Holy Cross Travels To Lafayette On Friday

Feb. 8, 2005

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DATE: Friday, February 11, 2005
TIME: 7:00 p.m. EST
LOCATION: Easton, Pa.
ARENA: Kirby Field House
Holy Cross 14-8 (9-0 Patriot League)
Lafayette 4-18 (2-7 Patriot League)

SERIES HISTORY: Holy Cross, 33-5
LAST MEETING: Holy Cross, 70-48 (January 28)
STREAK: Holy Cross - 17


 Probable Starters: 
G - #10 Sarah Placek, Jr., 5-3, 9.1 ppg, 2.6 apg
G - #05 Laura Aloisi, Fr., 5-9, 3.1 ppg, 4.7 apg
G - #34 Maggie Fontana, Sr., 5-11, 9.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg
F - #33 Brittany Keil, So., 6-2, 9.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg
C - #00 Lisa Andrews, Sr., 6-3, 12.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg
G - #23 Jessica Conte, Jr., 5-7, 6.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg
G - #11 Caitlin Agostinacchio, Sr., 5-9, 1.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg
G - #15 Shannon Bush, Jr., 5-11, 4.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg
C - #31 Ashley Brennan-McBride, So., 6-5, 2.1 ppg, 0.6 rpg
F - #13 Ashley McLaughlin, Fr., 6-1, 4.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg
F - #52 Kaitlin Foley, So., 6-4, 2.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg

Friday's game is the 39th all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Lafayette in the 30 seasons of varsity basketball at HC.

THE SERIES: Holy Cross owns a 33-5 series advantage over Lafayette, and has won 17 straight games between the two schools dating back to the 1997-1998 season. Holy Cross is 17-4 when playing in Easton, including two losses in Patriot League Tournament play.

LAST TIME: The Crusaders dominated the Leopards two weeks ago at the Hart Center with a 70-48 win, giving HC its sixth straight victory in a streak that has now extended to nine games. Lisa Andrews scored a game-high 16 points and added six rebounds and Maggie Fontana added 14 points and six rebounds to lead the Crusaders, who had built a 35-22 halftime lead. Jessica Conte tallied a game-high four steals to go along with nine points and two rebounds for HC, which had raced to a 20 point lead in the second stanza. Holy Cross forced 27 Lafayette turnovers on the night, and held the visitors to just 37% from the floor. Kara Stetler led the Leopards with 12 points and six assists, while Michelle Hunter added 11 points and three rebounds.

TOP SPOT: Holy Cross is in sole possession of first place in the Patriot League after posting a 56-47 win over American on Sunday afternoon. The Crusaders are 9-0 in the league, followed by Lehigh at 7-2 and Army and Colgate at 5-4.

IN THE ZONE: Holy Cross is currently riding a nine-game winning streak, which is its longest of the year. The last time the Crusaders won nine or more games consecutively was during the 2002-03 season when they rattled off 12 straight wins during the second half of the season. HC went 24-8 that year, including a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

ANOTHER RECORD FOR FONTANA: Just two games after she set an HC women's basketball record with an 11-for-11 performance from the free throw line, Maggie Fontana set another women's basketball record on Sunday against American. With her 8-for-8 showing at the foul line on Sunday, the Illinois native extended her free throw shooting streak to 28 straight, breaking Beth Godfrey's (`93) mark of 23 consecutive free throws during the 1992-1993 season. Colgate's Allison Lipinski has made 30 straight free throws, which is tops in the PL this season. Around the League, 19 straight is a record for a single game, 34 straight is the record for a season and 37 consecutive is the record for a career.

17 AND COUNTING...:With five regular season games left, senior Lisa Andrews (Concord, Mass.) is just 17 points away from reaching the 1,000 point plateau. Andrews is averaging 12.2 ppg and has put up 16.6 ppg in Patriot League play thus far. The 6-foot-3 center currently ranks fourth in the League in scoring (league games only).

TOP 10 FOR FONTANA: With her 11 rebounds last week Maggie Fontana passed Katie O'Keefe (`03) on the all-time HC rebounding list, giving her the 10th spot with 706 boards. With five regular season games left, Fontana is just a handful of caroms away from the six through nine slots (714-732). The 5-foot-11 G/F is averaging 5.0 boards per contest.

