February 22, 2005

Holy Cross Goes For Regular Season Title Tomorrow

Feb. 22, 2005

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GAMEDAY QUICKFACTS
GAME #26 vs. BUCKNELL
Date: Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Location: Lewisburg, Pa.
Arena: Sojka Pavilion
Capacity: 4,000
Team Records:
Holy Cross 16-9 (11-1 Patriot League)
Bucknell 9-16 (3-9 Patriot League)

Series History: Holy Cross, 28-7
Last Meeting: Holy Cross, 66-61 (January 8)
Streak: Holy Cross, 1

Broadcast Information:
Radio: WTAG 580 AM
Play-by-Play: Bob Fouracre

Probable Starters
G - #10 Sarah Placek, Jr., 5-3, 8.9 ppg, 2.6 apg
G - #05 Laura Aloisi, Fr., 5-9, 3.2 ppg, 4.5 apg
G - #34 Maggie Fontana, Sr., 5-11, 10.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg
F - #33 Brittany Keil, So., 6-2, 9.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg
C - #00 Lisa Andrews, Sr., 6-3, 12.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg

Reserves
G - #23 Jessica Conte, Jr., 5-7, 6.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg
G - #11 Caitlin Agostinacchio, Sr., 5-9, 1.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg
G - #15 Shannon Bush, Jr., 5-11, 5.4 ppg, 1.7 rpg
C - #31 Ashley Brennan-McBride, So., 6-5, 2.1 ppg, 0.6 rpg
F - #13 Ashley McLaughlin, Fr., 6-1, 4.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg
F - #52 Kaitlin Foley, So., 6-4, 2.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg

Tonight's game is the 36th all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Bucknell in the 30 seasons of varsity basketball at HC.

The Series: Holy Cross owns a 28-7 series advantage over Bucknell, and is 13-4 when playing at Sojka Pavilion. Last season, Bucknell knocked Holy Cross out of the Patriot League Tournament with a 94-75 thrashing of the Crusaders. Bucknell has won three of the last 10 meetings between the two teams.

Last Time: Brittany Keil shot for a career-high 17 points as Holy Cross downed visiting Bucknell, 66-61 on January 8 at the Hart Center in the first conference game of the season for both squads. With the win, Holy Cross snapped a four-game losing streak and started what would be a 10-game winning streak over the next five weeks. The Crusaders went into the break up 28-25, but late in the second, Bucknell took a four point lead (57-53) with 4:16 left. Lisa Andrews (16 points) then sparked HC with eight points and two blocks over the next 2:38 to give the Crusaders a 62-61 edge with 45 seconds remaining, and Maggie Fontana (14 points) sealed the game on two free throws with 0.6 seconds showing on the clock, allowing Holy Cross to end the game on a 6-0 run. Bucknell also had three players in double-figures led by Lindsey Hollobaugh's game-high 21. Tomovich added 17 and Kesha Champion tallied 13.

Title Hopes: With two regular season games remaining on the schedule, Holy Cross needs just one more win to claim the 2005 Patriot League regular season title. At 11-1 in the conference, HC is currently two games up on Lehigh after the Mountain Hawks' loss to Navy over the weekend. A win tonight or on Saturday at Army would give the Crusaders the 2005 crown.

Conte Named Player of the Week: Junior guard Jessica Conte (New Canaan, Conn.) earned her first career Patriot League Player of the Week award after her heroics against Colgate on Saturday. Conte came off the bench to pump in a team-high and a career-high 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, including a 3-of-4 performance from long range in just 22 minutes of play. Conte also tied for team-high honors with four assists and collected a team-high three steals. In addition, the 5-foot-7 guard grabbed three rebounds and was 3-for-3 from the free throw line in the Crusaders' 80-74 win over the Raiders.

Conte Takes Home Holy Cross Club MVP Award: Following the Colgate game on Saturday, Jessica Conte was presented with the 2005 Holy Cross Club of Worcester Homecoming Game MVP award. Conte scored a career-high 18 points and led the Crusaders to an 80-74 win over Colgate after being down by as much as nine points with 15 minutes left to play. Conte was a unanimous choice by the various media outlets who were in attendance at the game.

Andrews, Keil Named ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America District I: Lisa Andrews (Concord, Mass.) and Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) were named to the 2005 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Women's Basketball District I Team last Thursday. Andrews was selected to the First Team with a 3.64 gpa, while Keil represents Holy Cross on the Second Team with a 3.96 gpa. Holy Cross was the only school in District I with two players named to the Academic All-America squad. A total of ten players from District I were selected.

