 50.9 percent for the game, holding the Leopards to 27.3 percent. Lafayette was led by Lindsay Myers' 10 points. Kristin Doherty had seven points and Kara Stetler added six.

NUMBERS AGAINST LAFAYETTE: Holy Cross is 9-0 against the Leopards the last three years, including its 1-0 mark this season. Holy Cross has outscored the Leopards by an average of 20.2 points (680-498) during those nine wins. Holy Cross is 3-0 at the Kirby Sports Center and 5-0 at the Hart Center against Lafayette the last three seasons. During that span, Holy Cross also defeated Lafayette at the Show Place Arena in Maryland in the 2003 Patriot League Tournament.

HOLY CROSS VERSUS THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Holy Cross is 171-32 (.842) in Patriot League play since its inception and is 103-9 (.919) when playing league opponents on the Hart Center floor, including its 3-0 mark this year. Under Bill Gibbons, Holy Cross is also 171-32 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.

INJURY UPDATE: Senior guard Sarah Placek has missed the past two games (Jan. 28 at Lehigh; Jan. 31 at Navy) after hyper-extending her knee late in the Colgate game on Jan. 24. Placek had an MRI last Sunday afternoon and is listed as questionable for today's game at Lafayette.

FOLEY NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior center Kaitlin Foley earned her first career Patriot League Player of the Week award on Monday after leading Holy Cross to two wins last week. Foley poured in a game-high and a career-high 23 points on 9-of-11 (81.8 percent) shooting from the floor helping The Cross to a six point victory at Lehigh last Saturday night. Foley was most recently coming off a game-high and a then-career high 21 points and a game-high eight rebounds in the Crusaders' 13 point win over Colgate on Jan. 24. Foley was 9-for-13 from the floor and 3-for-3 from the free throw line to lead the Crusaders. Foley was 18-for-24 (75.0 percent) from the floor and 8-for-9 from the charity stripe last week and averaged 22.0 points each game. Foley was just shy of recording her third career double-double and her second straight with a 10-point, eight-rebound effort at Bucknell on Jan. 14. Going into the Bucknell game, 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 this season with a 14.3 points per game average. She is shooting an impressive 51.8 percent from the floor this year, which is second among Patriot League players (all games). She is also third in the conference in blocks (0.80 blocks per game), fourth in free throw percentage (77.9 percent), and is tenth in rebounding (6.0 rebounds per game).

KEIL STYLE: Junior guard Brittany Keil put together another strong game for Holy Cross with 17 points, a team-high six rebounds and two assists at Navy on Tuesday night. Keil totaled 12 points, five rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes of action last Saturday at Lehigh, and was coming off an 11-point, seven-rebound outing against Colgate on Jan. 24. She also had five assists and three steals against the Raiders. Keil recorded her fifth double-double of the season with a 16-point, 10-rebound performance against American on Jan. 21. She was 7-for-15 from the floor, including two three-pointers, and had 12 of HC's 26 points at the half against the Eagles. Keil has scored in double figures in six straight games and has averaged 14.1 points and 6.7 rebounds during that time. The New Jerset native had a standout game against #2 Duke on Jan. 16 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 ninth in the league in that same category. In addition, she is third on the team in scoring (10.1 points per game) and is third in the league in blocked shots (0.80 blocks 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.

PLAYMAKER: Sophomore point guard Laura Aloisi (Nashua, N.H.) has been solid all-around for the Crusaders over the past five games. She recorded five points, five assists, five steals and three rebounds in 39 minutes of action at Navy on Tuesday night. Aloisi also had a tremendous all-around game last Saturday at Lehigh, totaling seven points, six assists, six rebounds, and five steals against the Mountain Hawks. The five-foot-nine floor general had a stellar night against Colgate as well, recording a season-high 11 points, to go along with six assists, five steals and three rebounds. Aloisi has averaged 7.0 points, 5.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds in the last five games, helping Holy Cross a 4-1 mark, including four straight wins. HC's only loss during that span was to #2 Duke. Aloisi is leading the team in assists (81 assists) and assists per game (4.26 assists per game) again this season. The second year playmaker now has 200 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 (1.59; 81 assists, 51 turnovers), ranks third in assists (4.26 apg) and third in steals (1.95 steals per game).

MINI MILESTONES: Senior guard Shannon Bush played in her 100th career game last Saturday at Lehigh, just one game after fellow senior Sarah Placek started in her 100th career game against Colgate on Jan. 24. Placek played in her 100th career game on Dec. 29 against Virginia and has started 100 out of the 107 career games she has played in. Meanwhile, senior Jessica Conte played in her 100th career game on Dec. 28 against Boston University. Conte and Bush have 19 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 33 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.

