Women's Basketball Set To Face Bucknell In Semifinal Action
March 3, 2006
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
GAME #29 vs. #3 BUCKNELL
PATRIOT LEAGUE SEMIFINALS
#3 Bucknell (18-10, 10-4 Patriot League)
#2 Holy Cross (15-13, 10-4 Patriot League)
Date: March 4, 2006
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600)
Location: Worcester, Mass.
Radio: WTAG 580 AM
Talent: Bob Fouracre, play by play; Jeremy Lechan, color
Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, the Holy Cross student station
Series History: 39th meeting; Holy Cross leads 30-8
Last Meeting: Holy Cross, 56-41 (Feb. 11, 2006 - Worcester, Mass.)
Series Streak: Holy Cross - 2
PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS: Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG G 5 Laura Aloisi 5-9 So. 6.1 4.2 apg G 23 Jessica Conte 5-8 Sr. 8.4 4.4 G 33 Brittany Keil 6-2 Jr. 10.5 6.3 F 13 A. McLaughlin 6-1 So. 3.6 3.6 C 52 Kaitlin Foley 6-4 Jr. 14.9 5.9
Saturday's game will be the 39th all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Bucknell in the 31 year history of varsity basketball at Holy Cross, and the seventh Patriot League Tournament match-up between the two schools.
THE SERIES: Holy Cross is 30-8 all-time against Bucknell, including a 4-2 mark when playing the Bison in the Patriot League Tournament. Holy Cross is on a two-game winning streak against Bucknell after sweeping the series this season with its Jan. 14, 67-63 overtime win in Lewisburg and its 56-41 victory in Worcester just last month. The two teams are, however, 3-3 against each other in the last six meetings and 1-1 against each other in tournament play dating back to the 2003 season. The Crusaders are 16-2 when playing the Bison on the Hart Center floor and are 3-1 when playing the Bison at the Hart Center in tournament action. Holy Cross is 31-5 all-time in the Patriot League Tournament, with two of those five losses coming at the hands of Bucknell (2002 championship game; 2004 quarterfinals).
THIS TIME OUT: Holy Cross is coming off a hard-fought 57-49 win over seventh-seeded American on Thursday night, while Bucknell defeated sixth-seeded Lehigh, 64-54 in the first quarterfinal game. Bucknell has won two of its last three and is 8-5 on the road this season Holy Cross is 5-1 in its last six games and 5-1 in its last six home games. The Cross is 8-4 at home overall this season, and finished conference play with a 6-1 mark at the Hart Center. 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 (#2 Duke; #7 UConn; #25 Boston College) or Top 25-caliber (Virginia; Western Kentucky) teams.
HOLY CROSS IN THE TOURNAMENT: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 31-5 in the Patriot League Tournament since it began in 1991. The Crusaders own 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, which won two. Holy Cross is 18-1 overall when playing Patriot League Tournament games on the Hart Center floor. The Crusaders have won all 10 of their tournament titles in Worcester, Mass. The Crusaders are 6-1 all-time in the Patriot League Tournament as the No.2 seed and have won one championship. Their lone loss as the No. 2 seed came against No. 1 Fordham in the 1994 title game.
