Feb. 7, 2006
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
GAME #22 vs. ARMY
Army (12-9, 6-2 Patriot League)
Holy Cross (10-11, 6-2 Patriot League)
Date: February 7, 2006
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600)
Location: Worcester, Mass.
Radio: WTAG 580 AM
Talent: Bob Fouracre, play by play
Series History: 35th meeting; Holy Cross leads 27-7
Last Meeting: Army, 59-56 (Jan. 10, 2006 - West Point, N.Y.)
Series Streak: Army - 1
PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS: Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG G 5 Laura Aloisi 5-9 So. 4.9 4.2 apg G 23 Jessica Conte 5-8 Sr. 8.1 4.0 G 33 Brittany Keil 6-2 Jr. 10.2 6.4 F 13 A. McLaughlin 6-1 So. 3.7 3.5 C 52 Kaitlin Foley 6-4 Jr. 14.1 6.0
Tonight's game is the 35th all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Army in the 31 year history of varsity basketball at Holy Cross.
THE SERIES: Holy Cross owns an all-time series record of 27-7 versus Army, but the two teams have gone 2-2 against each other in the last four meetings, including the Black Knights' 59-56 win over the Crusaders on Jan. 10 this season. Holy Cross has, however, won seven of the last 10 meetings and 16 of the last 20. The last time Army defeated Holy Cross at the Hart Center was during the 2003-04 season when the Cadets earned a 67-58 victory in the second game of the season series. Holy Cross was 2-0 against Army last season.
THIS TIME OUT: Holy Cross is coming off a 54-49 loss at Lafayette on Saturday afternoon. The Leopards had only defeated Holy Cross five times in the 20-year history of the rivalry (41 games) and the Crusaders had been winners of 20 straight games against Lafayette going into Saturday. In addition, Holy Cross' four-game winning streak was snapped and the team suffered its second conference loss of the year, dropping into a second place tie with Army. The Crusaders are 4-1 in their last five games. Five of the Crusaders' 11 total losses have come against Top 25 (#2 Duke; #3 UConn; #22 Boston College) or Top 25-caliber (Virginia; Western Kentucky) teams. The Black Knights are also 4-1 in their last five games and come into tonight's match-up after a thrilling 78-72 overtime win over Navy in the annual Star Game. Army shares an identical 6-2 Patriot League record with Holy Cross (losses at Lehigh and at Colgate), and is 3-5 on the road this season (1-3 on the road in conference play).
LAST TIME OUT: Lindsay Myers and Kara Stetler combined to score 31 points and the Lafayette defense held Holy Cross to just 49 points as the Lafayette women's basketball team upset the defending Patriot League champion Crusaders, 54-49 on Saturday afternoon at the Kirby Sports Center. The win is Lafayette's first against Holy Cross since a 75-69 home victory on Feb. 15, 1998. The Crusaders had won 20 straight, including a 78-39 decision a month ago in Worcester, Mass. They entered with a 6-1 league record and shared the top spot in the standings with Bucknell, but fall to 6-2 in conference play. Lafayette won its seventh game of the season for the first time since 2000-01 and improved to 2-6 in the Patriot League. Lafayette (7-14 overall) also snapped a five game winning streak for the Crusaders and snapped a three-game losing streak of its own, while Holy Cross fell to 10-11 overall. The win was just the sixth all-time for Lafayette in the series history (Holy Cross leads, 36-6). Junior guard Brittany Keil recorded her sixth career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while senior guard Shannon Bush and junior center Kaitlin Foley added 11 and 10, respectively, for Holy Cross. Holy Cross went into the break up 23-21 after a tough shooting performance for both teams in the first twenty minutes. The Crusaders (9-for-30) and Leopards (8-for-30) were a combined 18-for-60 from the floor with 15 turnovers (HC-seven). The Leopards led for most of the half and were up by as much as six (16-10) with 6:48 on the clock. But Holy Cross then went on a 10-3 run to take its first lead of the game, and subsequently ended the half by outscoring Lafayette, 13-5, to take the two point lead into the intermission. Lafayette, however, scored 12 straight points while holding Holy Cross scoreless for over six minutes in the middle of the second half, which effectively put the game away. The Crusaders led most of the second half until a Stetler trey at the 8:32 mark put Lafayette on top, 37-35. The Leopards would not relinquish the lead from that point on, using a 19-4 run to put the game out of reach. The Crusaders cut the deficit to four on two occasions with less than a minute to play, but could not get any closer. The Crusaders shot 31.3 percent for the game, while the Leopards converted 38.8 percent of their shots. Holy Cross only had 10 turnovers for the game, but went to the free throw line just eight times in the game (3-for-8). Lafayette was 13-for-22 from the charity stripe. Senior guard Jessica Conte had eight points and five rebounds, while sophomore forward Ashley McLaughlin recorded five rebounds, three points and a block for the Crusaders. Myers and Stetler shared team-high honors with seven boards a piece.
