Women's Basketball Set To Face American In Washington
Feb. 16, 2006
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
GAME #25 at AMERICAN
Holy Cross (12-12, 8-3 Patriot League)
American (6-18, 3-8 Patriot League)
Date: February 18, 2006
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Place: Bender Arena (4,500)
Location: Washington, D.C.
Radio: WTAG 580 AM
Talent: Bob Fouracre, play by play
Series History: 11th meeting; Holy Cross leads 9-1
Last Meeting: Holy Cross, 59-55 (Jan. 21, 2006 - Worcester, Mass.)
Series Streak: Holy Cross - 3
PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS: Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG G 5 Laura Aloisi 5-9 So. 5.8 4.3 apg G 23 Jessica Conte 5-8 Sr. 7.9 4.3 G 33 Brittany Keil 6-2 Jr. 10.2 6.4 F 13 Ashley McLaughlin 6-1 So. 4.0 3.6 C 52 Kaitlin Foley 6-4 Jr. 14.4 6.2
Saturday's game will be the 11th all-time meeting between Holy Cross and American in the 31 year history of varsity basketball at Holy Cross.
THE SERIES: Holy Cross owns an all-time series record of 9-1 over American, and has won three straight against the Eagles, including a 59-55 victory in Worcester on January 21. The Crusaders are 4-1 when playing American at Bender Arena. The last and only time American defeated Holy Cross was during the 2003-04 season when the Eagles took an 81-65 decision in the second game of the season series in Washington. Holy Cross went 2-0 against the Eagles last season.
THIS TIME OUT: Holy Cross has won back-to-back games and is most recently coming off a 65-47 win over Navy on Tuesday, keeping the team's title hopes alive, while sweeping the season series against the Mids. The Crusaders are a half-game out of first place, behind Army and Bucknell, which have identical 9-2 conference records. Holy Cross is 3-2 in its last five games and 3-2 in its last four road games. The Cross is 4-6 on the road overall. Five of the Crusaders' 12 total losses have come against Top 25 (#1 Duke; #6 UConn; #20 Boston College) or Top 25-caliber (Virginia; Western Kentucky) teams. American comes into today's game after a 73-49 loss at Army on Tuesday night. The Eagles have now lost three straight and five of their last seven. American is 3-6 at home this season and 1-4 at home in league play, with its lone conference win coming against Lafayette on Jan. 28. The team is being outscored by an average of 9.5 points per game this season.
LAST TIME OUT: Four Crusaders reached double figures and the Holy Cross defense held Navy to 39 percent shooting and 47 points as the Crusaders defeated the Midshipmen, 65-47 on Tuesday night at the Hart Center. Holy Cross has now won two straight and improves to 12-12 (8-3 Patriot League), while the Mids fall to 12-12 (5-6 Patriot League). With the win, the Crusaders completed the series sweep for the second consecutive season and extended their all-time series advantage at the Hart Center over the Mids to 18-1. Junior guard Brittany Keil had a team-high 12 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Ashley McLaughlin, Kaitlin Foley and Laura Aloisi all added 11 points each. Senior guard Jessica Conte chipped in with eight points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds for the Crusaders. Holy Cross had a fast start, taking a 7-2 lead in the first four minutes of the game, while Navy struggled offensively, going 1-for-7 (.143) to start the half. The Mids then settled in and put together a 9-0 run, capped off by an Ashley Pelzek triple, to take an 11-7 lead at the 11:55 mark. But the Crusaders answered with a 14-3 run over the next seven minutes to go ahead, 21-14 with 2:13 to go. Navy outscored Holy Cross 5-3 in the final minutes get within five (24-19) at the break. The Crusaders shot 36.8 percent in the first, holding the Mids to 33.3 percent from the floor. There were a combined 22 turnovers (Holy Cross - 12) in the first twenty minutes. The two teams traded baskets to start the second, but back-to-back treys by Keil and McLaughlin started what would be a 14-0 HC run, giving the Crusaders a 19 point lead (44-25) with 11:16 to go. A Carly Meyer trey from the left corner at the 10:50 mark broke an almost-six-minute Navy dry spell, but the Mids would get no closer than 13 the rest of the way. The Crusaders only turned the ball over six times in the second stanza and shot 45.8 percent for the game. Holy Cross outrebounded Navy, 34-28 and also forced 23 Mid mishaps. Meyer led all scorers with a game-high 13 points and grabbed a team-high five rebounds for Navy.
NEXT TIME OUT: The Crusaders play in their final regular season road game on Tuesday, February 21, when they travel to Hamilton, N.Y., for a 7:00 p.m. match-up against Colgate. The Crusaders lead the all-time Colgate series, 33-2, and downed the Raiders, 75-62 in Worcester on Jan. 24.
HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 298-80 (.788) at the Hart Center, and is just two 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 55-20 (.733) at home over the course of the last six seasons, including its 5-4 mark this season.
MOVIN' ON UP: Senior guard Sarah Placek moved into a tie for the 10th spot on the all-time Holy Cross women's basketball assists list on Tuesday night, after recording three helpers against Navy. Placek now has 324 career assists, which ties her with Hall of Famer Lauren Maney `96 and Nicole DeQuattro `90. Mary Helen Walker `91 holds the ninth spot with 340 assists. Placek is also just 22 points away from the 1,000th of her career.
KEIL NAMED WINTER HOMECOMING GAME MVP: Junior swing player Brittany Keil was named the Holy Cross Club of Worcester Winter Homecoming Game Most Valuable Player following last Saturday's win over Bucknell. Keil scored a game-high 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds. The six-foot-two Keil was 7-for-12 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the free throw line, while collecting three assists and two steals in just 22 minutes of action after getting in foul trouble. Keil scored all 16 of her points in the first stanza, while propelling the Crusaders to a 32-15 halftime lead, outscoring the entire Bucknell squad on her own.
SOPHOMORE STANDOUT: Sophomore point guard Laura Aloisi has been on fire on both sides of the ball lately. Tuesday night against Navy, Aloisi scored 11 points, had a game-high five assists, grabbed three rebounds and added two steals in helping guide the Crusaders to their second straight victory. Aloisi was coming off an impressive game last Saturday against Bucknell, tying a career-high with 14 points, tying for game-high honors with six assists, and grabbing three rebounds and two steals. Aloisi was 0-for-2 in the first half and went into the break without scoring a single point, but came out in the second stanza and took the game over, scoring 14 of the team's 24 points and stepping up in place of teammate Brittany Keil, who scored 16 first half points, but got in foul trouble and only played five minutes in the second half. Aloisi was 3-for-5 from the floor in the second, drained a three-ball and hit 7-of-9 free throws to help seal the win for the Crusaders. Aloisi has averaged 11.7 points, 5.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds in the last three games. She is leading the team in assists (98 assists) and assists per game (4.26 assists per game) again this season. The second year playmaker now has 217 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 assists (4.26 assists per game), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.66; 98 assists, 59 turnovers), and steals (2.17 steals per game).
KEIL EARNS DISTRICT ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN HONORS: Junior guard/forward Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic District I University Division First Team, as announced by CoSIDA officials last week. The six-foot-two Keil was a District I Second Team selection last season. A Biology major with a Biology/Chemistry concentration, Keil has been on the Dean's List every semester of her Holy Cross career, including two 4.0 terms. She earned a 3.94 grade-point average during the Fall 2005 semester, which tied for 11th best among Holy Cross student-athletes, and has a 3.96 cumulative grade point average. With her selection, Keil advances to the national ballot, where she will try to join former Holy Cross greats Amy O'Brien, Kathy Courtney, Ann Lambiotte and Sherry Levin as the program's fifth Academic All-American. Keil, who was a Patriot League preseason all-conference pick, currently leads the team in rebounding this season with a 6.4 rebounds per game average. She is also second on the team in blocks (16 blocks) and third in scoring with a 9.9 points per game average. Joining Keil on the University Division District I team were Ann Strother of Connecticut, Brooke Queenan of Boston College, Danielle Clark of New Hampshire, and Joy Gallagher of Wagner College. To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore and have a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or better.
FOLEY ENJOYS CAREER NIGHT: Junior center Kaitlin Foley poured in a career-high 27 points and tied a career-high with 11 rebounds to record her third career double-double against Army on Feb 7. Foley was 12-for-18 from the floor and 3-for-4 from the charity stripe. She also blocked two shots in her 33 minutes of action. Foley has set and passed career-highs in points six times this season (18 at Northeastern; 19 vs. Western Kentucky; 20 vs. URI; 21 vs. Colgate; 23 at Lehigh; 27 vs. Army). Her previous career-high was 12 at Army in 2004. Foley leads the team in points (346 points), points per game (14.4 points per game), field goal percentage (52.2 percent), and blocks (24 blocks). A former Patriot League Player of the Week (Jan. 30), she is second on the team in rebounding (6.2 rebounds per game) and third on the team in steals (39 steals). The six-foot-four center, who only averaged 10.9 minutes and 3.1 points last season, has started all 24 games for the Crusaders this year. She ranks second in the Patriot League in both field goal percentage and blocks, fifth in scoring, sixth in free throw percentage (73.3 percent), eighth in rebounding and is tied for ninth in steals.