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: As a team, the Crusaders rank first in nine of 19 team categories among the Patriot League statistics. HC is tops in scoring defense, scoring margin, free throw percent, field goal percent defense, three-point percent defense, assists, steals, turnover margin and assist-to-turnover ratio. The Crusaders are also ranked second in soring offense and field goal percent and are ranked third in blocked shots, rebounding offense and defensive rebounds (tie).

TOUGH 'D':Holy Cross is 11-0 when holding its opponents to 60 points or less this season. The Crusaders held American to 47 points on Sunday and held Navy to 57 points on Friday, marking the fourth and fifth times in the last six games that HC held its opponent to under 60 points. The Crusaders have held seven opponents to 50 points or less this season, including a three-game streak where the Purple and White held three consecutive opponents to 48 points. The Crusaders are also 12-2 when they force 20+ turnovers.

HC IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: According to the latest release (Feb. 7), Holy Cross is ranked in the Top 50 nationally in three different categories. The Crusaders rank highest (22nd) in free throw percent at 74.8 behind national leader Idaho State at 79.1. HC also ranks 26th in assists per game at 16.7, behind national leader DePaul (19.9), one of the Crusaders opponents earlier this year. In addition, the Crusaders place 37th nationally in steals per game at 11.2 (national leader North Carolina, 14.6).

HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 249-53 at the Hart Center, including an 8-3 mark at home so far this season. HC has posted a record of 46-15 (.754) at home over the course of the last four seasons.

GIBBONS GETS NO. 407: Holy Cross head coach Bill Gibbons continues to move up the history charts, having picked up his 407th career win on Sunday after a 56-47 win over American. Gibbons is the winningest basketball coach (men's or women's) in the history of Holy Cross. The 20th year coach is also currently ranked 37th among active Division I women's basketball coaches by number of victories. Gibbons captured his 100th, 200th and 400th career wins on his first try. It took the Worcester, Mass. native two games to notch his 300th win in 2000.

THIS TIME OUT: The Crusaders are on a nine game winning streak and are currently 14-8 (9-0 Patriot League) going into tonight's match-up with Lafayette. The Crusaders are 5-4 on the road this year (3-0 vs. PL teams) and have a 9-6 record when they play at night. HC is also 4-1 when playing on Fridays this season and is 2-0 in February thus far. Lafayette is currently 4-18 overall and 2-7 in conference play. The Leopards are coming off a tough 79-66 loss to Colgate on Sunday.

LAST TIME OUT: The Crusaders overcame a smothering American defense on Sunday afternoon to pull out a hard fought 56-47 win over the Eagles. Brittany Keil, Maggie Fontana, and Jessica Conte combined for 40 of HC's 56 total points, as Keil led the way with 14. Fontana added 13 points, four rebounds, three steals and an assist, while Conte grabbed a team-high seven boards to go along with her 13 points, three steals and three assists. The two teams played 40 minutes of tough defense, combining for 50 turnovers and 24 steals while bothering each other on the offensive end, as American shot 37% from the floor and Holy Cross only managed 29%. HC went into the half with a 19-13 lead, but AU opened the second on a 14-0 run to jump ahead 27-19 with 14:34 to go. HC then fought back to take the lead 32-31 on a Conte three-ball at the 11:00 mark, and after a 36-36 tie with just over eight minutes remaining, Conte nailed another trey (39-36) and the Crusaders never trailed again. Lisa Andrews added nine points, five rebounds and three blocks and Laura Aloisi dished out a team-high four dimes.

NEXT TIME OUT: The Crusaders make the short trip to Lehigh on Sunday for a 1:00 matinee at Stabler Arena.

SCOUTING THE LEOPARDS: Lafayette comes into tonight's game after suffering a 13 point loss to defending PL champion Colgate on Sunday. The Leopards are currently 4-18 overall and 2-7 in league play. Lafayette is led by 5-foot-8 senior guards Lindsay Meyers (Allentown, Pa.) who is averaging 9.5 ppg, leads the team in assists (61), and is second on the team in rebounding at 5.6 rpg. Six-foot freshman forward Vanessa Van De Venter (Tannersville, Pa.) is the team's leading rebounder pulling down 5.7 rpg and is second on the team in scoring at a 9.1 ppg clip. Six-foot-one senior center Brianne Welte (Owosso, Mich.) leads the team in blocked shots with 15 so far this season.