PRIZED POSSESSION: Holy Cross committed a season-low 10 turnovers at Lafayette on Saturday, and has turned the ball over just 34 times in the last three games (10 at Lafayette; 13 at Navy; 11 at Lehigh), marking just the second time all season the team has recorded less than 20 miscues in three or more consecutive games. The Crusaders had 18 turnovers against Colgate prior to the Lehigh game and are currently on a four-game streak with 18 or less turnovers. The Cross started the season with five straight games under 20 mishaps (12 at Northeastern; 19 at UMass; 13 vs. Dartmouth; 12 vs. Saint Peter's; 16 at Boston College). Holy Cross ranks second in the Patriot League in both turnover margin at a +0.57 rate (18.5 turnovers to 19.1 opponent turnovers) and assist-to-turnover ratio at an 0.80 clip (14.9 assists to 18.5 turnovers). The Crusaders are 5-4 this season when committing less than 20 turnovers and 5-7 when turning the ball over 20 or more times. In addition, Holy Cross is 8-1 when forcing 20 or more turnovers and 2-10 when forcing less than 20 turnovers.
NEXT TIME OUT: The Crusaders are back at home for the second straight game when they 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 BLACK KNIGHTS: Army comes into tonight's game after a thrilling 78-72 overtime victory over Navy in the annual Star Game on Saturday afternoon in West Point. The Black Knights are 4-1 in their last five outings and have won seven of their last 10. Army is 3-5 away from home this season, and 1-3 on the road against conference opponents. The Black Knights are led by sophomore forward and the 2005 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Cara Enright (Norco, Calif.), who is averaging 16.6 points per game. The five-foot-10 Enright is also pulling down 4.7 rebounds per outing and is second on the team in three-pointers made (19 three's) this season. Freshman guard Alex McGuire (Gambrills, Md.) is having a stellar rookie campaign and is second on the team in scoring with 10.2 points per game. Five-foot-11 sophomore forward Stephanie Stone (Hollywood, Md.) leads the team in rebounding with 5.7 boards per game and is third on the team in scoring with 8.8 points per game. Stone is also shooting an impressive 59.8 percent from the floor this season. Junior guard Erin Begonia (Bellflower, Calif.) is not far behind Stone with an 8.7 points per game average, but has been hampered by injuries much of the season and has only played in 13 games. Head Coach Maggie Dixon is in her first season at the helm of the Army program. She is a 1999 graduate of San Diego State and served as an assistant coach at DePaul University in Chicago for the past five seasons. Dixon is the seventh head coach in the history of Army women's basketball. She is also the sister of the University of Pittsburgh men's basketball coach, Jamie Dixon.
LAST TIME OUT VERSUS ARMY: (1/10/06) Three players reached double-figures, but it was not enough as the Holy Cross women's basketball team suffered a heartbreaking 59-56 setback to Army at Christl Arena on Jan 10. Holy Cross fell to 5-9 (1-1 Patriot League), while the Black Knights (8-7, 2-0 Patriot League) won their third straight. Junior center Kaitlin Foley led the Crusaders with 14 points and 10 rebounds, recording her second career double-double. Foley had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the first half. Senior guard Sarah Placek tied Foley for game-high honors with 14 points and senior guard Shannon Bush chipped in with 10 points, all of them coming in the second half. Army jumped out to an 18-8 lead after forcing six turnovers and scoring seven points off of those turnovers in the first seven minutes of the game. Holy Cross was within one (7-6) following an Alex McGuire jumper at the 17:00 mark, but the Black Knights then went on an 11-2 run over the next five minutes to take the ten point lead. Army held Holy Cross scoreless for almost four minutes during the run. The Crusaders cut the lead to six with 8:20 remaining in the half, but would not get any closer before intermission, as the Black Knights took a 34-27 lead into the break. Holy Cross opened the second half on an 8-2 run and cut the lead to just two (37-35) after two Ashley McLaughlin free throws, but Army responded with a 9-1 run of its own to take a 46-36 lead with 12:32 remaining. The Crusaders battled back and cut the lead to four with 8:35 to go after going on a 10-4 run in which Bush scored eight points, including two treys. With 33 seconds on the clock, Placek nailed a three ball to cut the lead to one (57-56), but two Cara Enright free throws with 13 seconds remaining sealed the game for the Black Knights. Holy Cross had one final opportunity to tie the game as the clock ran down, but Enright came up with a steal, which allowed the clock to expire. Army was led by the 13-point, 10-rebound performance of Stephanie Stone. McGuire added 12 points and Megan Evans had 10 points.
NUMBERS AGAINST ARMY: Holy Cross is 6-2 against the Black Knights in the last three years, and 2-2 against Army in the last four meetings, including its three point loss in West Point on Jan. 10 earlier this season.