PRIZED POSSESSION: Holy Cross committed a season-low 10 turnovers at Lafayette on Feb. 4, and turned the ball over 18 times or less in five consecutive games (18 vs. Army; 10 at Lafayette; 13 at Navy; 11 at Lehigh; 18 vs. Colgate), marking just the second time all season the team recorded less than 20 miscues in five consecutive games. They committed 20 turnovers against Bucknell last Saturday breaking the streak. 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 +0.83 rate (18.5 turnovers to 19.4 opponent turnovers) and assist-to-turnover ratio at an 0.82 clip (15.2 assists to 18.5 turnovers). The Crusaders are 6-5 this season when committing less than 20 turnovers and 6-7 when turning the ball over 20 or more times. In addition, Holy Cross is 9-2 when forcing 20 or more turnovers and 3-10 when forcing less than 20 turnovers.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES: American comes into tonight's game after a 73-49 loss at Army on Tuesday night. The Eagles (6-18, 3-8 Patriot League) have lost three straight and five of their last seven games and are 1-4 at home against Patriot League competition this season. The Eagles are led by five-foot-ten senior guard Tala Hadavi (Uppsala, Sweden), who is averaging 14.9 points per game. Hadavi is the only American player who is averaging double figures in points this season. Five-foot-six junior guard Tara Williams (Newport News, Va.) and six-foot-two junior forward Abby Lipskis (Norfolk, Va.) are not far behind, with 9.2 and 8.4 points per game averages, respectively. Williams also leads the team in steals (42 steals), while Lipskis is second on the team in both blocks (12 blocks) and rebounds (122 rebounds; 6.1 rebounds per game). Six-foot-two freshman forward and former Patriot League Rookie of the Week, Sahar Nusseibeh (Uniontown, Ohio) is putting up 8.0 points, grabbing 5.0 rebounds, and leading the team in blocks (15 blocks), while fellow six-foot frosh Tish Curry (Pennsauken, N.J.) leads the team in rebounding (162 rebounds; 6.8 rebounds per game). In addition, five-foot-four freshman guard Pam Stanfield (College Park, Md.) is the team's top playmaker, with 71 assists (3.1 assists per game) on the season; 18 more than the next closest player on the roster (Williams; 53 assists). American has started eight different players this season, including five freshmen. Head coach Melissa McFerrin is in her second year with the American program and has a career record of 18-34 with the Eagles, who finished fourth in the Patriot League last season.
LAST TIME OUT VERSUS AMERICAN: (1/21/06) Junior guard Brittany Keil recorded her fifth career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds and senior guard Shannon Bush added 15 points to lead the Holy Cross women's basketball team to a 59-55 conference win over American on Saturday afternoon at the Hart Center. Holy Cross improves to 7-10 overall and 3-1 in Patriot League play, while the Eagles drop to 4-14 (1-4). Keil had 12 of her team-high 16 points and five of her team-high 10 rebounds in the first half. Bush scored 12 of her 15 points in the second half. Senior guard Sarah Placek checked in with nine points, three rebounds and three assists, while sophomore guard Laura Aloisi totaled six assists, five points, four rebounds and two steals. Junior center Kaitlin Foley chipped in with eight points, five rebounds, three assists and three blocks for the Crusaders. American started the game with a Tala Hadavi three-ball and jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead. But the Crusaders clawed their way back to take an 8-6 edge after a Keil trey with 16:42 to go in the first. The rest of the half was a similar back-and-forth battle that saw four ties and three lead changes. The Eagles led for most of the half until Holy Cross took the reins (22-20) for the first time since Keil's three-pointer after two Aloisi free throws with 4:48 on the clock. The Crusaders went into the break up 26-22 following a Foley lay-in with 2:52 remaining. Holy Cross opened the second half with three-balls from Aloisi and Placek to take a six point lead (32-26) at the 17:44 mark. A Foley hoop inside then sparked an 8-3 Crusader run which put the home team up nine (40-31) with 14:48 remaining. The Crusaders led by as much as 13 after two Bush free throws (51-38) with 10:26 to go, but the Eagles chipped away at the lead and went on an 11-2 run to get within four (53-49) less than five minutes later. Holy Cross extended its lead to seven (58-51) when Bush grabbed an offensive rebound and made good on the putback at the 2:41 mark. American then went on a 4-0 run to cut the lead to three (58-55) with 1:47 to go, but the Crusaders were able to hold on down the stretch for the 59-55 win. Holy Cross shot 39.3 percent from the floor and forced 21 AU miscues, despite being outrebounded, 43-35. Hadavi led all scorers with 18 points, while Sahar Nusseibeh recorded a 13-point, 12-rebound outing for the Eagles.
NUMBERS AGAINST AMERICAN: The Crusaders are 6-1 against the Eagles the last three years (2-1 at Bender Arena) and have outscored them by an average of 11.0 (405-339) points per game in those six wins. The Eagles defeated Holy Cross 81-65 in Washington during the 2003-04 campaign.
