Women's Basketball Opens Patriot League Tournament Against Army

March 4, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
Event: Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinals
The Teams: Holy Cross (13-16, 8-6 PL) vs. Army (18-11, 8-6 PL)
Date: March 7, 2009
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Place: Stabler Arena (5,600), Bethlehem, Pa.
Live Video Streaming: Crusader All-Access
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; www.worcesterpike.com, internet; Dick Lutsk, play-by-play
Army Radio: WBNR, 1260 AM, Beacon, N.Y.; WLNA 1420 AM, Peekskill, N.Y.; Rich DeMarco, play-by-play; Bob Beretta, color
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 28-14
Last Meeting: Army 63, Holy Cross 62 (February 11, 2009; West Point, N.Y.)

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos.  No.  Name                      Ht.     Cl.    PPG    RPG
F      33    Whitney Fremeau     5-10  So.    8.2     4.7
F      10    Alyssa May              6-0    So.    4.9     4.5
C     30     Elizabeth Campbell  6-3    So.    6.8     4.2
G     14     Briana McFadden     5-10   Jr.    15.3    4.6
G     44     Bethany O'Dell        5-8     Jr.    12.5    4.0

THE SERIES WITH ARMY: This will be the 43rd meeting between the Crusaders and the Black Knights on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series, 28-14. Last time out, Army edged the Crusaders, 63-62, in West Point, N.Y. on Feb. 11. In the first meeting of the season,  Holy Cross ended a seven-game losing streak to Army, posting a 57-41 victory in Worcester on Jan. 14. For games played in the Patriot League tournament, Holy Cross leads, 3-1. The last time the teams met in the tournament was in the championship game on March 8, 2006 with Army winning, 69-68, at Christl Arena in West Point, N.Y.  The Crusaders’ last win in the post season against the Black Knights was in Worcester on March 12, 2003, picking up a 78-65 victory in the championship game.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 28-14
Bill Gibbons vs. Army: 28-14
Dave Magarity vs. Holy Cross: 5-1
Current Win Streak: Army, one game
Patriot League Tournament: Holy Cross leads, 3-1

HOLY CROSS PREPARED FOR 2009 LEAGUE TOURNAMENT: The Crusaders begin play in the 2009 Patriot League tournament on Saturday, March 7, when they play Army in the quarterfinals at 2:30 p.m. Holy Cross is the fourth seed in the tournament, while the Black Knights are seeded fifth. The winner of the Holy Cross-Army game will move on to face the Lehigh-Colgate winner in the semifinals on Sunday, March 8, with the championship game set for Wednesday, March 11. This year’s Patriot League tournament is being hosted by Lehigh at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, Pa.

MCFADDEN, O’DELL RECEIVE ALL-LEAGUE HONORS: Briana McFadden has been named to the 2008-2009 All-Patriot League first team in women’s basketball, as voted upon by the conference’s head coaches. In addition, Bethany O’Dell was named to the All-Patriot League second team. This is the second first team honor for McFadden and the third time O’Dell has made the second team. McFadden started in all 29 games of the regular season, averaging 15.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, a team-high 2.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. She led the Crusaders in scoring in 17 games, including six games in which she scored 20 points or more. McFadden’s scoring efforts this season were also highlighted by her reaching the 1,000 point milestone on Jan. 14 against Army. With 1,180 points on her career, McFadden is currently ranked 14th all-time in scoring at Holy Cross. Shooting 80.2% from the free-throw line (142-177), McFadden’s success at the line currently ranks her sixth in career free throws made with 363 and seventh in attempts (452) at Holy Cross. She also has had success from long range, adding her name to the career lists in three-point field goals made (143) and attempts (464), ranking fifth on both lists. O’Dell averaged 12.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and a team-high 1.5 steals in her 27 starts this season. She broke the school career records for most three-point field goals made and three-point field goals attempted. With 215 shots made on her career, O’Dell is fourth in the Patriot League career list and is the only active player on the list. Leading the team in scoring in six games, O’Dell also scored her 1,000 point this season, reaching the milestone against Lafayette on Feb. 7. With 1,097 points on her career, she currently ranks 19th all-time at Holy Cross.