HOLY CROSS VERSUS THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Holy Cross is 171-33 (.838) 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 171-33 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.
BACK TO BUSINESS: Senior guard Sarah Placek returned to game action on Saturday after sitting out the previous two games (Jan. 28 at Lehigh; Jan. 31 at Navy) due to a knee injury suffered late in the Colgate game on Jan. 24. Placek's MRI came back negative and she began practicing again last week. The five-foot-three guard played 20 minutes at Lafayette in the team's last outing and totaled four points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal against the Leopards. Placek is just 29 points away from the 1,000th of her career. Placek is currently fourth on the team in scoring with an 8.5 points per game average. She is also third on the team and eighth in the Patriot League in assists with 54.
FOLEY NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior center Kaitlin Foley earned her first career Patriot League Player of the Week award last Monday after leading Holy Cross to two wins in the week ending on Jan. 29. 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 on Jan. 28, after 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, averaging 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 14.1 points per game average. She is shooting an impressive 51.1 percent from the floor this year, which is third among Patriot League players (all games). She is also second in the conference in blocks (0.86 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 recorded her sixth double-double of the season, and the sixth of her career after scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds at Lafayette on Saturday. Keil's 11 boards was a game-high and her 12 points was a team-high. Keil was coming off a strong game at Navy with 17 points, a team-high six rebounds and two assists last Tuesday. Keil totaled 12 points, five rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes of action at Lehigh on Jan. 28, and registered 11 points and seven rebounds 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 seven straight games and has averaged 13.8 points and 7.3 rebounds during that time. The New Jersey 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 (6.4 rebounds per game) and is seventh in the league in that same category. In addition, she is third on the team in scoring (10.2 points per game) and is fourth in the league in blocked shots (0.67 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 in conference play this season. She put forth a great defensive effort with a game-high four steals at Lafayette on Saturday. She also had five rebounds and two assists, while not turning the ball over for the second straight game. Aloisi recorded five points, five assists, five steals and three rebounds in 39 minutes of action at Navy last Tuesday night and also had a tremendous game at Lehigh on Jan. 28, 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 5.8 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds in the last six games, helping Holy Cross a 4-2 mark, including a span of four straight wins. Holy Cross' two losses during that span were at Lafayette and against #2 Duke. Aloisi is leading the team in assists (83 assists) and assists per game (4.15 assists per game) again this season. The second year playmaker now has 202 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 both assist-to-turnover ratio (1.63; 83 assists, 51 turnovers), and steals (2.05 steals per game), and ranks third in assists (4.15 apg).
MINI MILESTONES: Senior guard Shannon Bush played in her 100th career game at Lehigh on Jan. 28, 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 21 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 season, 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 29 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 needs to average 4.8 points per game over the next six regular season games to reach the 1,000 point mark before postseason play begins. She is currently averaging 8.5 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 was one of three Crusaders in double-figures at Lafayette on Saturday, scoring 11 points and grabbing four rebounds off the bench in Holy Cross' five point loss. Bush came off the bench to record a team-high 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the floor at Navy last Tuesday. She 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 on Jan. 28 and totaled eight points, four rebounds and three assists coming off the bench against Colgate on the 24th. 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 11.3 points per game average, which is ninth-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.
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: Brittany Keil recorded her sixth career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds at Lafayette ... 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 ... Keil tied a season-high with five assists against Colgate ... Keil 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), including 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 registered eight points and five rebounds in her third straight start at Lafayette on Saturday. Conte also had a strong outing with eight points, six rebounds and four assists at Lehigh on Jan. 28. 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 8.1 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 is second on the team in steals (38 steals), third on the team in rebounding (4.0 rebounds per game), and is tied for sixth in the league in steals (1.81 spg).
ATTA BABY!: Freshman forward Kathy Gruzynski (Elk Grove, Ill.) came through in the clutch in Holy Cross' 69-63 win at Lehigh on Jan. 28. 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 minutes 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 Marriott 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 occasions; 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.
HEALTHY PROPORTIONS: As a team, Holy Cross ranks second in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.80), averaging 14.9 assists per game and 18.5 turnovers per game. Guard Laura Aloisi ranks second in the Patriot League in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 1.63 ratio (83 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 fifth in the conference in free throw percentage (67.3 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 conference in three-point field goal percentage defense (28.4 percent), and are ranked second in the league in both steals (10.43 steals per game), and blocks (2.43 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 (Jan. 7) to a season-low 27.3 percent from the floor.
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: Holy Cross has been outrebounded in 16 out of 21 games this season, and is in last place in the conference with a -7.5 rebounding margin this year. The Crusaders are 3-2 when outrebounding opponents and are below the .500 mark (7-9) when their opponents grab more caroms. Holy Cross has been outrebounded 901-743 overall this season, including a 316-243 disadvantage on the offensive glass.
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, including 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.
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 Division 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.