LAST TIME OUT: Junior guard Brittany Keil scored a career-high 20 points and junior center Kaitlin Foley added 12 to lead the Holy Cross women's basketball team to a 57-49 win over seventh-seeded American on Thursday night in Patriot League quarterfinal action at the Hart Center. The second-seeded Crusaders improved to 15-13 overal, while the Eagles finished their season at 7-21 overall. Keil had nine of her game-high 20 points in the first half and finished the game 7-for-10 from the floor and 5-for-5 from the free throw line. She also grabbed eight rebounds and had three steals. Sophomore guard Laura Aloisi totaled nine points, five rebounds and three assists, while senior guard Jessica Conte added nine points, six rebounds, a game-high six steals and two assists. American took a 29-24 lead into the break after starting the game shooting better than 60 percent from the field. The Eagles jumped out to a 13-6 lead in the first seven minutes of play and extended their lead to 10 (29-19) with 3:24 on the clock following a Talicia Jackson triple. But the Crusaders fought back and scored the final five points of the half - on a Keil trey and jumper - to cut the deficit to five at intermission. The Eagles shot 44 percent from the floor in the first, while Holy Cross shot 42.3 percent. Each team committed nine turnovers. Holy Cross came out in the second and scored the first six points of the half to take its first lead (30-29) since the 18:53 mark in the first. Conte got the home team going with a drive to the hoop at the 17:49 mark to get Holy Cross within three (29-26) and then came up with a steal and a fast break lay-in on the ensuing American possession to cut the lead to one (29-28). Just two minutes later, the Crusaders began what would be a 9-2 run which put them up, 39-35, at the 11:33 mark after an Aloisi three-pointer and a Shannon Bush steal and hoop on the other end. Nicole Ryan scored four straight points for the Eagles to tie things up at 39-39 with 10:03 remaining, but Holy Cross responded with a 12-4 run to take a 51-43 lead with 2:41 left. Aloisi then knocked down four free throws in the final 1:46 to seal the win. Holy Cross shot 41.2 percent from the floor, while holding American to 38.5 percent. The Crusaders also forced 20 Eagle turnovers and committed just nine fouls for the game. American was 4-for-7 from the free throw line, which tied a Patriot League Tournament record for fewest free throws made in a game, dating back to 2001. American was led by Jackson's 14 points. Ryan finished the night with 12 points and a team-high five steals. Tish Curry pulled down a game-high nine rebounds for the Eagles.
NEXT TIME OUT: The Patriot League women's basketball championship game will tip-off at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8 at the site of the highest remaining seed. The winner of today's Holy Cross versus Bucknell game will face the winner of today's Army versus Colgate game, which is being played at Christl Arena in West Point, N.Y.
PROGRAM PROPS: With Thursday's victory over American, the Crusaders picked up program's its 300th win at the Hart Center. The milestone includes victories from the program's time at the Division I, II and III levels. Holy Cross is now 300-80 (.789) 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 14-1 mark (.933) during the 1999-00 season. Last year, the Crusaders went 12-3 at the Hart Center. Holy Cross has posted a record of 58-20 (.744) at home over the course of the last six seasons, including its 8-4 mark this season. The program is 261-57 (.821) at the Hart Center since beginning Division I play in 1982.
PLACEK JOINS HOLY CROSS ELITE: Five-foot-three senior guard Sarah Placek became the 22nd player in Holy Cross women's basketball history to score 1,000 career points, after she scored six points against Lehigh last Saturday. Placek came into the season with 810 career points and needed just six points to reach the milestone. She scored her 999th and 1,000th points at the free throw line with 3:36 remaining in the game. Placek's achievement marks 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 is also 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.
SENIOR DAY: Seniors Shannon Bush (Doylestown, Pa.), Jessica Conte (New Canaan, Conn.) and Sarah Placek (Alexandria, Va.) all played in their final regular season home game last Saturday against Lehigh. 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 73-45 (.618) over the course of the past four years.
FOLEY, KEIL NAMED ALL-LEAGUE: Holy Cross junior center Kaitlin Foley (Albany, N.Y.) and junior guard/forward Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) were named to the 2006 Patriot League All-Conference Team as announced by conference officials on Tuesday. Foley earned her first career award with her selection to the All-Patriot League First Team, while Keil's selection to the Second Team was her second career award (2004 All-Rookie Team).
MOVIN' ON UP: Senior guard Sarah Placek has taken sole possession of the 10th spot on the all-time Holy Cross women's basketball assists list after passing Hall of Famer Lauren Maney `96 and Nicole DeQuattro `90 (both had 324 assists) in the Crusaders' Feb. 18 game at American. Placek now has 327 career assists. Mary Helen Walker `91 holds the ninth spot with 340 assists. Additionally, Placek is just one steal away from occupying the 11th spot in program history for steals. Going into today's game, Placek has 179 career steals, while Karen Grutchfield `85 is currently 11th on the all-time list with 179 steals.
HOT HANDS: Prior to Thursday's 41.2 team field goal percentage, Holy Cross had converted on 50.0 percent or more of its field goal attempts in three straight games (vs. Lehigh, at Colgate and vs. American), marking the first time all season the team has done so. The Crusaders shot a season-best 60.9 percent (14-for-23) from the floor in the first half against Lehigh last Saturday, just two games after setting a new season high for field goal percentage in a game (53.6 percent) against American on Feb. 18. Holy Cross' 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. The team's previous high in a half this season was 56.5 percent (13-for-23) against URI on December 7.
