HC Squares Up With Lafayette In Quarterfinals

March 1, 2005

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Patriot League Tournament Central


Date: Thursday, March 3, 2005
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST
Location: Worcester, Mass.
Arena: Hart Center
Capacity: 3, 700
Team Records:
Lafayette 5-22 (3-11 Patriot League)
Holy Cross 17-10 (12-2 Patriot League)

Series History: Holy Cross, 34-5
Last Meeting: Holy Cross, 68-62 (February 11)
Streak: Holy Cross, 18

Broadcast Information:
Television: College Sports Television (CSTV)
Talent: Bob Socci, Leah Secondo
Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Holy Cross student station
Internet: www.sportsjuice.com
Talent: Bob Fouracre

Tonight's game is the 40th all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Lafayette in the 30 seasons of varsity basketball at HC.

The Series: Holy Cross owns a 34-5 series advantage over Lafayette, and is 16-1 when playing the Leopards at the Hart Center. The Crusaders have won 18 straight against the Lafayette, including four wins in Patriot League Tournament play.

Holy Cross vs. Lafayette in the Tournament: Holy Cross is 27-4 all-time in Patriot League post-season play, and has won nine Championship titles. Of those 27 wins, six have come against Lafayette:

 1990-91 HC, 77-67
1995-96 HC, 80-55
1998-99 HC, 86-69
1999-00 HC, 77-52
2001-02 HC, 71-48
2002-03 HC, 80-60

In addition, two of HC's four losses in PL tournament play have also come against Lafayette:

 1991-92 LAFAYETTE, 59-42
1996-1997 LAFAYETTE, 76-60

Home Cookin': Holy Cross is 7-0 at home this year against Patriot League opponents, and is 14-1 all-time in Patriot League Tournament games played at the Hart Center.

 Probable Starters:
G - #10 Sarah Placek, Jr., 5-3, 8.5 ppg, 2.7 apg, Conference: 6.0 ppg, 2.6 apg
G - #05 Laura Aloisi, Fr., 5-9, 3.3 ppg, 4.3 apg, Conference: 3.1 ppg, 3.8 apg
G - #34 Maggie Fontana, Sr., 5-11, 10.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, Conference: 13.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg
F - #33 Brittany Keil, So., 6-2, 10.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, Conference: 11.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg
C - #00 Lisa Andrews, Sr., 6-3, 12.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, Conference: 15.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg

G - #23 Jessica Conte, Jr., 5-7, 7.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, Conference: 6.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg
G - #15 Shannon Bush, Jr., 5-11, 5.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg, Conference: 5.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg
F - #13 Ashley McLaughlin, Fr., 6-1, 4.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, Conference: 2.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg
F - #52 Kaitlin Foley, So., 6-4, 2.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg, Conference: 2.7 ppg, 1.1 rpg
G - #11 Caitlin Agostinacchio, Sr., 5-9, 1.5 ppg, 1.4 rpg, Conference: 1.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg
C - #31 Ashley Brennan-McBride, So., 6-5, 1.9 ppg, 0.5 rpg, Conference, 2.3 ppg, 0.2 rpg

Holy Cross Captures 11th League Title: Holy Cross claimed its 11th all-time Patriot League regular season title last week after finishing the 2004-2005 regular season campaign with a 12-2 conference record. The last time Holy Cross won the regular season title was during the 2002-2003 season when the Crusaders went 24-8, won the PL Tournament, and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Home Is Where the Hart Is: HC 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, and is 7-0 this season when playing Patriot League opponents on the Hart Center floor.

2004-2005 All-League Teams Announced: Four players from Holy Cross were recognized on this year's All-League squad as announced by conference officials on Tuesday. Seniors Lisa Andrews and Maggie Fontana earned First Team All-League accolades, while freshmen Laura Aloisi and Ashley McLaughlin were named to the All-Rookie Team. Holy Cross was the only school with four players selected. Lehigh, Army and Bucknell had three players each.

2004-2005 Women's Basketball All-Patriot League Teams:
First Team:
Lisa Andrews, Holy Cross
Joanna Barnes, American
Emily Braseth, Colgate
Jessica DePalo, Lehigh
Maggie Fontana, Holy Cross

Second Team:
Nikki Curtis, Navy
Sara Ellis, Lehigh
Cara Enright, Army
Shavonne Holden, Army
Lindsey Hollobaugh, Bucknell
Mary Frances Hynoski, Lehigh

All-Rookie Team:
Laura Aloisi, Holy Cross
Kesha Champion, Bucknell
Cara Enright, Army
Hope Foster, Bucknell
Ashley McLaughlin, Holy Cross
Vanessa Van De Venter, Lafayette

Player of the Year: Jessica DePalo, Lehigh
Defensive Player of the Year: Megan Ballard, Colgate
Rookie of the Year: Cara Enright, Army
Coach of the Year: Sue Troyan, Lehigh

Foley Impressive In Win: Sophomore center Kaitlin Foley (Albany, N.Y.) posted a season-high 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field Saturday at Army. The 6-foot-4 New York native was also 1-for-1 at the free throw line, grabbed a rebound, had an assist and came up with a steal to cap off her stellar afternoon.

