March 8, 2005

Holy Cross Takes On Colgate For Patriot League Title

March 8, 2005

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GAME #30 VS. #6 COLGATE
PATRIOT LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
Date: Wednesday, March 9, 2005
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Location: Worcester, Mass.
Arena: Hart Center
Capacity: 3, 700
Team Records: Colgate 12-17 (6-8 Patriot League)
Holy Cross 19-10 (12-2 Patriot League)

Series History: Holy Cross, 31-2
Last Meeting: Holy Cross, 80-74 (February 19)
Streak: Holy Cross, 3

Broadcast Information:
Television: CSTV (College Sports Television), channel 318 Charter Cable, 610 DIRECTV
Talent: Bob Socci, Leah Secondo
Internet: www.sportsjuice.com
Talent: Bob Fouracre, Jeremy Lechan
Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Holy Cross student station

Tonight's game is the 34th all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Colgate in the 30 seasons of varsity basketball at HC.

The Series: Holy Cross owns a 31-2 series advantage over Colgate, and is undefeated (15-0) when playing the Raiders at the Hart Center. The Crusaders have never lost to Colgate in the PL tournament. The only time the two teams met up in the Championship game was during the 1995-96 season. The game was played at the Hart Center and the Crusaders came out on top, 77-50, earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Holy Cross is currently on a three-game winning streak against Colgate. The Raiders' only two wins over HC came during the 1993-94 season (C, 83-67) and last year (C, 90-80). Both games were played at Cotterell Court.

Holy Cross vs. Colgate in the Tournament: Holy Cross is 29-5 all-time in Patriot League post-season play, and has won nine Championship titles. Of those 29 wins, three have come against Colgate:
1991-92 HC, 78-65 Quarterfinal Game (at Lehigh)
1995-96 HC, 77-50 Championship Game (at Holy Cross)
2001-02 HC, 83-71 Semifinal Game (at Show Place Arena, Md.)

Home Cookin': Holy Cross is 8-0 at home this year against Patriot League opponents, and is 15-1 all-time in Patriot League Tournament games played at the Hart Center.

Probable Starters:	
G - #10 Sarah Placek, Jr., 5-3, 8.6 ppg, 2.6 apg, CONFERENCE ONLY: 6.0 ppg, 2.6 apg
G - #05 Laura Aloisi, Fr., 5-9, 3.5 ppg, 4.4 apg, CONFERENCE ONLY: 3.1 ppg, 3.8 apg
G - #34 Maggie Fontana, Sr., 5-11, 10.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, CONFERENCE ONLY: 13.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg
F - #33 Brittany Keil, So., 6-2, 9.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, CONFERENCE ONLY: 11.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg
C - #00 Lisa Andrews, Sr., 6-3, 12.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, CONFERENCE ONLY: 15.3 ppg, 5.9 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.

The Cross - The Championship: Holy Cross has a 29-5 all-time record in Patriot League Tournament play and is 9-2 all-time in PL championship games: 1991 HC 65, Army 52
1992 HC 82, Fordham 63
1993 Fordham 64, HC 60
1994 HC 58, Fordham 51
1995 HC 77, Colgate 55
1997 HC 67, Navy 60
1998 HC 72, Navy 58
1999 HC 87, Bucknell 63
2000 HC 94, Lehigh 68
2001 Bucknell 88, HC 74
2002 HC, 78, Army 65
PL Championship Record: 9-2

Bouncing Back: After last year's disappointing 13-15 mark, and the school's first losing season since joining Division I in 1982, the Holy Cross women's basketball team is one win away from an NCAA Tournament berth. Despite being knocked out of the first round of the Patriot League Tournament last season, the Crusaders were voted to win this year's conference crown. A win tonight would give Holy Cross it's 10th all-time Patriot League tournament title and its sixteenth 20-win season under head coach Bill Gibbons.

Home Is Where the Hart Is: HC has an all-time record of 252-53 (.826) at the Hart Center, including an 11-3 mark at home this season. HC has posted a record of 49-15 (.765) at home over the course of the last four seasons, and is 9-0 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 last 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

Sixteen 20-win Seasons: With a win tonight, Holy Cross will have recorded its sixteenth 20-win season under the direction of head coach Bill Gibbons. Here is a look at the success of Holy Cross over the past 20 years:

1985-86, 21-7
1986-87, 19-10
1987-88, 21-8
1988-89, 21-10 %@
1989-90, 20-10
1990-91, 25-6 *#@$
1991-92, 16-13
1992-93, 22-7 *#
1993-94, 15-14
1994-95, 21-9 *#@
1995-96, 23-10 #@
1996-97, 23-4 *!
1997-98, 21-9 *#@
1998-99, 21-8 *#@!
1999-00, 23-7 *#@!
2000-01, 21-9 *#@!
2001-02, 23-8 *^
2002-03, 24-8 *#@!
2003-04, 13-15
2004-05, 19-10 *
% MAAC Championship Title (1)
* Patriot League Regular Season Titles (11)
# Patriot League Championship Titles (9)
@ NCAA 1st Round (9)
$ NCAA 2nd Round (1)
^ WNIT 1st Round (1)
! Patriot League Coach of the Year (6)

Andrews Records Third Double-Double Of Season: Lisa Andrews came up with a team-high 14 points and tied for game-high honors with 13 rebounds to lead Holy Cross to a 10 point win over #5 Navy on Saturday in the Patriot League semifinals. Andrews has led the team in scoring this postseason with 13.0 ppg.