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 last 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 tied a career-high in minutes played (39) against American in the quarterfinals on Thursday, while totaling nine points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal in helping lead the Crusaders to victory. Aloisi has scored eight or more points in six of the last seven games (10 vs. Army; 14 vs. Bucknell; 11 vs. Navy; 13 at American; eight at Colgate; three vs. Lehigh; nine vs. American), averaging 9.7 points during that span. She has also averaged 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds in the last seven games. She is leading the team in assists (113 assists) and assists per game (4.19 assists per game) again this season. The second year playmaker now has 232 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 (1.61; 113 assists, 70 turnovers), and steals (2.04 steals per game), and is third in the conference in assists (4.19 assists per game). 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.
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.
FORMIDABLE FOLEY: Junior center Kaitlin Foley has been a stalwart in the paint this season for the Crusaders. She has scored in double-figures in 11 straight games and in 25 of 28 overall this season. She has averaged 18.0 points and 4.25 rebounds over the last four games. Foley leads Holy Cross in points (418), points per game (14.9 points per game), blocks (31 blocks), field goal percentage (53.7 percent), minutes played (887 minutes) and minutes per game (31.7 minutes per game). She is second on the team in rebounding (5.9 rebounds per game), and is fourth 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 28 games for the Crusaders this year. She ranks second in the Patriot League in both field goal percentage and blocks, fourth in scoring and free throw percentage (73.9 percent), ninth in rebounding and 12th in steals (1.46 steals per game). In Patriot League contests, Foley finished the season as the League's leading scorer with 15.9 points per game and was second in field goal percentage (.542).
NUMBERS AGAINST BUCKNELL: Holy Cross is 7-3 against the Bison in the last three years, including its two victories this season. The Crusaders are 3-1 against the Bison at the Hart Center the last three seasons and are 3-2 in their last five meetings with them.
SCOUTING THE BISON: Bucknell comes into today's game after a 64-54 win over Lehigh in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament on Thursday night. The Bison have won two of their last three and three of their last five. Bucknell is 8-5 away from home this season and was 5-2 on the road against conference opponents this year. The Bison have three players averaging double-figures this season, led by junior guard Lindsey Hollobaugh (Loganton, Pa.) and freshman forward Lauren Schober (Chicago, Ill.), who are both putting up 10.3 points per game. Not far behind is six-foot-two sophomore center Hope Foster (Washington, D.C.), who is averaging 10.0 points per game, while leading the team in rebounding (9.1 rebounds per game) and blocks (93 blocks). Five-foot-six guard Amanda Brown (Richardson, Texas) is scoring 9.9 points per game and is one of the team's top playmakers with 74 assists. Sophomore guard Kesha Champion also has impressive numbers with 9.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, to go along with 82 assists, which lead the team. Head Coach Kathy Fedorjaka is in her ninth season at the helm of the Bucknell women's basketball program and her 13th season overall as a head coach. She is 137-118 (.559) as head coach of the Bison.
LAST TIME OUT VERSUS BUCKNELL: (2/11/06) Junior guard Brittany Keil scored a game-high 16 points and sophomore guard Laura Aloisi added 14 points and a team-high six assists to lead the Holy Cross women's basketball team to a 56-41 win over Bucknell at the Hart Center. With the win, Holy Cross snapped a two-game skid and improved to 11-12 (7-3 Patriot League), while ending a seven-game winning streak for the Bison (15-8, 8-2 Patriot League) at the time, and sweeping the season series. Junior center Kaitlin Foley added 12 points and grabbed a team-high nine boards. Keil had all 16 points at the half, while Foley had 10 points and five rebounds at the break. Holy Cross went into the half with a 32-15 advantage, after holding the Bison to just 18.8 percent shooting in the first. The Crusaders jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first seven minutes, as the Bison struggled offensively, starting the game 0-for-13 from the floor. The Crusaders had a 16-5 lead at the ten-minute mark following a Keil jumper from the corner, and extended its lead to 13 points (26-13) with 2:05 on the clock. Holy Cross led by as much as 19 in the first (32-13) just before the intermission. The Bison opened the second half with a vengeance, scoring six points in the first seventy-six seconds, to go along with two steals, while cutting the lead to 11 (32-21). But an Aloisi triple at the 15:36 mark put the Crusaders up by 14 (37-23). The Bison cut the lead to 10 (37-27) with 14:26 remaining, but the Crusaders would not back down, and took a 16 point lead (44-28) after an Aloisi drive to the basket with 9:10 remaining. Holy Cross then extended its lead to 17 (49-32) following a Jessica Conte three-ball with 6:16 on the clock, sealing the game. Bucknell came within 11 with 1:18 to go, but would not get any closer. Holy Cross shot 40 percent for the game and held the Bison to just 23.1 percent from the floor, while outrebounding them 43-42 for the game. Lauren Schober led the Bison with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Kesha Champion added 10 points and five rebounds.