THE TOURNAMENT SEEDINGS: Holy Cross will be the No. 4 seed in the 2009 Patriot League Championship.  This season marks the second time the Crusaders have finished the regular season as the fourth seed in the tournament. Throughout its history in the Patriot League, Holy Cross has finished the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament 11 times (8-3), four as the second seed (2-2), third twice (0-2), and fourth seed once (0-1).  The Crusaders have never finished lower than fourth seed in their 18 years in the Patriot League.  Holy Cross is the only team in the Patriot League that has never seeded lower than fourth for the tournament.  The Crusaders have an all-time record of 4-8 in the Patriot League Tournament when it has been seeded lower than its opponent.  Holy Cross fell to Bucknell, 57-45, in the championship game last year on March 12, 2008.

GIBBONS REACHES 200 WINS IN LEAGUE: On Feb. 25 versus Colgate, head coach Bill Gibbons recorded his 200th Patriot League regular season win at the Hart Center in Worcester. He is the first coach in women’s basketball league history to collect 200 wins in Patriot League play. Gibbons is currently the winningest coach in league history, coaching Holy Cross in all 18 years in the Patriot League.

HC MAKES NCAA LISTS: The charity stripe lands Holy Cross on the NCAA team list for free throw percentage through games of March 2., ranking 40th with 73.7%. Bethany O’Dell’s success from beyond the arc ranks her 42nd on the individual list for three-point field goals made, averaging 2.4 per game.

SPARK FROM BEYOND THE ARC: Three-point range has always been a strength for Holy Cross and this year not much hasn’t changed for Bethany O’Dell. Her current career records say it all as she broke the women’s basketball school record on Jan. 7 for three-point field goals made, sinking her 180th career shot from long range, surpassing Jeanette Paukert (1998-2002), who finished her career with 179. O’Dell also grabbed the top spot at Holy Cross in three-point field goals attempted with 543, surpassing Anna Kinne (1996-2000), who finished her career with 521 attempts. Climbing up the Patriot League career leaders list, O’Dell’s current career three-pointers made total (215) ranks her fourth on the list. She is just five shy of tying Colgate’s Allison Lipinski (2002-2005). The only active player on the list, she joins Paukert as the second Crusader to make this list. She currently averages 2.4 three-pointers a game, placing her second in the league and is also ranked fifth in three-point field goal percentage (.378). Briana McFadden is also making her mark on career lists from long range this season. She is currently ranked fifth all-time at Holy Cross for three-point field goals made with 143, one three-pointer shy of Kim Lynch (1992-1996). McFadden also holds the fifth spot on in career three-point field goals attempted with 464.

UNDERDOGS WITH A BIG BITE: In nine of Holy Cross’ 13 wins this season, the Crusaders have had a worse record than their opponent, including three Patriot League teams they’ve faced. Holy Cross downed Missouri, Drexel, Dartmouth, Bryant, Lafayette, Army, Bucknell, Navy and American. Maine was the only team that Holy Cross defeated this season that had the same record when the two teams competed. The Crusaders had the upper hand in three wins this year with a better record when they played both games against Colgate on and Lafayette. Army will have the better record of 18-11 entering the Patriot League quarterfinals on March 7.

CRUSADERS STRAINED BY INJURIES: Holy Cross has been struck with serious injuries throughout the 2008-2009 season, but still been able to put up big wins with a short bench. Five of the Crusaders’ starters have missed a total of 56 games on the season. Junior forward Tayana Carper (Shrewsbury, Mass.) had her season cut short after suffering a season-ending injury against Western Illinois on Nov. 30. Bethany O’Dell also missed four games after getting hurt during the Connecticut game on Dec. 3 and at Colgate on Jan. 28. Alyssa May also suffered from an injury this year when Holy Cross played Drexel on Dec. 28. She missed nine games but returned to the floor on Jan. 24. Another starter is on the bench for the rest of the season as senior guard Jessica Pearson (West Chester, Pa.) was injured versus Army on Jan. 14. The most recent injury to fall upon the Crusaders is senior forward Kathy Gruzynski (Elk Grove, Ill.). After suffering a minor injury at practice during the week of Feb. 1-7, she returned for one game but has now be struck with a season-ending injury she suffered at practice during the week of Feb 18.

