Women's Basketball Readies For Lehigh In Key Match-Up

Feb. 23, 2006

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
GAME #27 vs. LEHIGH
The Teams:
Lehigh (10-16, 5-8 Patriot League)
Holy Cross (13-13, 9-4 Patriot League)

Date: February 25, 2006
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600)
Location: Worcester, Mass.
Broadcast Information:
Television: none.
Radio: WTAG 580 AM
Talent: Bob Fouracre, play by play
Internet: www.sportsjuice.com
Series History: 37th meeting; Holy Cross leads 31-5
Last Meeting: Holy Cross, 69-63 (Jan. 28, 2006 - Bethlehem, Pa.)
Series Streak: Holy Cross - 1

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos.  No.  Name               Ht.   Cl.	PPG	RPG
G     10   Sarah Placek       5-3   Sr.	7.7	2.4
G     23   Jessica Conte      5-8   Sr.	8.2	4.3
G     15   Shannon Bush       5-11  Sr.	10.4	3.8
F     13   A. McLaughlin      6-1   So.	3.9	3.7
C     52   Kaitlin Foley      6-4   Jr.	14.8	6.0

Saturday's game will be the 37th all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Lehigh in the 31 year history of varsity basketball at Holy Cross.

THE SERIES: Holy Cross owns an all-time series record of 31-5 over Lehigh, but is 3-2 against the Mountain Hawks in the last five meetings. The Crusaders are 14-2 when playing Lehigh at the Hart Center, and defeated the Mountain Hawks, 69-63 in Bethlehem less than a month ago on Jan. 28. The two teams split the season series last year.

HIGH STAKES: A win against Lehigh today would give Holy Cross the second seed in next week's Patriot League Tournament, ensuring the Crusaders home court advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs. A loss and a Bucknell win over Army would have The Cross packing for a trip to Lewisburg, Pa., next week as the third seed. Army narrowly defeated Bucknell, 66-65, last Saturday in West Point.

THIS TIME OUT: Holy Cross' three-game winning streak was snapped as it split the season series with Colgate with a 79-71 loss in Hamilton on Tuesday night. Holy Cross is 3-2 in its last five games and 4-1 in its last five home games. The Cross is 6-4 at home overall this season, including a 5-1 mark at the Hart Center in conference play. The Crusaders' lone league loss in Worcester was against Army (63-57) on Feb. 7. Five of the Crusaders' 12 total losses have come against Top 25 (#1 Duke; #6 UConn; #19 Boston College) or Top 25-caliber (Virginia; Western Kentucky) teams. Lehigh comes into today's game after a 56-55 upset victory at Bucknell on Tuesday. The Mountain Hawks are 2-9 on the road this season, including a 2-4 road record in league play.

LAST TIME OUT: Three Crusaders reached double figures, but it was not enough as the Holy Cross women's basketball team dropped a 79-71 decision to Colgate on Tuesday night at Cotterell Court. Holy Cross falls to 13-13 (9-4 Patriot League), while the Raiders improve to 8-18 (6-7 Patriot League). The win was just the third for Colgate in the history of the series between the two teams (Holy Cross owns a 33-3 all-time record). The Crusaders, do, however, remain in a second place tie in the conference standings after Bucknell's loss to Lehigh on Tuesday night. Shannon Bush and Kaitlin Foley shared game-high honors with 18 points each and Jessica Conte added 15. Bush had 10 of her 18 in the first. Sarah Placek chipped in with nine points. Holy Cross jumped out to a 22-13 advantage midway through the half, but the Raiders chipped away at the lead and went on a 13-2 run over the next 2:36 to take their first lead of the game (26-24) after a Megan Ballard steal and hoop on the other end. The Raiders went up by as much as five (33-28) with 2:44 on the clock after a Carly Brescacin hoop underneath, but Placek scored five points in the final two minutes to get Holy Cross within two (35-33) at the break. The Crusaders shot 52.0 percent in the first stanza, including a 4-for-9 showing from behind the arc, but turned the ball over 13 times in the first twenty minutes. Colgate made 44.1 percent of its attempts from the floor and recorded eight first half steals. The two teams traded baskets and the lead to start the second until the Raiders went on a 10-4 run to go up 49-43 with 11:44 remaining. The Crusaders were able to cut the lead to four (55-51) following a Conte take to the hoop with 7:44 on the clock, but Colgate responded with an 11-1 run to take a 14 point lead (66-52) with 5:40 left. Holy Cross came within four (73-69) with 46 seconds remaining after two Placek free throws, but would not get any closer. The Raiders made six free throws in the final 45 seconds to seal the victory. The Crusaders shot 50.0 percent for the game, but committed 21 turnovers. Colgate made 46.7 percent of its shots and outrebounded the Crusaders, 37-24, including a 15-6 advantage on the offensive glass. The Raiders were led by Ballard and Meghan Curtin, who both scored 17 points. Caitlin Gillard added 16 and Gretchen Polinski checked in with 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

