Nov. 13, 2007
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS: Television: CPTV, Bob Picozzi, play-by-play; Meghan Culmo, color. Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; www.sportsjuice.com, internet; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play. Connecticut Radio: WTIC 1080 AM/UConn Radio Network Series Record: Connecticut leads, 15-2. Last Meeting: Connecticut 83, Holy Cross 64; Dec. 4, 2006; Worcester, Mass.
PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS: Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG F 13 Ashley McLaughlin 6-1 Sr. 6.0 8.0 F 14 Briana McFadden 5-10 So. 10.0 3.0 C 42 Kathy Gruzynski 6-2 Jr. 4.0 3.0 G 5 Laura Aloisi 5-9 Sr. 4.0 3.0 G 44 Bethany O'Dell 5-8 So. 10.0 3.0
SERIES QUICK FACTS: Overall Connecticut, 15-2 In Storrs Connecticut, 6-0 At Gampell Pavilion Connecticut, 3-0 Bill Gibbons vs. Connecticut 1-14 Geno Auriemma vs. Holy Cross 14-1 Current Win Streak Connecticut, 14 games
ALOISI AND MCLAUGHLIN NAMED CAPTAINS: Senior guard Laura Aloisi (Nashua, N.H.) and senior forward Ashley McLaughlin (Andover, Mass.) have been selected as the Crusaders' captains for the 2007-2008 season. Both players are three-year letterwinners for the Crusaders, and will take over the leadership role from Brittany Keil, Ashley Brennan-McBride, and Kaitlyn Foley who served as the Crusaders' captains as seniors during the 2006-2007 season.
CRUSADERS PICKED THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL: In the 2007-2008 Patriot League preseason poll, Holy Cross was picked to finish in third place in voting by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 77 total points in the poll, trailing only first-place Bucknell (92 points) and second-place Army (83 points). Holy Cross received one first-place vote in the poll, with the Bison earning 10 first-place votes and Army tallying four. Following the Crusaders in the poll were American (fourth, 62 points and one first place vote), Lehigh (fifth, 46 points), Lafayette (sixth, 33 points), Navy (sixth, 33 points), and Colgate (eighth, 22 points).
2007-2008 SEASON PREVIEW: The Holy Cross women's basketball team heads into the 2007-2008 season looking to defend its place as a top contender in the Patriot League and its 2007 Patriot League Championship title. After clinching the league title, the Crusaders fell to Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 81-44, ending the season that marked the 11th Patriot League Championship for the Crusaders in 17 seasons. With the return of senior guard Laura Aloisi to the court as well as several returning underclassmen, Holy Cross will be a force hard to slow down. The Crusaders are coming off a 15-18 overall record, finishing third at 7-7 in the Patriot League. In addition to last season's success, the Crusaders picked up their seventh league title in 10 years. Holy Cross finished first in the league in two categories: assists (14.36 per game) and free throw percentage (.741). The Crusaders were also ranked fourth in four different categories including scoring offense (57.8 per game), field goal percentage (.400), three-point field goal percentage (.317), and assist/turnover ratio (+0.76).
HISTORY IN THE MAKING: In a series which began in 1982, Holy Cross and Connecticut will make their 18th appearance against each other on the court this season. The Huskies hold an impressive 15-2 series advantage, including an undefeated record of 10-0 when hosting the contest. The Crusaders picked up their two wins against Connecticut at the Hart Center: on Feburary 1, 1984 with a score of 89-57 and on December 4, 1986, winning 65-49.
THE LAST MEETING: The Huskies topped Holy Cross, 83-64, during last year's game as Charde Houston led Connecticut with 22 points, six rebounds, three assists, and four steals while making 11-of-14 shots from the floor. Renee Montgomery chipped in 16 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals for the Huskies. Brittany Hunter also contributed to Connecticut's 15th series win with 12 points and seven rebounds. For the Crusaders, Laura Aloisi and Briana McFadden led the team each with 13 points a piece. Aloisi also had five rebounds, seven assists and two steals while McFadden chipped in two assists and one rebound. Bethany O'Dell scored 12 points for Holy Cross while recording six rebounds and one assist.