SCORING DUO SHARE 1,000 POINT SUCCESS: Junior guards Briana McFadden and Bethany O’Dell have shared major success throughout their three years as teammates and clearly, they’re far from finished. Both McFadden and O’Dell reached the 1,000 milestone this season with McFadden reaching the mark against Army on Jan. 14 and O’Dell scoring her 1,000 point versus Lafayette on Feb. 7. With 1,180 career points, McFadden is currently ranked 14th at Holy Cross while O’Dell has 1,097 points, placing her 19th on the list. McFadden and O’Dell are the first two classmates in women’s basketball school history to reach the 1,000 point mark together as juniors. They also are the eighth and ninth players to score 1,000 points as juniors. Ann Lambiotte and Mary Helen Walker, both graduates from 1991, reached the 1,000 point mark as classmates. Former teammates of McFadden and O’Dell, Kaitlyn Foley and Brittany Keil also both reached the marks in their senior during the 2006-2007 season.

THE FIRST ARMY GAME: Briana McFadden scored her 1,000 point as she scored 13 points to lead Holy Cross to a 57-41 win over Army at the Hart Center on Jan. 14. With the win, Holy Cross also snapped a seven-game losing streak against Army.  After holding a slight 7-4 lead, Holy Cross went on a 9-0 run, led by McFadden with four points. Scoreless for almost 10 minutes, the Black Knights cut their deficit to 12 points (18-6), but Holy Cross had the upper hand in the final scoring of the half, leading with a 9-6 run to close out the half ahead by 15 points, 27-12. The Crusaders grabbed their largest lead just over five minutes into the second half, pushing ahead by 19 points (39-20) as McFadden hit two shots from the free throw line. With 5:11 left to play in the game, Army fought back to get within nine points (44-35) of Holy Cross, with Megan Ennenga scoring four points and Alex McGuire sinking a three-pointer. Elizabeth Campbell scored all of her eight points of the game in a 13-6 run by Holy Cross to close out the game, securing a 57-41 victory. Holy Cross’ defense smothered the Black Knights’ offensive attempts throughout the game, holding Army to shooting 20.0% (13-65) from the floor while the Crusaders finished 21-for-46 (45.7%). Holy Cross also detained the Black Knights from outside the arc, allowing just two of 12 attempts.

BUILDING BLOCKS: Elizabeth Campbell has had sophomore success blocking the opponents attempts at the hoop. With 38 on the season, Campbell is ranked ninth at Holy Cross in the career-list for blocks with 74 currently on her career. Campbell needs three blocks to tie Lisa Boentiz (1984-1988), who finished her career with 77 blocks. Leading the team in blocked shots, Campbell is currently ranked fourth in the Patriot League, averaging 1.3 blocks per game.

THE GO-TO GIRL: Briana McFadden continues to be strong on offense this season, leading the Crusaders in scoring in 17 of 29 games. She is the second Patriot League player with more than 400 points this season and currently tops the league in scoring with 15.3 points per game. McFadden scored a career-high 31 points and played a career-high 53 minutes against Missouri on Nov. 29 during the Double Tree White Invitational. She also pulled down a career-high nine rebounds against Bucknell on Jan. 17. Her season has also been highlighted by six games in which she scored 20 points or more: a career-high 31 against Missouri, 26 against Lafayette, 24 points against Yale and Drexel, 22 against Maine and 21 versus Boston College. Against Colgate on Feb. 25, McFadden totaled 19 points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal. At Colgate on Jan. 28, McFadden totaled 18 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. At Dartmouth on Jan. 4, McFadden scored 18 points while adding seven rebounds and one assist. In her most recent start at Navy, she finished with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. In the final regular season game at Lehigh on Feb. 28, McFadden had a team-high 16 points, three assists, two steals, one block and one rebound. Against St. Joseph’s on Dec. 29, McFadden totaled 15 points, four rebounds and three assists. In the league season-opener at Lafayette, McFadden had 14 points, three rebounds, three assists and one block. Against Army on Jan. 14, McFadden finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. At home versus Bucknell, she totaled 13 points, a careeer-high nine rebounds and six assists.

O’DELL KEEPS CAREER RIGHT ON TRACK: Starting in 27 games so far this year, Bethany O’Dell has led the Crusaders in scoring seven times with a career-high 26 points at Army on Feb. 11, 23 points two times (Western Illinois on Nov. 15; Bucknell on Jan. 17), 21 points as Navy on Feb. 18, 15 points versus St. Peter’s (Nov. 25), Bryant (Jan. 7) and Lafayette (Jan. 10) and 13 against Northeastern on Dec. 22. O’Dell has also pulled down a team-high in rebounds in five games. O’Dell has also reached the 1,000 point milestone this year, reaching the mark during the game against Lafayette at the Hart Center on Feb. 7 O’Dell is one of the many Crusaders that have hit new career-highs this season including points (26), rebounds (nine) and blocks (two). Versus Boston College, O’Dell tallied 18 points, four rebounds and four assists. Against Colgate on Feb. 28, O’Dell totaled 14 points, a team-high eight rebounds, four assists, one block and one steal in 33 minutes played. In 26 minutes played against Bryant, O’Dell finished with 15 points, a career-high nine rebounds, four assists and four steals. Against Maine, she finished with 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals in 37 minutes played.