NEXT TIME OUT: With a win today, Holy Cross will get the second seed in next week's Patriot League Tournament, ensuring the Crusaders home court advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs. A Holy Cross loss and a Bucknell win today would give The Cross the third seed in the tournament and have the team packing for a trip to Bucknell next week. The Bison square up against Army at 4:00 p.m. today in Lewisburg, Pa. Army, which narrowly defeated Bucknell, 66-65, last Saturday, has already captured the league regular season crown and will be the top seed in the tournament while serving and as one of two hosting sites.

SENIOR DAY: Seniors Shannon Bush (Doylestown, Pa.), Jessica Conte (New Canaan, Conn.) and Sarah Placek (Alexandria, Va.) will all be playing in their final regular season home game this afternoon. Over the past four years at Holy Cross, Bush, Conte and Placek have been part of two Patriot League regular season title teams (2002-03; 2004-05), two Patriot League Tournament championship teams (2002-03; 2004-05), and have earned two trips to the NCAA Tournament (2002-03; 2004-05). They have compiled a record of 72-45 (.615) over the course of the past four years.

COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Sarah Placek came into the season with 810 career points and she is now just six points away from being the program's 22nd 1,000 point scorer. Placek scored nine points at Colgate on Tuesday and is currently averaging 7.7 points per game. 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.

MISSING IN ACTION: Junior guard/forward Brittany Keil did not play Tuesday night at Colgate after suffering from flu-like symptoms Monday night into Tuesday. She is expected to play today.

MOVIN' ON UP: With her two assists last Saturday at American, senior guard Sarah Placek took sole possession of the 10th spot on the all-time Holy Cross women's basketball assists list after being in a three-way tie for 10th with Hall of Famer Lauren Maney `96 and Nicole DeQuattro `90 (both had 324 assists) going into the game. Placek now has 326 career assists. Mary Helen Walker `91 holds the ninth spot with 340 assists. Placek is also just six points away from the 1,000th of her career.

DRIBBLES: Holy Cross has shot 50.0 percent or better in two straight games (at Colgate and vs. American), marking the first time all season the team has done so ... The Crusaders set a new season high for field goal percentage in a game after shooting 53.6 percent from the floor against American last Saturday ... HC's previous high in a game this season was 52.3 percent against Memphis in the Wells Fargo Holiday Tournament at Arizona State on Dec. 3 ... Holy Cross' loss to Colgate on Tuesday was just the program's third loss in the history of the series, which began in 1991 (36 total games) ... Tuesday's loss was the team's first this season when scoring 70-79 points ... It was also the team's first loss this season when shooting 50.0 percent or better ... Holy Cross is 0-5 this season when allowing 70-79 points ... With its 15 point win over the Bison on Feb. 11, Holy Cross swept Bucknell in the regular season for the first time in three years ... The Crusaders also swept American and Navy this season ... The Crusaders' 63-57 loss to Army on Feb. 7 was their first home conference loss of the year ... The Cross is 3-3 in February ... HC is 7-1 on Saturdays this year.

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 56-20 (.734) at home over the course of the last six seasons, including its 6-4 mark this season.

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 the Crusaders' Feb. 11 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. Despite having her four-game double-digit scoring streak snapped on Tuesday at Colgate, Aloisi recorded eight points, a game-high five assists, three rebounds and two steals, while playing a game-high 39 minutes against the Raiders. She scored 13 points, going 5-for-10 from the floor, including three triples, and had two rebounds, two assists and a steal at American and scored 11 points, had a game-high five assists, grabbed three rebounds and added two steals against Navy on Feb. 14. Aloisi was coming off an impressive game against Bucknell on Feb. 11, 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 scored eight or more points in five straight games (10 vs. Army; 14 vs. Bucknell; 11 vs. Navy; 13 at American; eight at Colgate), averaging 11.2 points during that span. She has also averaged 4.4 assists and 3.2 rebounds in the last five games. She is leading the team in assists (105 assists) and assists per game (4.20 assists per game) again this season. The second year playmaker now has 224 career assists, after her rookie campaign in which she led the team and finished second in the Patriot League with 119 helpers. Aloisi is ranked second in the Patriot League in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.64; 105 assists, 64 turnovers), and steals (2.12 steals per game), and is third in the conference in assists (4.20 assists 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 on Feb. 9. 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.