Placek has missed the last two games due to a knee injury, but still has seven regular season games remaining to reach the 1,000 point mark before postseason play begins. She needs to average 4.7 points per game to reach 1,000 and is currently averaging 8.7 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).

BUSH LEADS HC CHARGE: Senior guard Shannon Bush scored a team-high 19 points, going 8-for-14 from the floor to lead Holy Cross to its fifth straight conference win at Navy on Tuesday. Bush hit two three's and also had three rebounds and three assists against the Mids. Bush recorded nine points, three steals and two rebounds in HC's 69-63 win at Lehigh last Saturday and totaled eight points, four rebounds and three assists coming off the bench last Tuesday night against Colgate. Bush also scored 15 points to spark the Crusader charge over American on Jan. 21. She 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. The Pennsylvania native pumped in a game-high 19 points on a 7-for-12 performance from the floor and had five assists, three rebounds and two steals to lead Holy Cross to a 67-63 overtime victory at Bucknell on Jan. 14. She 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 is currently second on the team in scoring this season with an 11.4 points per game average, which is tied for 10th-best in the league. The five-foot-11 guard 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 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 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.

PLACEK STEPS UP: Senior guard Sarah Placek has scored 10 or more points in three of the last six games she has played in and in four of her last eight outings. The five-foot-three spark plug has averaged 9.8 points per game over the last six games and is currently fourth on the team in scoring with a 8.7 points per game average. She is also third on the team and seventh in the Patriot League in assists with 53.

BEDEVILED: Holy Cross' 84-36 loss to Duke on Jan. 16 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).

TOP BILLING: Holy Cross is 0-5 when playing Top 25 teams at the Hart Center in the last six years. Before its 48-point 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).

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.

PUT ME IN, COACH: 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.

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.

QUICK HITTERS: Kaitlin Foley scored a career-high 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting at Lehigh, just one game after scoring a then-career-high 21 points against Colgate ... Laura Aloisi scored a season-high 11 points and tied a season-high with five steals against Colgate ... Ashley McLaughlin tied a career-high with six rebounds and tied season-highs in both rebounds (seven) and assists (two) against Colgate ... Kathy Gruzynski had a career-high two blocks against Colgate ... Brittany Keil tied a season-high with five assists against Colgate ... Keil also recorded her fifth career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds against American ... 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 ... 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 ... Foley had a career-high 20 points, played a career-high 38 minutes and tied for career highs in steals vs. URI ... Conte had a season-high seven rebounds and five steals vs. URI ... Keil pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds 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.

SENIOR LEADERSHIP: Senior guard Jessica Conte had eight points and six rebounds and tied a season-high with four assists last Saturday at Lehigh. The five-foot-eight New York native also tied a season-high in minutes played with 35 against the Mountain Hawks. 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 8.2 points per game average and is tied for second on the team in three-pointers made (23 three's). 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 nine out of 20 games this season and is tied for first on the team in steals (37 steals). Additionally, she is third on the team in rebounding (4.0 rebounds per game), and is tied for sixth in the league in steals (1.85 spg).

ATTA BABY!: Freshman forward Kathy Gruzynski (Elk Grove, Ill.) came through in the clutch last Saturday at Lehigh. Up two with less than eight minutes on the clock, Gruzynski ripped down an offensive rebound off of a Brittany Keil miss and made good on the putback to give the Crusaders a little breathing room before the ensuing media timeout. From that point on, Holy Cross managed to extend its lead to 12 and did not look back, while recording its fifth conference win if the year. Gruzynski finished the game with four points and two rebounds in 11 miuntes of action. Gruzynski scored four points, had two blocks and grabbed two rebounds in nine minutes of action against Colgate on Jan. 24. The six-foot-two post player also scored four points, had two assists, a rebounds and a steal in nine minutes in her Patriot League debut against Lafayette and had four points and 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.

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 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.

HEATHLY PROPORTIONS: As a team, Holy Cross ranks second in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.80), averaging 15.2 assists per game and 19.0 turnovers per game. Guard Laura Aloisi ranks second in the Patriot League in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 1.59 ratio (81 assists to 51 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 33-for-41 from the line (80.5 percent), which is second best on the team.

GETTING TO THE LINE: Junior center Kaitlin Foley is the lone Crusader ranked in the Patriot League rankings in free throw percentage. The six-foot-four post player is fourth in the conference in free throw percentage, hitting shots from the charity stripe at a 77.9 percent clip. As a team, Holy Cross ranks fourth in the conference in free throw percentage (68.0 percent).

TOUGH `D': The Crusaders are ranked in the top 3 in the Patriot League in a number of defensive categories this season. They are ranked second in the league in steals (10.45 steals per game), three-point field goal percentage defense (28.7 percent) and 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.