DEFENSE CONTAINS LEAGUE’S SCORING EFFORTS: Holy Cross’ win against Lafayette on Jan. 10 and win over Army on Jan. 14 marked the least amount of points scored by an opponent in a half in six seasons. On Nov. 29, 2002, the Crusaders held Savannah State to 11 points in the first half, going on to win, 74-39. In the Patriot League season-opener at Lafayette, the Crusaders held the host Leopards to just 12 points. At home against the Black Knights, Holy Cross only allowed Army to put 12 points on the scoreboard in the first half. Against Navy on Jan. 21, the Crusaders allowed the Mids to put up just 15 points on the scoreboard in the first half. The all-time school record of least amount of points allowed in a half was against was 10 points against Lafayette on Jan. 7, 1995 and Army on Jan. 20, 1996.

LEHIGH RECAP: Briana McFadden had a team-high 16 points but it wasn’t enough as Holy Cross dropped a 71-60 contest to Lehigh on Feb. 28, 2009. Holy Cross opened with a 13-5 run with Whitney Fremeau and Bethany O’Dell scoring six points each. After trailing by 10 points (22-12), Lehigh grabbed the upper hand after a 10-2 run with eight points scored by Emily Gratch. A three-pointer by Alex Ross put the Mountain Hawks by two points (34-32) but a layup by McFadden in the final 30 second of the first half tied the game, 34-34. The Crusaders opened the second half with a 7-0 run, taking a 41-34 lead. Lehigh retaliated with a 9-2 run to tie the game. The lead bounced between the teams, but the Mountain Hawks broke free with a 12-0 run with eight points scored by Emily Gratch, pushing ahead to a 63-51 lead. The Crusaders got within nine points of Lehigh, 67-56, with less than six minutes remaining but the Mountain Hawks closed out the game with a 14-4 run to win by 11 points, 71-60.

FREMEAU REMAINS STRONG IN STARTING ROLE:  Starting in 26 of her 29 appearances this season, Whitney Fremeau has had plenty of success so far as she has had new career-highs in minutes played (34), points (19), rebounds (11) and blocks (three).  On Feb. 25 versus Colgate, she scored a career-high 19 points and had six rebounds and and two assists. Against Rhode Island on Dec. 9 in which she recorded her first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds and played a career-high 34 minutes. Against Missouri, she finished with 15 points in 30 minutes played. In the Crusaders’ win over Maine, Fremeau finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one steal in 31 minutes played. On the road against Colgate on Jan. 28, Fremeau finished with 12 points, a team-high seven rebounds and two assists in 28 minutes played. At home versus Navy, Fremeau led the team in scoring with 12 points and had a career-high three blocks, two rebounds and one assist in 26 minutes played. On the road at Army on Feb. 11, she had 11 points, four rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal in 28 minutes played. At Lehigh in the last regular season game on Feb. 28, Fremeau had 11 points, three rebound and one assist in 30 minutes played. Against Lehigh on Jan. 31, she tallied 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes played. Fremeau made her first collegiate start on Nov. 15 versus Yale and put up nine points and eight rebounds while grabbing two steals, one assist and one block in 26 minutes played.

MAY BACK FOR MORE: Sophomore forward/guard Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.)  has battled back from an injury she suffered on Dec. 28 in which she missed nine games. This year, May has appeared in 20 games and made nine starts. Versus St. Peter’s on Nov. 25, she matched her career-high in points (11) and chipped in three rebounds, two assists and two steals .Against American on Feb. 21, she finished with a career-high seven assists while adding seven points, six rebounds and two steals. May finished with 27 minutes played and had five assists and matched her career-high in steals (three) against Lafayette on Feb. 7.  Versus Colgate on Feb. 25, May had a team-high six assists and finished with seven rebounds, four points and two blocks. May recorded a new career-high, pulling down nine rebounds against Rhode Island. May matched her career-high in minutes playe (36) while tallying eight points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists against Missouri. Against Connecticut on Dec. 3, May finished with nine points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal. Versus Harvard, she had eight points, seven rebounds, five assists and one steal. At Colgate on Jan. 28, May finished with seven points, four rebounds and four assists.