Second-Half Spurt: Brittany Keil scored all of her team-high 16 points after intermission, to help propel Holy Cross to a 74-61 win over Army on Saturday. Keil was held scoreless in the first 20 minutes of play after going 0-for-2 from the field, but opened the second stanza with a deep jumper and nailed back-to-back treys later in the half. The 6-foot-2 guard also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and recorded a career-high four blocks to go along with three steals.

This Time Out: The Crusaders and Leopards will battle it out to keep their season alive in tonight's quarterfinal match-up. Holy Cross finished the season with a 17-10 overall mark, and is 9-3 at home this year (7-0 vs. PL teams). HC has a 10-7 record when they play at night, 1-2 when playing on Wednesdays, and is 1-1 when its games are televised (68-64 loss to Northeastern on WCTR-TV 3; 80-74 win over Colgate on CSTV). The Crusaders are 5-2 in February thus far. Lafayette is currently 5-22 overall and 3-11 in conference play, giving it the #8 seed in the tournament.

Holy Cross Hangs On For 68-62 Win Over Lafayette: The last time Holy Cross and Lafayette met, the Crusaders held on to defeat the Leopards, 68-62 on February 11 at Kirby FieldHouse. Maggie Fontana finished with 18 points tying for game-high honors, and went 7-for-8 from the free throw line, ending her consecutive free throw streak at 33, one shy of tying a Patriot League record. Lisa Andrews scored 15 points and Brittany Keil added 12 for the Crusaders, who recorded their tenth straight win at the time. HC went into the half with a 15 point advantage (36-21) and was up by as much as 18 early in the second half, but the Leopards chipped away at the lead and got within seven 9:36 to go. The Crusaders were able to stave off the Leopards' rally, however, and did not allow Lafayette to get closer than five points the rest of the way. Lafayette was led by Lindsay Myers' 18 points. Kara Stetler added 14 points, and Vanessa Van De Venter chipped in 10. Brianne Welte had a team-high eight rebounds.

Last Time Out: The Crusaders dominated from start to finish, cruising to a 74-61 win over Army on Saturday. HC started the game on a 12-3 run and never looked back, building a seven point lead (36-29) at the half. Brittany Keil scored a team-high 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds, tallied three steals and rejected four shots to lead the Crusaders. Lisa Andrews added 14 points and six rebounds, Maggie Fontana tallied 13 points and a season-high six assists, and Kaitlin Foley contributed a season-high 11 points for the Purple and White. HC shot 47.5% for the game, while holding the Black Knights to 39%.

Next Time Out: The Patriot League tournament continues with a 1:00 semifinal game on Saturday, March 6. The winner of the 4 vs. 5 game will face the winner of the 1 vs. 8 game.

Scouting The Leopards: Lafayette (5-22) ended its regular season with a 74-43 loss to Lehigh on Saturday afternoon. The Leopards are led by 5-foot-8 senior guard Lindsay Meyers (Allentown, Pa.) who is averaging 10.1 ppg, leads the team in assists (81), and is second on the team in both rebounding (5.3 rpg) and blocks (16). Six-foot freshman forward Vanessa Van De Venter (Tannersville, Pa.) is the team's leading rebounder pulling down 5.4 rpg and is second on the team in scoring at a 9.3 ppg clip. Six-foot-one senior center Brianne Welte (Owosso, Mich.) leads the team in blocked shots with 24 so far this season.

Holy Cross in Patriot League Play: Holy Cross finished the regular season with a 12-2 conference mark after a 74-61 win at Army on Saturday. Twentieth-year head coach Bill Gibbons has compiled a 165-31 (.841) record in Patriot League play, including HC's 12-2 mark this year. Gibbons also has six Patriot League Coach of the Year awards and has led his teams to 11 regular season titles, including this year's, and nine championship titles.

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

Unchartered Territory: Last week's loss to Bucknell marked the first time all season long that Holy Cross outrebounded its opponent and lost. The Crusaders had been a perfect 8-0 in games when they grabbed more boards than their opponents, but despite pulling down two more rebounds than Bucknell (43-41), the Bison came out on top. The 72-71 loss also marked the first time this year that HC scored 70+ points and lost. The Crusaders had been 6-0 in games where they put up more than 70 points prior to last Wednesday's defeat.