HOLY CROSS VERSUS THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Holy Cross is 176-35 (.834) in Patriot League play since its inception and is 107-10 (.914) when playing league opponents on the Hart Center floor, including its 5-1 mark this year. Under Bill Gibbons, Holy Cross is also 176-35 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.
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 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 poured in a career-high 20 points after going 7-for-10 from the field and 5-for-5 from the free throw line to lead Holy Cross over American in the quarterfinal round on Thursday night. Keil also grabbed a team-high eight boards and added three steals, after totaling 10 points, five assists, three rebounds and a game-high three blocks on last Saturday against Lehigh. 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 second on the team in scoring (10.5 points per game) and is fifth in the league in blocked shots (0.78 blocks per game). Keil has a team-leading six double-doubles, which stands as second most in the conference this season. She 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. 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 (229 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 dished out a career-high eight assists on Thursday to go along with five points, four rebounds and four steals. Going into the Patriot League Tournament, Bush had averaged 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in her two prior outings. Bush is currently third 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, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals. Bush tied teammate Kaitlin Foley for game-high honors with 18 points at Colgate on Feb. 21. She 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. She also grabbed five rebounds and recorded two assists and two steals in 29 minutes of action. The five-foot-11 guard recorded a game-high and a career-high seven assists at American on Feb. 18, 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 narrowly missed scoring in double-figures for the fourth straight game with her nine-point outing on Thursday against American. Despite having her double-digit streak broken, however, Conte came up with a game-high six steals, to go along with six rebounds and two assists in HC's quarterfinal victory. Conte scored 11 points against Lehigh and was 6-for-9 from the floor and 3-for-4 from three-point range as she totaled 15 points at Colgate. She 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 on Feb. 18. Conte leads the team in steals (61 steals), is second on the team in three-pointers made (33 three's), third in rebounding (4.4 rebounds per game), and is fourth on the team in scoring with an 8.4 points per game average. She 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.
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.
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: Brittany Keil scored a career-high 20 points against American in the Patriot League quarterfinals ... Shannon Bush dished out a career-high eight assists against American in the Patriot League quarterfinals ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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.) tied a career-high with five points against Lehigh last Saturday. She 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. 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. She 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. She 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 28 games, Holy Cross is 10-2 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 (0.84), averaging 15.4 assists per game and 18.2 turnovers per game. Guard Laura Aloisi ranks second in the Patriot League in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 1.61 ratio (113 assists to 70 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 42-for-52 from the line (80.8 percent), which is second on the team behind Shannon Bush (53-for-64; 82.8 percent).
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 fourth, making 73.9 percent of her attempts. As a team, Holy Cross ranks fourth in the conference in free throw percentage (67.8 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 both three-point field goal percentage defense (28.6 percent) and steals (10.68 steals per game), are second in blocked shots (2.68 blocks per game), and are third in scoring defense (63.0 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, Lafayette (Jan. 7) to 27.3 percent from the floor, and Bucknell (Feb. 11) to a season-low 23.1 percent from the floor.
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: Holy Cross has been outrebounded in 21 out of 28 games this season, and is in last place in the conference with a -6.4 rebounding margin this year. The Crusaders are 5-2 when outrebounding opponents and are below the .500 mark (10-11) when their opponents grab more caroms. Holy Cross has been outrebounded 1158-978 overall this season, including a 413-310 disadvantage on the offensive glass.
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.