WHAT A STEAL: With 225 steals on the season, Holy Cross is taking advantage of any lose ball within reach. As a team, the Crusaders rank third in the Patriot League and are averaging 7.8 steals per game with Bethany O’Dell grabbing the top spot on the team with 44 (1.4 per game). Briana McFadden follows with 37 steals on the season and Alyssa May adds 31 to the Crusaders’ total.

THAT’S MINE!!!: Holy Cross has forced 483 turnovers in 29 games, averaging 16.7 per game. Against Bryant on Jan. 7, the Crusaders forced a season-high 27 turnovers. In the season-opener against Yale, Holy Cross forced 24 turnovers, matching last year’s season-high. The Crusaders caused 22 turnovers against Northeastern on Dec. 22 and against Maine on Jan. 2. Against Missouri on Nov. 29 and Boston College on Nov. 18, the Crusaders had 21 forced turnovers. The Crusaders caused 24 turnovers in a game three times during the 07-08 season: at Yale on Jan. 6, 2008, at Navy on Jan. 23, 2008 and against Colgate on Jan. 30, 2008. Overall last year, Holy Cross forced 16.9 turnovers per game.

WHITNEY PUTS THE “W” IN WINDEX: Rebounding has become second nature to Whitney Fremeau as she leads the team in boards with 135 on the season, averaging 4.7 per game. Fremeau is currently placed 14th on the league list and ninth in defensive rebounds (3.8 rpg). Leading Holy Cross in four games this year, Fremeau recorded her first career double-double on Dec. 9 at Rhode Island with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. She also led the team two times with eight rebounds against Yale in the season-opener on Nov. 15 and at Bucknell on Feb. 14. Against Drexel on Dec. 28 and Lehigh on Jan. 31, Fremeau pulled down seven rebounds.

THE SECOND ARMY GAME: Bethany O’Dell scored a career-high 26 points but it wasn’t enough as Holy Cross fell to Army, 63-62, at Christl Arena on Feb. 11, 2009. Holy Cross started out with a 12-5 advantage in the opening four minutes of the first half with five points scored by Whitney Fremeau. Army got within two points of the Crusaders twice, but finally tied the game, 19-19, with less than six minutes left in the half. Six points by O’Dell closed out the final minutes, giving the Crusaders a 25-19 lead headed into halftime. Seven points by Alyssa May in the first four minutes of the second half gave Holy Cross a 32-28 lead. After trailing by nine, a quick 6-2 run with back-to-back shots from long range by Alex McGuire and Laura Baranek brought the Black Knights within one point, 35-34. After five lead changes, Army grabbed its largest lead of the game (53-48) with less than six minutes remaining in the game. Traffic on the court kept Army ahead but with 39 seconds remaining in the game, O’Dell hit two shots from the free throw line, bringing the Crusaders within three points, 59-56. Megan Evans hit two shots from the charity stripe to push the Black Knights ahead by five points. With 15 seconds left on the clock, O’Dell hit a shot from long range, making the score 61-59. McGuire converted two shots from the charity stripe putting the Black Knights ahead by four points. McFadden hit a buzzer-beater three-pointer, but Army held on for a 63-62 win.

CAMPBELL LOOKING FORWARD: Elizabeth Campbell has returned to the Crusaders’ frontcourt for the 2008-2009 campaign, appearing in all 29 games, making 12 starts. At Navy on Feb. 18, Campbell recorded her second career double-double, scoring 13 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. On Feb. 21 against American, Campbell led the Crusaders in scoring with 14 points while adding six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 33 minutes played. Campbell scored a career-high 19 points in her start against Lehigh on Jan. 31 while adding seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Against Lafayette on Feb. 7, she went a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the free throw line for 12 points while tallying five rebounds, two blocks and one steal. At Lafayette on Jan. 10, Campbell finished with 12 points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist in 19 minutes played. During the Crusaders’ game against Colgate on Feb. 25, Campbell put up 10 points, six rebounds, two assists and one block. In her performance against Army on Jan. 14, Campbell recorded a career-high six blocks and finished with season-highs in rebounds (nine) and assists (three) in 20 minutes played.