FORMIDABLE FOLEY: Junior center Kaitlin Foley has been a stalwart in the paint this season for the Crusaders. She is coming off an 18-point outing at Colgate and has scored in double-figures in nine straight games and in 23 of 26 overall this season. She has averaged 18.0 points and 6.4 rebounds over the last five games. Foley leads the team in points (386 points), points per game (14.8 points per game), field goal percentage (53.6 percent), and blocks (28 blocks). A former Patriot League Player of the Week (Jan. 30), she is second on the team in rebounding (6.0 rebounds per game) and third on the team in steals (41 steals). The six-foot-four center, who only averaged 10.9 minutes and 3.1 points last season, has started all 26 games for the Crusaders this year. She ranks second in the Patriot League in both field goal percentage and blocks, fourth in scoring, sixth in free throw percentage (73.5 percent), eighth in rebounding and is tied for eighth in steals (1.58 steals per game).

SCOUTING THE MOUNTAIN HAWKS: Lehigh comes into today's game after a thrilling 56-55 victory at Bucknell on Tuesday night. The Mountain Hawks (10-16, 5-8 Patriot League) have now won three straight after a seven game skid that spanned from Jan. 18 through Feb. 11. They are 2-9 overall on the road and 2-4 on the road against Patriot League competition this season. The Mountain Hawks are led by six-foot-one senior forward Jenny Callan (Lisle, Ill.), who is putting up double-double figures (15.3 points and 11.1 rebounds) each time out, while also leading the team in blocked shots (13 blocks). Not far behind Callan is five-foot-nine junior guard Sara Ellis (Bellefontaine, Ohio), who is averaging 15.1 points per game and five-foot-nine junior forward Adrienne Blount (Mahopac, N.Y.), who is averaging 13.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Blount also leads the team in steals (48 steals). The team's floor general is five-foot-eight sophomore guard Claire Sullivan (Wallingford, Conn.), who leads the Patriot League with 169 assists (6.5 assists per game). Sullivan also averages 3.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per outing. Starting forward Tricia Smith (Zanesville, Ohio) and reserve Emily Geosits (Emmaus, Pa.) are both averaging better than 5.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. Head coach Sue Troyan is in her 11th season at the helm of the Lehigh women's basketball program. Troyan is 150-160 overall with the Mountain Hawks.

NUMBERS AGAINST LEHIGH: Holy Cross is 4-3 against the Mountain Hawks the last three years, including its 69-63 victory on Jan. 28. Three of those games have been decided by three points or less and five have been decided by nine points or less. Holy Cross is 3-1 at Stabler Arena and 1-2 at the Hart Center against Lehigh the last three seasons. Last season, Holy Cross defeated Lehigh, 71-68 at the Hart Center.

LAST TIME OUT VERSUS LEHIGH: (1/28/06) Junior center Kaitlin Foley poured in a career-high 23 points and junior guard Brittany Keil added 12 points and five rebounds to lead the Holy Cross women's basketball team to a 69-63 win over Lehigh at Stabler Arena. With the win, Holy Cross improved to 9-10 (5-1 Patriot League), while handing Lehigh (7-12, 2-4 Patriot League) its third straight loss at the time. Foley had 13 of her game-high 23 points in the first half and finished the game on 9-of-11 shooting from the floor. Sophomore guard Laura Aloisi turned in a fine performance with seven points, six assists, six rebounds and five steals for the Crusaders. Senior guard Jessica Conte recorded eight points, six rebounds and four assists. Holy Cross went into the break up 29-22 after a first half dominated by runs. The Crusaders jumped out to a quick 12-2 lead in the first five minutes of the half, after hitting 62.5 percent of their shots and holding Lehigh to just one hoop in their first nine attempts. The Mountain Hawks countered with a 5-0 run to get within five (12-7), but Holy Cross responded with a 5-0 run of its own to go up by 10 (17-7). Lehigh would not back down, however, and used a 7-0 run to cut the lead to just three (17-14) with 8:12 to play following a Sara Ellis three-ball from the wing. Holy Cross outscored Lehigh 6-1 over the next two minutes to take a 23-15 lead with 4:51 remaining, but the Mountain Hawks used a 4-0 spurt to get within four (23-19) at the 3:00 mark. The Crusaders put six more points on the board, including an Ashley McLaughlin jumper as time expired to take the seven point lead into the half. The Crusaders shot 41.9 percent from the floor in the first and only turned the ball over four times in the first twenty minutes. Holy Cross drained three three-pointers to open the second stanza, extending its lead to 14 (38-24) in the first 90 seconds of the second half. Lehigh answered with an 11-4 run to cut the lead to seven (42-35) after an Emily Geosits trey from the corner with 13:58 to go. But Keil responded with a three-ball of her own on the ensuing possession to put the Crusaders back up by 10 (45-35) with 13:34 left. The two teams traded hoops and Geosits nailed back-to-back three's as part of a 10-2 Mountain Hawk run which got Lehigh within two (49-47) with 8:20 to go. The Crusaders kept their composure and went on a 7-0 run thanks to five straight points by Bush, and extended the lead to 12 (63-51) following a Conte trey and a Foley rebound and put back with less than five minutes to play. Lehigh made things interesting in the last two minutes after Adrienne Blount scored eight of Lehigh's final 10 points and helped cut the lead to just four (67-63), but the Crusaders were able to hang on down the stretch for the win. Blount led the Mountain Hawks with 20 points and six rebounds. Geosits and Jenny Callan both chipped in with 12 points a piece. The Crusaders shot 43.1 percent for the game and never trailed throughout, while committing a season-low 11 turnovers.