HC Extras: Lisa Andrews has scored in double-figures in 19 of 29 games this season. After starting the season reaching double digits in two of her first eight games, the senior center has had 10 or more points in 17 of her last 21 contests.....Maggie Fontana has scored 10 or more points in 15 of 28 games this season, including 11 of 16 Patriot League games, including postseason play.....Laura Aloisi has dished out four or more assists in 15 of 26 games this season, making her the team's top playmaker (116 assists) this season. She has 38 more assists than the next closest player on the HC roster .....The Crusaders committed a season-low 12 turnovers against Navy on Saturday.....have a 9-1 record when they score 70+ points .....are 14-2 when they record more free throw attempts than their opponents.....are 11-4 when they are whistled for fewer fouls.

Record Breakers: Maggie Fontana needs one point to pass Katie O'Keefe (`03) and two points to pass Kathy Courtney (`97) and Cheryl Aaron (`87) and move into sixth place on the all-time Holy Cross scoring list and break into the Top 10 on the all-time Patriot League scoring list.....needs eight rebounds to pass Phyllis Townsend (`84) and Norinne Powers (`93) and move into fourth on HC's all-time rebounding list....passed Jeanette Paukert (`02) for seventh place on HC's all-time assists list (416).....needs three assists to pass Anne Davis (`92) on the all-time PL assists list .....Lisa Andrews passed Karen Juda (`96) on both the all-time Holy Cross and Patriot League blocked shot list.....she is currently second with 195 career blocks.

Fontana Records Third Double-Double Of Season: Maggie Fontana registered her third double-double of the season with a 17-point, 10-rebound performance against Lafayette in the first round of the Patriot League quarterfinals last Thursday night. Fontana's rebounding effort was a game-high and her 17 points was a team-high. Fontana leads the team in rebounding with 5.6 per outing. She is averaging 7.5 rebounds this postseason.

This Time Out: The #1 Crusaders and #6 Raiders will meet for the third time this season in the Patriot League Championship game. Holy Cross (19-10) defeated Navy 72-62 on Saturday at the Hart Center while defending champion Colgate upset #2 Lehigh, 65-60 on the Mountain Hawks' home court. HC swept Colgate during the regular season with a thrilling 66-65 win at Cotterell Court on January 15, and just two weeks ago, the Crusaders took an 80-74 decision at the Hart Center (February 19). Eleven of HC's 19 victories this season have come on the Hart Center floor (9-0 vs. PL teams). The Crusaders are 11-7 when they play at night, and are 1-2 when they play on Wednesdays. After a 5-2 February, Holy Cross is 2-0 in March thus far. Colgate stands at 12-17 overall and like Holy Cross, is on a three-game winning streak.

Last Time Out: Lisa Andrews tallied team-highs of 14 points and 13 rebounds to lead Holy Cross to a 72-62 win over Navy in Patriot League quarterfinal action on Saturday afternoon at the Hart Center. The Crusaders went into the break with a 33-23 advantage after jumping out to an early 21-8 lead. HC was up by as much as 16 (29-13) in the first, but Navy fought back and cut the lead to eight (31-23) on a Lauren Skrel drive with just over two minutes to go. In the second, the Mids got within six (59-53) with 4:18 to play, but the Crusaders outscored the Mids 13-9 in the final minutes to seal the win. Holy Cross shot 39% from the field for the game and forced 21 Navy turnovers. The Mids made 37.5% of their shots. Sarah Placek finished with 11 points, four assists and four rebounds. Shannon Bush added 10 points and Jessica Conte had nine points for the Crusaders, who also got eight points from Kaitlin Foley.

Next Time Out: The winner of tonight's Patriot League championship game will represent the League in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, beginning March 19.

Scouting The Raiders: Colgate (12-17) upset #2 Lehigh at Lehigh on Saturday, 65-60 after being down 11 (36-25) at the half. Allison Lipinski poured in a game-high 25 points to lead the Raiders to their third straight victory. Colgate is led by First Team All-League selection Emily Braseth (E. Grand Rapids, Mich.) who is averaging 15.7 ppg and 7.6 rpg. Five-foot-eight senior guard Allison Lipinski (Garfield Heights, Ohio) is putting up 14.7 ppg and 3.0 rpg, while leading the team in both three-pointers made (83) and three-point field goal percent (39.9%). Five-foot-six junior guard Megan Ballard (Atlanta, Ga.) leads the team in assists with 95, and is also third on the team in scoring (8.1 ppg). Six-foot-two senior forward Leandra Fuller (Harrisburg, Pa.) is the Raiders' leading shot blocker with 47 on the season.