Hot Hands: HC shot better than 54% on Saturday against Colgate, marking just the third time all season the Crusaders have shot 50% or better from the field. The Crusaders' best shooting performance of the year was 61.4% against Iona in November, followed by a 51.7% night versus Army on January 12. Holy Cross is 3-0 when shooting 50% or better, and is 2-0 when it scores 80 or more points (vs. Colgate 80-74, vs. Iona 89-46). The 80 points the team put up Saturday was just the second time this season the Crusaders have scored 80 points or more.

Strength In Numbers: As a team, the Crusaders rank first in 10 of 19 team categories among the Patriot League statistics. HC is tops in scoring offense, scoring defense, scoring margin, free throw percent, field goal percent, field goal percent defense, three-point percent defense, assists, steals and turnover margin. The Crusaders are also ranked are ranked third in blocked shots and assist-to-turnover ratio.

Tough 'D': Holy Cross is 11-0 when holding its opponents to 60 points or less this season. The Crusaders have held seven opponents to 50 points or less thus far, including a three-game streak where the Purple and White held three consecutive opponents to 48 points. The Crusaders are also 13-2 when they force 20+ turnovers.

HC In The National Rankings: According to the latest release (Feb. 14), Holy Cross is ranked in the Top 50 nationally in three different categories. The Crusaders rank highest (28th) in both assists per game (16.5) and free throw percentage (74.7). Leading the nation in assists per game is DePaul (19.9), one of the Crusaders opponents earlier this year. HC is also ranked 44th in steals per game at 10.9 behind national leader North Carolina at 14.6.

Fontana Sets New HC Mark: Maggie Fontana's consecutive free throw streak ended at 33 at Lafayette on February 11 when the 5-foot-11 guard/forward went 7-for-8 from the line on the night. Fontana fell one free throw shy of tying the all-time Patriot League record of 34 consecutive free throws. Fontana's 33 straight foul shots across a seven-game span, did however, set a new HC women's basketball record, crushing the previous record of 23 consecutive set by Beth Godfrey during the 1992-1993 season.

Fontana Takes Seventh Slot: With her four rebounds on Saturday, Maggie Fontana moved into seventh place on Holy Cross' all-time rebounding list. The Illinois native now has 723 rebounds and is just a handful of caroms away from moving up to the sixth slot (732). The 5-foot-11 G/F is averaging 5.1 boards per contest.

Home Is Where the Hart Is:Holy Cross has an all-time record of 250-53 at the Hart Center, including a 9-3 mark at home so far this season. HC has posted a record of 47-15 (.758) at home over the course of the last four seasons.

Gibbons Gets No. 409: Holy Cross head coach Bill Gibbons continues to move up the history charts, having picked up his 409th career win on Saturday after an 80-74 win over Colgate. 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 got back in the win column with an 80-74 victory over Colgate on Saturday. HC has a two game lead in the Patriot League standings with an 11-1 conference record. Holy Cross is 16-9 overall going into tonight's match-up with Bucknell. The Crusaders are 6-5 on the road this year (4-1 vs. PL teams) and have a 10-6 record when they play at night. HC is also 1-1 when playing on Wednesdays this season and is 4-1 in February thus far. Bucknell is currently 9-16 overall and 3-9 in conference play, putting them in seventh place in the conference standings, behind Navy (5-7). The Bison are coming off a tough 58-56 loss to third place Army on Saturday.

Last Time Out: Holy Cross took an 80-74 decision over Colgate on Saturday, giving the Crusaders their 11th conference win of the season. Jessica Conte led the Crusaders with a team-high 18 points, while Maggie Fontana scored 16, Brittany Keil added 15, and Shannon Bush chipped in 12 off the bench for the Crusaders. The two teams battled to a 33-33 tie at the half in which both teams shot better than 50% from the floor. The Raiders opened up the second strong and found themselves up by nine (47-38) with 15:17 to go. But the Crusaders came right back and went on an 8-0 run over the next 1:13 to cut the lead to one, 47-46. A Conte trey with 13:39 on the clock knotted the game at 49, and with 11:26 to go, a Fontana free throw gave HC a 54-53 lead that the Crusaders would not give up the rest of the way. Holy Cross finished the game, having shot better than 54% from the field as a team as Colgate shot 46.2% for the game. Ozor led all scorers with a game-high 21 points for Colgate. Megan Ballard finished with 15, and Allison Lipinski and Emily Braseth added 11 and 10 points, respectively, to lead the Raiders.