CUSHNIE MOVES FROM BENCH TO STARTING ROLE: Junior guard Christy Cushnie (Vienna, Va.) has made her minutes off the bench count for the Crusaders, appearing in 28 games and averaging 15.1 minutes on the floor. She also moved into the starting lineup, making eight starts this season, all against league opponents. In her strongest start of the season, Cushnie played a career-high 36 minutes and finished with nine points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals at Colgate on Jan. 28. During her start at home against Bucknell, she played 30 minutes and finished with seven points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. In her start against Navy on Jan. 21, Cushnie played a season-high 33 minutes and had five points, three assists, three rebounds and two steals. In her start against American on Jan. 24, Cushnie finished with five points, four rebounds, two steals and one assist in 31 minutes played. Cushnie played 27 minutes off the bench against Army on Jan. 14, finishing with six points, six rebounds, a season-high three assists and one steal. At Navy on Feb. 18, Cushnie finished with six points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal in 17 minutes placed. Versus Maine on Jan. 2, she grabbed a career-high three steals and pulled down three rebounds.

CHARITY STRIPE SUCCESS: Holy Cross has made its shots from the free-throw line count during the 2008-2009 season, currently ranked second in the league, shooting .737 percent from the charity stripe. Outstanding free throw shooter, Briana McFadden, is sixth in the league, converting 142-of-177 attempts for a .802 percentage. McFadden’s success at the line ranks on Holy Cross career lists sixth in free throws made (363) and eighth in free throws attempted (452), three shots shy of tying Jean Marie Buckley (1982-1987).

SNAP THOSE STREAKS!: With Holy Cross’ win over Army on Jan. 14, the Crusaders snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Black Knights, which included the Patriot League Championship game on March 8, 2006 at West Point, N.Y. The last victory recorded by Holy Cross was on Jan. 3, 2003, defeating the host Black Knights, 66-58. With the win in Worcester, Holy Cross also ended Army’s five-game winning streak. On Feb. 21 against American, the Crusaders snapped a three-game losing streak to the Eagles. At Lafayette on Jan. 10, the Crusaders ended a six-game home winning streak for the Leopards, marking the second-best winning streak in their school’s history.
THE LEADER OF THE PACK: Holy Cross holds the record for the most Patriot League tournament titles won, winning 11 of the 18 league titles. During its 18 seasons in the Patriot League, Holy Cross has finished the regular season in first place 11 times. The Crusaders have also been greatly recognized for their efforts by the league, having eight players named the Patriot League Player of the Year. This list includes: Mary Helen Walker (90-91), Norinne Powers (91-92, 92-93), Laurie Carson (93-94), Lauren Maney (94-95, 95-96), Kathy Courtney (96-97), Amy O’Brien (97-98, 98-99), Anna Kinne (99-00) and Briana McFadden (07-08). Holy Cross has also had two players named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year: Maggie Fontana (01-02) and Bethany O’Dell (06-07).

MERRIHUE HITS NEW HEIGHTS: Senior forward co-captain Jessica Merrihue (Holtsville, N.Y.) has appeared in 29 games this season, making five starts. On senior day at the Hart Center on Feb. 21, Merrihue played a career-high 20 minutes and had 10 points, three rebounds, two blocks and one steal. Against Lafayette at the Hart Center on Feb. 7, Merrihue scored a career-high 13 points while grabbing three rebounds and one assist in 16 minutes played. On the road against Colgate, Merrihue finished with 12 points, three rebounds and one assist in 13 minutes played. On Jan. 21 against Navy, Merrihue scored nine points and chipped in one assist and one steal in 15 minutes played. At Army on Feb. 11, Merrihue had seven points, two rebounds, one assist and one block in 13 minutes played. Against Bryant, she finished with seven points and two assists in 18 minutes played. In her first collegiate start against Boston College on Nov. 18, she scored six points, blocked three shots and grabbed one rebound in nine minutes played. She also chipped in five points, two rebounds and one steal in 11 minutes played versus Lehigh on Jan. 31. Merrihue has also added new career-highs in minutes played (20), points (13), rebounds (five), blocks (three) and steals (three). Merrihue is currently ranked 14th in the league in blocks, averaging 0.4 per game.

WINNING STREAK MARKS BEST IN FIVE SEASONS: This year’s six-game winning streak marked the longest streak since the 2004-2005 season, in which the Crusaders won 10 straight games. The 1996-1997 team posted 14 wins in a row, the longest win streak a team has recorded under the coaching of Bill Gibbons. The longest winning streak in Holy Cross women’s basketball history was during the 1980-1981 season, winning 15 games in a row under former head coach Togo Palazzi.