Holy Cross Tops Colgate, 80-74: The Crusaders and Raiders last matched-up with each other just two weeks ago on February 19 when HC took an 80-74 decision over Colgate at the Hart Center. The game was also televised on CSTV. Junior guard Jessica Conte poured in a career-high 18 points and three other Crusaders reached double-figures to lead Holy Cross. The two teams battled to a 33-33 tie at the half, but the Raiders opened up the second strong and found themselves up by nine (47-38) with 15:17 to go. Holy Cross battled back and went on an 8-0 run over the next 1:13 to cut the lead to one, 47-46. A Conte trey with 13:39 on the clock knotted the game at 49, and with 11:26 to go, a Maggie Fontana free throw gave HC a 54-53 lead that the Crusaders would not give up the rest of the way. The Crusaders led by as much as 11 on two different occasions with less than 3:00 left. Chigozie Ozor led all scorers with a game-high 21 points for Colgate. Megan Ballard finished with 15, and Allison Lipinski and Emily Braseth added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

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 last Saturday. Twentieth-year head coach Bill Gibbons has compiled a 165-31 (.841) record in Patriot League play, including HC's 12 wins 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 finished the season ranked first in seven of 19 team categories among the Patriot League statistics. HC was tops in scoring margin, free throw percent, field goal percent, field goal percent defense, three-point percent defense, assists and steals. The Crusaders were also ranked second in scoring offense and turnover margin and third in scoring defense, blocked shots and assist-to-turnover ratio.

Unchartered Territory: The Crusaders' 72-71 loss to Bucknell two weeks ago (February 23) 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 16-2 when they force 20+ turnovers.

HC In The National Statistics: According to the latest release (March 7), Holy Cross is ranked in the Top 20 nationally in assists per game with 16.9 (19th). Leading the nation in assists per game is DePaul (19.6), 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 29th in free throw percent (74.4%) behind national leader Idaho State (78.5) and are 34th in steals per game (11.0) behind national leader North Carolina at 14.0.

Win Total Climbs To 412: Holy Cross head coach Bill Gibbons continues to move up the history charts, having picked up his 412th career win on Saturday after a 72-62 win over #5 Navy in Patriot League semifinal action. 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 755 rebounds and leads the team in rebounding with 5.5 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 14-2 record when they record more free throw attempts than their opponents. The Crusaders' 21 made free throws against Bucknell on February 23 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 33.6%). Sophomore Brittany Keil ranks first (all games), shooting 44.0% (33 for 75) from behind the arc and junior Jessica Conte ranks fifth at 36.5% (31 for 85).

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 80.4% rate (90-for-112). Lisa Andrews is ranked third in foul shooting in Patriot League games, shooting an impressive 81.8% (36-for-44). Brittany Keil ranks second on the team in free throws at 80.7% (46-for-57). Through 29 games, Crusader players have made good on 387 of 520 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 49 shots so far this season. Andrews is averaging 1.69 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 9-1 when outrebounding their opponents, and are 10-9 when their opponents win the battle of the boards. The Crusaders have been outrebounded in 19 of 29 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 tied for eighth in scoring with 1,538 points, ranked third in steals with 248, ranked sixth in rebounds (755) and ranked seventh in assists (416). Fontana is also steadily climbing the all-time Patriot League charts in a number of categories. She is currently ranked ninth in assists (416), 11th in rebounds (755), and is tied for 11th in points (1,538). Lisa Andrews is ranked second in both all-time Patriot League and all-time Holy Cross history with 195 career blocks.

Double Trouble: Seniors Maggie Fontana and Lisa Andrews have both recorded three double-doubles this season. Both Fontana and Andrews came up with their third double-doubles of the season last week in PL tournament play. Fontana has a 17-point, 10-rebound performance against Lafayette in the quarterfinals, while Andrews had 14 points and 13 boards against Navy in the semifinals. Fontana also put up an 18-point, 14-rebound performance against Bucknell on February 23, and had 10 points and 10 boards in a one-point loss to UAB on November 26. 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.

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).

Where To Find HC Women's Basketball: College Sports Television (CSTV) will broadcast tonight's Patriot League Championship game between Holy Cross and Colgate. Throughout the Worcester area, CSTV is channel 318 on Charter Cable. CSTV is channel 610 on DIRECTV.

On the Radio: Tonight's championship game against #6 Lehigh will be broadcast live on WCHC 88.1 FM , the Holy Cross student station.

On the Internet: Tonight's game can also be heard on www.sportsjuice.com. Bob Fouracre and Jeremy Lechan will call the 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.