Next Time Out: The Crusaders finish the regular season on Saturday, February 26 when they travel to West Point, N.Y. for a 1:00 p.m. match-up with Army at Christl Arena. The Patriot League Tournament begins Thursday, March 3. Holy Cross and Lehigh will be hosting the first two rounds.

Scouting The Bison: Bucknell comes into tonight's game after a heartbreaking 58-56 loss to Army on Saturday, snapping its two game winning streak. The Bison are 9-16 overall and with two regular seaosn games left, are currently in seventh place in the league standings with a 3-9 PL record. The Bison are led by sophomore guard Lindsay Hollobaugh who averages 14.8 ppg and 5.0 rpg. Senior foward Brooke Tomovich is second on the team with a 10.2 ppg average, while freshman forward Hope Foster leads the team in rebounding, pulling down 5.9 rebounds each game. Junior guard Lindsay Geosits is the team's top playmaker with 99 assists on the year.

Holy Cross in Patriot League Play: Holy Cross is currently 11-1 in conference play after an 80-74 win over Colgate on Saturday. Twentieth-year head coach Bill Gibbons has compiled a 164-30 (.845) record in Patriot League play, including HC's 11-1 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.

Getting To The Line: The Crusaders are tops among PL teams (all games and conference games) in team free throw percent, and boast an 11-2 record when they record more free throw attempts than their opponents. The Crusaders' 20 made free throws against American on February 6 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.

Sharpshooters: As a team, Holy Cross ranks third in three-point shooting percent (all games - 33.7%). Sophomore Brittany Keil ranks first (all games), shooting 42.9% (27 for 63) from behind the arc and junior Jessica Conte ranks fifth at 37.0% (27 for 73).

From the Charity Stripe: Holy Cross ranks first from the foul line, shooting a League-best 74.6% (conference games only) and 73.8% across all games. Maggie Fontana has a Patriot League-best 88.2% (45-for-51) rate at the line (conference games only) and leads the team with an 81.3% rate (74-for-91). Lisa Andrews is ranked third in foul shooting among Patriot League games, shooting an impressive 81.6% (31-for-38). Andrews is second on the team in that same category, converting on 80.0% (60-for-75) of her foul shots. Through 25 games, Crusader players have made good on 316 of 428 attempts.

Block Party: Lisa Andrews is currently ranked second in blocked shots in overall games among PL players. She is also tied for second in PL games in the same category. The 6-foot-4 center has turned away a team-leading 39 shots so far this season. Andrews is averaging 1.56 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 8-0 when outrebounding their opponents, and have a losing record (8-9) when their opponents win the battle of the boards. The Crusaders have been outrebounded in 17 of 25 games this season, including a streak of eight straight games earlier this season where HC opponents pulled down more boards.

Andrews Joins HC Elite: On February 13 at Lehigh, Lisa Andrews became the 21st player in HC women's basketball history to score 1,000 career points. Going into the game, Andrews needed just two points to reach the 1,000 point plateau and scored her milestone basket on a jumper just 5:33 into the game. The 6-foot-3 center finished the contest with a game-high 21 points, and currently has 1,028 for her career. Andrews needed just 17 points to reach 1,000 going into the weekend trip at Lafayette and Lehigh, but with 6:14 remaining in the Lafayette game, she collected her fifth foul and had to sit out. She had 15 points up to that point.

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 1,483 points. She is currently ranked third in steals with 242, and she is ranked seventh in rebounds (723). 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 (401), 13th in rebounds (723), and 13th in points (1,483). 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 185 blocks, nine 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 Trouble: 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: College Sports Television (CSTV) will broadcast the March 3 PL Quarterfinals and the March 9 PL Championship game.

2004-2005 Captains: Seniors Caitlin Agostinacchio, Lisa Andrews, and Maggie Fontana are the 2004-2005 Holy Cross captains.

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 409-181 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.

GIBBONS ALL-TIME:
 Career Record: 409-181 
Patriot League Record: 164-30
Years: 20
Record at School: Same

Where To Find Holy Cross Women's Basketball:
On Television: College Sports Television (CSTV) will broadcast the March 3 Patriot League Quarterfinals and the March 9 Patriot League Championship game. Throughout the Worcester area, CSTV is channel 318 on Charter Cable.

On the Radio: Tonight's game at Bucknell will be broadcast live on WTAG 580 AM. Bob Fouracre, the voice of the Crusaders for the past 19 years will bring you all the play-by-play action. WTAG 580 AM will also broadcast live on February 26 at Army.

On the Internet: All games broadcast by WTAG 580 AM can also be heard live on www.sportsjuice.com. Each game will 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

The Holy Cross Women's Basketball Show: 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.

Media Policies:
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.