HOLY CROSS VERSUS THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Holy Cross is 173-34 (.835) in Patriot League play since its inception and is 105-10 (.913) when playing league opponents on the Hart Center floor, including its 5-1 mark this year. Under Bill Gibbons, Holy Cross is also 173-34 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.
FOLEY NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior center Kaitlin Foley earned her first career Patriot League Player of the Week award on Jan. 30 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 had a 10-point, eight-rebound effort at Bucknell on Jan. 14, after coming off her second career double-double with 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.
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 Feb. 4. 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 on Jan. 31. 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 had scored in double figures in seven straight games and averaged 13.8 points and 7.3 rebounds during that time, before her three point outing against Army on Feb. 7. 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 (0.71 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 played an admirable all-around game against Army on Feb. 7 with 10 points, five rebounds, five steals, four assists and a block, after coming off a great defensive game at Lafayette on Feb. 4 with a game-high four steals, five rebounds and two assists. Aloisi recorded five points, five assists, five steals and three rebounds in 39 minutes of action at Navy on Jan. 31 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 on Jan 24.
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 22 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 7.3 points per game over the next three regular season games to reach the 1,000 point mark before postseason play begins. She is currently averaging 7.6 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 pulled down seven rebounds and recorded three steals, two assists and two points in the Crusaders' 15 point win over Bucknell last Saturday. Bush totaled eight points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal against Army on Feb.7, and was one of three Crusaders in double-figures at Lafayette on Feb. 4, 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 on Jan. 31. 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 a 10.4 points per game average, which is 14th-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: Jessica Conte ripped down a career-high nine rebounds against Navy ... Brittany Keil was named the Holy Cross Club of Worcester Winter Homecoming Game Most Valuable Player of the HC/Bucknell game ... Kaitlin Foley scored a career-high 27 points and recorded her third career double-double (11 rebounds) against Army (Feb. 7) ... Keil recorded her sixth career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds at Lafayette ... 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 rebounds (seven) 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 ... 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: In her second straight start and the fifth in the last six games, senior guard Jessica Conte grabbed a game-high and a career-high nine rebounds against Navy on Feb 14., to go along with eight points, three steals and two assists. Conte had seven rebounds, six points, two assists and two steals in 32 minutes of action against Bucknell last Saturday. She came off the bench to total a game-high and a season-high six steals, four points, four assists and two rebounds against Army on Feb. 7, and registered eight points and five rebounds in what was then her third straight start at Lafayette on Feb. 4. 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 fourth on the team in scoring with a 7.9 points per game average and is third on the team in three-pointers made (25 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 (49 steals), third on the team in rebounding (4.3 rebounds per game), and is fourth in the Patriot League in steals (2.04 spg).
ATTA BABY!: Freshman forward Kathy Gruzynski (Elk Grove, Ill.) came up with a game-high and a career-high four steals against Navy on Feb. 14 and tied a career-high with 11 minutes played against the Mids. She also added four points, a rebound and an assist. Gruzynski 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 22 games, Holy Cross is 8-2 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 (0.82), averaging 15.2 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 1.66 ratio (98 assists to 59 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 37-for-45 from the line (82.2 percent), which leads the team.
GETTING TO THE LINE: Junior center Kaitlin Foley is the lone Holy Cross Crusader ranked as one of the Top 10 free throw shooters in the Patriot League. The six-foot-four Foley ranks sixth, making 73.3 percent of her attempts. As a team, Holy Cross ranks fourth 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 (27.8 percent), are tied for first in the league in steals (10.83 steals per game), rank second in blocked shots (2.62 blocks per game), and are third in scoring defense (63.2 opp. points 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 17 out of 24 games this season, and is in last place in the conference with a -6.6 rebounding margin this year. The Crusaders are 5-2 when outrebounding opponents and are below the .500 mark (7-10) when their opponents grab more caroms. Holy Cross has been outrebounded 1014-856 overall this season, including a 358-283 disadvantage on the offensive glass.
DRIBBLES: With its 15 point win over the Bison last Saturday, Holy Cross swept Bucknell in the regular season for the first time in three years ... The Crusaders' 63-57 loss to Army on Feb. 7 was their first home conference loss of the year ... Holy Cross is 3-9 this season when held under 60 points ... The Cross is 2-2 in February ... HC is 6-1 on Saturdays this year.
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.
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. Further, seven players on the team were named to the 2005 Patriot League Academic Honor Roll last season. Since-graduated senior Caitlin Agostinacchio (Bellmore, N.Y.) and current junior Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) were among just four women's basketball players throughout the League to earn 4.0 grade point averages during the Spring semester. Andrews, Fontana, Jessica Conte, Kaitlin Foley and Sarah Placek were the other Crusaders who earned all-academic league accolades.