HOLY CROSS VERSUS THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Holy Cross is 174-35 (.832) 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 174-35 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 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.

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 on Feb. 11 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 +0.62 rate (18.5 turnovers to 19.1 opponent turnovers) and assist-to-turnover ratio at an 0.83 clip (15.3 assists to 18.5 turnovers). The Crusaders are 7-5 this season when committing less than 20 turnovers and 6-8 when turning the ball over 20 or more times. In addition, Holy Cross is 9-2 when forcing 20 or more turnovers and 4-11 when forcing less than 20 turnovers.

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 (6.3 rebounds per game) and is seventh in the league in that same category. In addition, she is third on the team in scoring (10.1 points per game) and is fifth in the league in blocked shots (0.72 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: Sophomore guard Laura Aloisi recorded her 100th assist of the season on Feb. 18 at American, marking the second consecutive season she has dished out 100 or more assists. As a freshman, Aloisi registered 119 assists on the year. Aloisi is currently ranked 20th on the all-time Holy Cross assists list (224 career assists). 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.

BUSH LEADS HC CHARGE: Senior guard Shannon Bush tied teammate Kaitlin Foley for game-high honors with 18 points at Colgate on Tuesday. Bush had 10 points in the first stanza and finished the game 6-for-12 from the field, including a 3-for-7 performance from long range. Bush also grabbed five rebounds and recorded two assists and two steals in 29 minutes of action. 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. She is also averaging 3.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.4 steals. The five-foot-11 guard recorded a game-high and a career-high seven assists last Saturday at American, while grabbing seven rebounds. In HC's 15 point win over Bucknell on Feb. 11, Bush pulled down seven rebounds and recorded three steals, two assists and two points. 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. She 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 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 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.

SENIOR LEADERSHIP: Jessica Conte scored in double-figures for the second straight game - the first time she's done so all season - with her 15 point outing at Colgate on Tuesday. Conte was 6-for-9 from the floor and 3-for-4 from three-point range, while also recording three steals and two rebounds, in her fourth straight start and the seventh in the last eight games. Conte was coming off a tremendous all-around game at American with 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals in 27 minutes of action. She leads the team in steals (55 steals), is second on the team in three-pointers made (29 three's), third in rebounding (4.3 rebounds per game), and is currently fourth on the team in scoring with an 8.2 points per game average. Conte had a stellar performance against Navy with a game-high and a career-high nine rebounds, to go along with eight points, three steals and two assists. She had seven rebounds, six points, two assists and two steals in 32 minutes of action against Bucknell on Feb. 11 and 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. She registered eight points and five rebounds at Lafayette on Feb. 4, and 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. She 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, she was 4-for-5 from long range and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. 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. She 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.

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 then-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: Sarah Placek moved into the Top 10 on the Holy Cross women's basketball career assists list with her two helpers at American on Feb. 18 ... Shannon Bush recorded a career-high seven assists at American ... Laura Aloisi reached the 100 assist mark for the second consecutive season ... Jessica Conte ripped down a career-high nine rebounds against Navy ... Ashley McLaughlin scored a season-high 11 points against Navy ... Aloisi scored a season-high 14 points against Bucknell ... 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 ... Kathy Gruzynski had a career-high two blocks against Colgate ... Keil recorded her fifth career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds 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 recorded the second double-double of her career (14 points, 10 rebounds) at Army ... 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 ... 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.

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 26 games, Holy Cross is 9-2 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 (0.83), averaging 15.3 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 1.64 ratio (105 assists to 64 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 73.5 percent of her attempts. As a team, Holy Cross ranks fourth in the conference in free throw percentage (67.7 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 (28.3 percent), are second in the league in steals (10.69 steals per game) and blocked shots (2.62 blocks per game), and are third in scoring defense (63.5 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 19 out of 26 games this season, and is in last place in the conference with a -6.7 rebounding margin this year. The Crusaders are 5-2 when outrebounding opponents and are below the .500 mark (8-11) when their opponents grab more caroms. Holy Cross has been outrebounded 1091-917 overall this season, including a 392-297 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, 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.

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.