SCOUTING CONNECTICUT: The Huskies are coming off a first place finish in the Big East last season, with an overall record of 32-4 and a perfect league record of 16-0. Last season marked the 15th regular season Big East Title for Connecticut, the team's first since 2004. All five of last year's starters and 12 letterwinners will be returning for the Huskies, including junior guard Renee Montgomery. Montgomery led Connecticut's offense, averaging 13.3 points and 4.5 assists per game while recording 70 steals last year. Also returning for the Huskies is sophomore center Tina Charles, who averaged 12.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while recording a 59% field goal percentage and 81 blocks last season. As a freshman, Charles led the team in blocks and rebounds and was second in points, earning her the Big East and National Freshman of the Year awards.
LAST TIME OUT: Holy Cross lost to Vermont, 54-44, on Sunday November 11, in its season opener at the Hart Center in Worcester. Last year, the Crusaders beat Yale, 68-56, at home in the season-opener. Sophomores Bethany O'Dell and Briana McFadden led the Crusaders against Vermont, both scoring 10 points. O'Dell also recorded three rebounds, one assist, and two steals in 24 minutes played against the Catamounts. In 36 minutes played, McFadden chipped in three rebounds, one assist, one block, and one steal.
ROOKIE APPEARANCES: Freshman Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.) made her rookie debut, recording eight minutes on the court.
SHE'S BAAAAACK: Bethany O'Dell returns for her second season to lead the Crusaders to another successful year. Last year, O'Dell was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year and received Player of the Week honors six times. She also was named to the All-Patriot League Second Team and Patriot League All-Rookie Team. During her debut season, O'Dell appeared in 32 games, making 30 starts while averaging 12.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.
NEWS ON COACH GIBBONS: Coach Bill Gibbons enters his 23rd season as head coach of the women's basketball team with a overall career record of 444-215 and 182-42 in the Patriot League. Last season, Gibbons led his team to it's 11th Patriot League tournament title, beating American 56-48, in the championship game. With the win, Coach Gibbons and the Crusaders made their 12th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Holy Cross fell to Duke to the first round of the NCAAs, 81-44, to end the 2006-2007 season. Currently Coach Gibbons ranks second at Holy Cross on the All-Time Holy Cross Head Coach Victories. Gibbons has led the Crusaders to more victories than any other coach in Holy Cross history during his 22-tenure. He has won 20 or more game in 10 of his last 14 seasons. Gibbons is also ranked 28th on the Active NCAA Division I Win Leaders. He has also been named the Patriot League Coach of the Year Award six times in his career. This past summer, Coach Gibbons was selected to be an assistant coach at the 2007 Pan-American Games, in which his team won the gold medal.
LEADER OF THE PACK: Holy Cross holds the record for the most Patriot League tournament titles won, winning 11 in the 17 league titles. During its 17 seasons in the Patriot League, Holy Cross has finished in first place 11 times. The Crusaders have also been greatly recognized for their efforts by the league, having seven players named the Patriot League Player of the Year. This list includes: Mary Helen (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), and Anna Kinne (99-00). 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).
THE BIG TIME: Holy Cross has made 12 NCAA appearances during Coach Gibbons' tenure including nine in the last 11 years. The Crusaders' most recent appearance came last season as they fell to Duke, 81-44, in the first round of the tournament.
TAKING IT TO THE HART: The Crusaders' hold an overall record of 309-85 and 270-62 Division I record at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass. Holy Cross lost it's first game at the Hart Recreational Center, 66-34, to Williams in 1975. The Crusaders have hosted the 1991 NCAA tournament, 13 Patriot League tournaments, two MAAC tournaments, and several invitationals during the 32 seasons played at the Hart Center.
WHO'S NEW: Holy Cross welcomes three newcomers this season: Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.), Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.), and Elizabeth Campbell (Louisville, Ky.). Campbell is the cousin of former Holy Cross standout women's basketball player, Mary Rose Campbell. Mary Rose played for Holy Cross from 1999-2003 and was a captain her senior year.
WELCOME TO WORCESTER: Courtney Graham is entering her first season as an assistant coach on the Holy Cross staff. Before coming to Holy Cross, Graham was the academic coordinator and senior woman administrator at Kentucky State University. A graduate from Mississippi State University, Graham earned four letters as a member of the MSU basketball squad. She was part of MSU's team which made three NCAA Tournament appearances, and one WNIT Tournament appearance.
NEXT UP FOR THE LADY `SADERS: Holy Cross travels to Maine for a 1:00 p.m. game on Sunday, November 18.