ROOKIE NOTES: Freshman guard Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) has made five starts and appeared in 26 games for the Crusaders, highlighted by her performance against Boston College, tallying seven points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 27 minutes played. Ward had a career-high five rebounds and matched her career-high in points scored (seven) against Vermont. She played a career-high 30 minutes and had two points, two assists and one rebound against Connecticut. She also had a career-high five assists against Northeastern on Dec. 22. Freshman center Marygrace Jay (Vienna, Va.) has appeared in 18 games so far this year, highlighted by her performance at Bucknell on Feb. 14, playing a career-high 13 minutes and finishing with five points, three rebounds and one block. She also recorded new career-highs in points (seven) and rebounds (three) in the game against Vermont. She also put up five points and one assist in seven minutes played at Colgate on Jan. 28. She also chipped in two points in two minutes played against Lehigh on Sat., Jan 31.

NEWS ON COACH GIBBONS: Head coach Bill Gibbons is now in his 24th season as head coach of the Holy Cross women’s basketball team with a overall career record of 475-244 (.661) and a 200-58 (.775) mark in the Patriot League. Last season, Gibbons led his team to its fourth consecutive appearance and 15th overall appearance in the Patriot League Championship game. Gibbons has led the Crusaders to more victories than any other coach in Holy Cross history during his 23 year-tenure. Gibbons also ranks second all-time at Holy Cross in coaching victories for all sports, only behind former baseball coach Jack Berry (616 wins, 1921-1960). He has won 20 or more games in 10 of his last 14 seasons. Gibbons is also ranked 26th on the active NCAA Division I win leaders. He has also been named the Patriot League Coach of the Year six times in his career. In 2007, coach Gibbons was selected to be an assistant coach at the Pan-American Games, where he helped lead the team to the gold medal.

CRUSADERS PICKED FIRST IN PRESEASON POLL: The Holy Cross women’s basketball team was picked to finish first in the 2008-2009 Patriot League preseason poll, voted upon by head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 90 total points and eight first-place votes, followed by Lehigh finishing second with 83 points and six first-place votes. American was ranked third with 75 points and two first-place votes. Coming in fourth was Army with 60 points, followed by Bucknell (53 points), Lafayette (38 points), Navy (35 points) and Colgate (14 points).

HOME SWEET HOME: The 2008-2009 season marks the first time Holy Cross has ever hosted its first four games of the season. Prior to this season, the Crusaders had three seasons in which they hosted the first three games: 1988-1989 (1-2), 2001-2002 (1-2) and 2004-2005 (2-1). Overall, the Holy Cross women’s basketball team is 317-94 (.771) at the Hart Center.

TAKING ON # 1: The Crusaders have faced No. 1 ranked teams five times during the regular season, all being games against Connecticut, with a 0-5 overall record. The last time Holy Cross competed against a No. 1 ranked team was against the Huskies on Dec. 3, falling 96-37.

THE BIG TIME: Holy Cross has made 11 NCAA appearances during Coach Gibbons’ tenure including nine in the last 14 years. The Crusaders’ most recent appearance was on March 18, 2007, falling to Duke, 81-44, in the first round of the tournament.

TRIPLE OT MAKES HISTORY: Holy Cross scored 94 points against Missouri on Nov. 29, marking the first time the Crusaders have scored more than 90 points in a game in the last three seasons. The last time Holy Cross put up at least 90 points was on Dec. 3, 2005, when it defeated Memphis, 91-66, at the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic held in Tempe, Ariz.

MERRIHUE AND PEARSON NAMED CAPTAINS: Senior forward Jessica Merrihue and senior guard Jessica Pearson have been selected as the Crusaders’ captains for the 2008-2009 season. Merrihue is three-year letterwinner for the Holy Cross while Pearson is a two-year letterwinner. Both players have taken over the leadership role from Laura Aloisi and Ashley McLaughlin who served as the Crusaders’ captains as seniors during the 2007-2008 season.

WELCOME BACK TO WORCESTER: Ann McInerney is in her first season as an assistant coach on the Holy Cross staff. A Worcester native, coach McInerney graduated from Assumption College where she was the all-time leading scorer at the completion of her career. She was named the 1989 Northeast-10 Player of the Year and is also a member of the Assumption College Athletic Hall of Fame.