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 14-2 when they force 20+ turnovers. HC In The National Rankings: According to the latest release (Feb. 21), Holy Cross is ranked in the Top 25 nationally in assists per game at 16.7. Leading the nation in assists per game is DePaul (20.0), one of the Crusaders opponents earlier this year. HC is also ranked in the Top 50 in two other categories. The Purple and White are 37th free throw percent (73.8%) behind national leader Idaho State (79.0) and are 47th in steals per game (10.8) behind national leader North Carolina at 14.5.

Gibbons Gets No. 410: Holy Cross head coach Bill Gibbons continues to move up the history charts, having picked up his 410th career win last Saturday after a 74-61 win over Army. 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.

Andrews, Keil Named ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America: Lisa Andrews and Brittany Keil were named to the 2005 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Women's Basketball District I Team (Feb.17). 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.

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 Sixth Slot: Maggie Fontana moved into sixth place on Holy Cross' all-time rebounding list last week. The Illinois native now has 740 rebounds and leads the team in rebounding with 5.4 per outing. Phyllis Townsend (`84) and Norinne Powers (`93) occupy the fifth slot with 762 boards.

Hot Hands: 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 Crusaders' best shooting performance of the year was 61.4% against Iona in November. HC also shot better than 54% against Colgate on February 19 and converted on 51.7% of its shots versus Army on January 12.

Getting To The Line: The Crusaders are tops among PL teams (all games and conference games) in team free throw percent, and boast an 12-2 record when they record more free throw attempts than their opponents. The Crusaders' 21 made free throws against Bucknell last Wednesday tied a season high (Colgate, 2/19/05) for The Cross. HC's 87% (20-for-23) performance from the line against American (2/6/05) 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 45.1% (32 for 71) from behind the arc and junior Jessica Conte ranks sixth at 35.4% (28 for 79).

From the Charity Stripe: Holy Cross ranks first from the foul line, shooting a League-best 75.4% (conference games only) and 74.4% across all games. Maggie Fontana is second in the Patriot League at 85.9% (55-for-64) and leads the team with an 80.8% rate (84-for-104). Lisa Andrews is ranked third in foul shooting in Patriot League games, shooting an impressive 81.8% (36-for-44). Andrews is second on the team in that same category, converting better than 80% (65-for-81) of her foul shots. Through 27 games, Crusader players have made good on 348 of 468 attempts.

Block Party: Lisa Andrews is currently ranked second in blocked shots in overall games among PL players. She is also third in PL games in the same category. The 6-foot-4 center has turned away a team-leading 44 shots so far this season. Andrews is averaging 1.61 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 8-1 when outrebounding their opponents, and are 9-9 when their opponents win the battle of the boards. The Crusaders have been outrebounded in 18 of 27 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 1,054 for her career.

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: Maggie Fontana is moving up in a number of all-time Holy Cross statistics lists. Fontana is currently ranked ninth in scoring with 1,514 points. She is currently ranked third in steals with 243, and she is ranked sixth in rebounds (740). Fontana is also steadily climbing the all-time Patriot League charts in a number of categories. She is currently ranked 11th in assists (408), 11th in rebounds (740), and 13th in points (1,514). 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 190 blocks, four 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. In addition to her 18-point, 14-rebound performance against Bucknell on February 23, Fontana also tallied 10 points and 10 boards in a one-point loss to UAB on November 26.

2004-2005 Weekly Honors: Jessica Conte earned her first career Patriot League Player of the Week award (Feb. 21) after coming off the bench to pump in a team-high and a career-high 18 points against Colgate (Feb.19). 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 has earned two Player of the Week awards (January 17, November 22) and Laura Aloisi was named Rookie of the Week (Nov. 29) after her performances in the Iona (six assists, three steals), UAB (career-high 14 points), and UMass games (career-high 11 assists).

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 410-182 in his 20th year as head coach. The sixth coach of the women's program at Holy Cross, he has enjoyed the longest tenure in this position. With his 358th victory, he surpassed George Blaney (357) to become the school's all-time winningest coach in basketball history. In 2003, Gibbons was inducted into the New England College Basketball Hall of Fame at the University of Rhode Island.

Career Record: 410-182
Patriot League Record: 165-31
Years: 20
Record at School: Same

Where To Find Holy Cross Women's Basketball:
On Television: College Sports Television (CSTV) will broadcast tonight's Patriot League Quarterfinals. Bob Socci and Leah Secondo will bring you the game live from the Hart Center floor. CSTV will also broadcast the March 9 Patriot League Championship game, which will be held at the highest remaining seed. Throughout the Worcester area, CSTV is channel 318 on Charter Cable.

On the Radio: Tonight's quarterfinal game against #8 Lafayette will be broadcast live on WCHC 88.1 FM, the Holy Cross student station.

On the Internet: Tonight's game will also be broadcast live on www.sportsjuice.com.
Bob Fouracre will bring you all the play-by-play action. In addition, 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.

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.