HOLY CROSS IN PATRIOT LEAGUE PLAY: Holy Cross is currently 9-0 in conference play after a 2-0 weekend vs. Navy and American. Twentieth-year head coach Bill Gibbons has compiled a 162-29 (.848) record in Patriot League play, including HC's 9-0 mark this year. Gibbons also has six Patriot League Coach of the Year awards and has led his teams to 10 regular season titles and nine championship titles.

GET TO THE LINE: The Crusaders' 20 made free throws on Sunday vs. American tied a season high (Buffalo) for The Cross. As a team, HC also shot 87% (20-for-23) from the line against AU which was its second best perfomance (93.8%; 15-for-16 vs. Boston College) this season. In addition, the Crusaders are tops among PL teams (all games and conference games) in team free throw percent, and boast a 10-2 record when they record more free throw attempts than their opponents.

HC TOPS FROM LONG RANGE: Holy Cross is shooting a league-best 34.4% from behind the arc this season (all games). Sophomore Brittany Keil ranks first in the League shooting 44.8% (26 for 58) from behind the arc. Junior Jessica Conte ranks sixth at 36.4% (24 for 66), and junior guard Sarah Placek is ranked 9th (33.3%; 24 for 72).

FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE: Holy Cross is also tops from the foul line, shooting a League-best 77.1% (conference games only) and 74.8% (all games). Lisa Andrews has a team-best 82.1% rate at the line (55-for-67), while fellow senior Maggie Fontana is converting on better than 81%, having made 62-of-76 free throws. Brittany Keil is also shooting an impressive 80% when she gets to the line. Through 20 games, Crusader players have made good on 267 of 357 attempts.

BLOCK PARTY: Lisa Andrews is currently ranked second in both PL games and overall games among Patriot League players in blocked shots. The 6-foot-4 center has turned away a team-leading 36 shots so far this season. Andrews is averaging 1.64 blocks per game. She finished last season ranked 21st in the country with 2.5 blocks per outing.

BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: The Crusaders are 7-0 when outrebounding their opponents, and 7-8 when their opponents win the battle of the boards. The Crusaders have been outrebounded in 15 of 22 games this season, including a streak of eight straight games where HC opponents pulled down more boards.

RE-WRITING THE RECORD BOOKS: On Sunday, January 30, Maggie Fontana converted 11-of-11 foul shots, breaking the Holy Cross women's basketball single-game record. The previous best was a 10-for-10 performance by Beth Godfrey vs. Indiana on January 3, 1993. Fontana's 11 free throws also marked a new Patriot League single-game high this season.

RECORDS TO WATCH: Senior guard Maggie Fontana is moving up in a number of all-time Holy Cross statistics lists. Fontana is currently ranked ninth in scoring with 1,446 points. She is currently tied for third in steals with 238, and she is ranked tenth in rebounds (706). Fontana is also steadily climbing the all-time Patriot League charts in a number of categories. The 5-foot-11 Illinois native is currently ranked 11th in assists (397), 15th in rebounds (706), and 15th in points (1,446). With her three rejections against Lafayette on January 28, Lisa Andrews moved into the third slot in all-time blocked shots in both Patriot League and Holy Cross history. Andrews currently has 182 blocks, 12 away from former HC player Karen Juda (`96), who occupies the second spot in both Holy Cross and Patriot League history with 194 blocks.

DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Seniors Lisa Andrews and Maggie Fontana are the only two HC players who have recorded double-doubles this season. Andrews went for 17 points and 13 boards in a 67-48 win over American on January 23 and 12 points and 10 boards in a 64-56 win at Siena on December 9. Fontana tallied 10 points and 10 boards in a one-point loss to UAB on November 26.

2004-2005 WEEKLY HONORS: Maggie Fontana earned her first Player of the Week award on January 31 after putting up 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds against Lafayette and Lehigh. Lisa Andrews earned her second Patriot League Player of the Week honor on January 17 after she averaged 21.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg, and blocked three shots against Army and Colgate. Andrews' first POW nod was on Nov. 22 after she tallied 19 points, four rebounds, two blocks and a steal vs. Buffalo two days after a 12-point, five rebounds, two steals and a block in the home opener against Providence. Laura Aloisi was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week on Nov. 29 after her performances in the Iona (six assists, three steals), UAB (career-high 14 points), and UMass games (career-high 11 assists).

PATRIOT LEAGUE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL ON CSTV: Next week's game (Feb. 19) featuring Holy Cross and Colgate, which will be played at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass., is the only Patriot League regular season women's game slated for CSTV. College Sports Television will also broadcast the March 3 PL Quarterfinals and the March 9 PL Championship game.

HOLY CROSS PICKED TO WIN PATRIOT LEAGUE CROWN: Ten-time Patriot League regular-season champion Holy Cross was picked to win the 2004-2005 Patriot League regular-season title in a pre-season vote of the League's head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders tied last season's regular season champion Colgate with five first place votes, but amassed 84 total points, edging the Raiders by two (coaches and SIDs were not allowed to vote for their own team). American finished third with 72 points, followed by Lehigh (68), Bucknell (55), Army (36), Navy (27), and Lafayette (19). In other voting, Colgate senior Emily Braseth and Lehigh senior Jessica DePalo were chosen as the Pre-Season Co-Players of the Year. They are joined on the Pre-Season All-League team by Holy Cross senior guard Maggie Fontana, Bucknell sophomore guard Lindsey Hollobaugh and American senior forward Chanel Hunt. Braseth and DePalo were First Team selections last season, while Fontana and Hunt were second-team picks. Hollobaugh earned Rookie of the Year honors.

2003-2004 HONORS: Joining Fontana on the All-Patriot League Secons Team was center Lisa Andrews. Andrews led the League in blocks (69), and was ranked 21st in the country with 2.5 blocks per game. She also finished the season ranked 28th in the country in field goal pct. (.541). Brittany Keil also earned League accolades last season. The 6-foot-2 guard was named to the Patriot League All-Rookie Team after a strong freshman campaign. Keil played in all 28 Crusader games, and started 15. She averaged 4.7 ppg and 3.6 rpg, to go along with 28 steals and 21 blocks.

2004-05 CAPTAINS: Seniors Caitlin Agostinacchio, Lisa Andrews, and Maggie Fontana are the 2004-2005 Holy Cross captains. Agostinacchio was a First Team All-Patriot League selection in volleyball this year, while Andrews and Fontana were both Second Team All-Patriot League picks in basketball last season.

HEAD COACH Bill Gibbons: Bill Gibbons is entering his 20th season as head coach of the Holy Cross Women's Basketball program. The name Gibbons has become a fixture in the world of women's basketball. He has led the Crusaders to nine Patriot League Championships in the last 14 years. He has also made 10 postseason appearances (nine NCAA Tournaments and one WNIT) in his 19 years as head coach. With fifteen 20-win seasons under his belt, Gibbons has cemented himself and the women's basketball program as one of the best in the Northeast. Gibbons currently has a record of 407-180 in his 20th year as head coach. The sixth coach of the women's program at Holy Cross, he has enjoyed the longest tenure in this position. With his 358th victory, he surpassed George Blaney (357) to become the school's all-time winningest coach in basketball history. In 2003, Gibbons was inducted into the New England College Basketball Hall of Fame at the University of Rhode Island.

Career Record: 407-180
Patriot League Record: 162-29
Years: 20
Record at School: Same

ON THE RADIO : WTAG 580 AM will broadcast live on February 23 at Bucknell, and February 26 at Army.

ON THE INTERNET: All games broadcast by WTAG 580 AM except the February 11 & 13 games at Lafayette and Lehigh can also be heard live on www.sportsjuice.com. Each game will also be linked from the Holy Cross website. Other information on Holy Cross basketball and all 26 other varsity sports is also available through the new Holy Cross Athletics website at: www.goholycross.com

ON TELEVISION: Tune in to WCTR TV-3 Wednesday nights at 10:30 p.m. and Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m. for the Holy Cross Women's Basketball Show with Head Coach Bill Gibbons. Each week, WCTR TV-3 Sports Director Kevin Shea will sit down with Gibbons and members of this year's coaching staff and team and talk about all things Holy Cross basketball, and the Crusaders quest for the 2004-2005 Patriot League Championship and a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

INTERVIEWS: Interviews with Head Coach Bill Gibbons, his staff and Holy Cross players can be set up by contacting Brianne Mallaghan in the Holy Cross Athletic Media Relations Office at (508) 793-2583 or via email at bmallagh@holycross.edu. Arrangements for interviews should be made atleast 24 hours in advance.

POSTGAME PROCEDURES: The Holy Cross women's basketball locker room is closed to the media. Members of the media should submit player interview requests to Brianne Mallaghan, the Holy Cross women's basketball contact, by the five-minute mark of the second half. Players and Coaches will be available for postgame interviews following a 10-minute cooling off period after the game.