Women's Basketball Hosts 2008-2009 Season Opener On Saturday

Nov. 13, 2008

Complete Release in PDF Format

The Teams:
Holy Cross (0-0, 0-0 PL) vs. Yale (0-0, 0-0 Ivy)
November 15, 2008
1:00 p.m.
Holy Cross Radio:
www.sportsjuice.com, internet; Jeremy Lechan, play-by-play
Holy Cross Student Radio:
WCHC 88.1 FM
Worcester Series Record:
Holy Cross leads, 6-3
Last Meeting:
Holy Cross 66, Yale 59 (January, 6, 2008, New Haven, Conn.)

Pos.  No.   Name                     Ht.    Cl.  PPG   RPG
F       33   Whitney Fremeau   5-10   So.  1.7    0.8
F       14   Briana McFadden    5-10   Jr. 13.5    3.9
C      42   Kathy Gruzynski      6-2    Sr.   4.5    3.2
G      21   Meredith Ward        5-8    Fr.    --      --
G      44   Bethany O'Dell        5-8    Jr.  11.4    4.6

THE SERIES WITH YALE: This will be the 10th meeting between the Crusaders and the Bulldogs. Holy Cross holds a 6-3 advantage in the all-time series, including a 66-59 victory over Yale on Jan. 6, 2008. The Crusaders have won two of the last six meetings. Yale's only win during that time came on Dec. 4, 1993, at the UConn Classic in Storrs, Conn. Holy Cross has never lost to the Bulldogs at the Hart Center, with a perfect record of 4-0.

SERIES QUICK FACTS: Overall Holy Cross leads, 6-3 In Worcester Holy Cross leads, 4-0 At the Hart Center Holy Cross leads, 4-0 Bill Gibbons vs. Yale 4-1 Chris Gobrecht vs. Holy Cross 0-2 Current Win Streak Holy Cross, two games FOR OPENERS: Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 19-15 in its opening game of the season. This year will mark the 19th time the Crusaders have opened the season at home, with Holy Cross posting a 11-7 mark in the previous 18 contests. Since Bill Gibbons took over as head coach, the Crusaders stand 15-8 in season openers. Over the last seven years, Holy Cross stands at 4-2 on opening day, defeating Massachusetts (68-42 in 2001-2002), St. Peter's (70-64, 2002-2003), Providence (68-48, 2004-2005), Northeastern (76-60, 2005-2006), while falling to St. Peter's (87-76, 2003-2004) and Vermont (54-45, 2007-2008).

MERRIHUE AND PEARSON NAMED CAPTAINS: Senior forward Jessica Merrihue (Holtsville, N.Y.) and senior guard Jessica Pearson (West Chester, Pa.) 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 will take over the leadership role from Laura Aloisi and Ashley McLaughlin who served as the Crusaders' captains as seniors during the 2007-2008 season.

CRUSADERS PICKED FIRST IN PRESEASON POLL: The Holy Cross women's basketball team has been 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).

MCFADDEN NAMED PATRIOT LEAGUE PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Junior guard Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) was selected as the 2008-2009 Patriot League preseason Player of the Year, in addition to being a member of the preseason All-League team. Junior guard Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) was also chosen as a member of the preseason All-League team.

THE DYNAMIC DUO RETURNS: Juniors Briana McFadden and Bethany O'Dell will be the leaders of an experienced and deep Crusader backcourt this year. McFadden etched her named into the Holy Cross history books last season as she tied the single-game record for free throw percentage (1.000, 11-for-11) and consecutive free throws made (11). Starting in all 32 games, McFadden totaled 431 points, 124 rebounds, 50 assists, 30 steals and 12 blocks. Averaging 13.5 points per game, McFadden led the Crusaders in scoring in 14 games last season, including eight Patriot League games. O'Dell is also coming off a very strong sophomore year. Starting in all 32 games, O'Dell finished with 364 points, 146 rebounds, 80 assists, 54 steals and four blocks. O'Dell had success from long range last year, as she ranked third in the Patriot League in three-point field goal percentage (.382) and three-point field goals made (1.97 per game).

FRONT AND CENTER: Senior center Kathy Gruzynski and looks to move into the starting lineup during the 2008-2009 season. Making 30 appearances and three starts last year, Gruzynksi emerged in her role as the first Crusader off the bench. She set several career-highs as she played totaling 408 minutes, scored 134 points, 96 rebounds, 18 assists, 13 blocks and 10 steals. Her season averages included 13.6 minutes played, 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. During league play, she appeared in 12 games and made one start. She averaged 16.0 minutes played, 6.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. In her best performance of the season, Gruzynski scored a career-high 20 points and chipped in six rebounds against regular season champion American.

CAMPBELL LOOKING FORWARD: Sophomore forward Elizabeth Campbell (Louisville, Ky.) returns to the Crusaders' frontcourt, after an outstanding debut season in which, as she was named to the 2007-2008 Patriot League All-Rookie Team. Appearing in 32 games, she made 11 starts, totaling 664 minutes played, 196 points, 135 rebounds, 36 blocks and 28 steals. Leading the Crusaders in blocks, Campbell ranked fifth in the Patriot League in that category. She also led the league in field goal percentage (.472). In league play, Campbell started in eight of the 13 games she appeared in, averaging 28.8 minutes played, 8.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.5 assists per game.

MAY BACK FOR MORE: Sophomore guard Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.) had a stellar start to her career with the Crusaders during the 2007-2008 season, appearing in 31 games and making 14 starts. She finished with 570 minutes played, 107 points, 103 rebounds, 34 assists, 23 steals and seven blocks. May's debut season was highlighted by leading Holy Cross in scoring with 11 points and chipping in seven rebounds in the league championship game versus Bucknell.

CARPER ADDS DEPTH FOR CRUSADER BENCH: Junior forward/guard Tayana Carper (Shrewsbury, Mass.) had a strong 2007-2008 season off the bench, appearing in 23 games and earning a spot in the starting lineup in four. She tallied 80 points, 51 rebounds, eight blocks and four steals. She also finished the season with a free-throw percentage of .625, after sinking 20 of 32 attempts. Carper's season was highlighted by her career-high 14 points and seven field goals, to go along with two blocks and two steals against Colgate. In league play, Carper appeared in nine games.

BLACKOUT WEEKEND: The season-opener against Yale will mark the first-ever Black Out Night at the Hart Center. All Holy Cross fans are encouraged to wear black clothing to the game in support of their team. A special black Sader Nation t-shirt will all also be on sale at the game, with a price of $10.00 for the general public and $5.00 for Holy Cross students.

VERSATITLY IS FREMEAU'S NEW ROLE: After joining the team last year, sophomore guard Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) looks to make a continued impact on the court in the upcoming season. Appearing in 25 games last year, Fremeau totaled 42 points, 20 rebounds, 16 assists, 11 steals and two blocks. This season, Fremeau's versatility will be used in both the frontcourt and the backcourt, as she will play at both foward and guard.

NEWS ON COACH GIBBONS: Bill Gibbons enters his 24th season as head coach of the Holy Cross women's basketball team with a overall career record of 463-228 and a 192-52 mark in the Patriot League. Last season, Gibbons led his team to its 10th consectutive 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-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 game 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.

EXHIBITION RECAP: Holy Cross played one exhibition game in preparation for the 2008-2009 season, falling to Assumption, 67-54, on Nov. 11. Briana McFadden had 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals while Bethany O'Dell had 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Crusaders. Elizabeth Campbell had 10 points and three rebounds while Whitney Fremeau made her first collegiate start, chipping in seven points, three rebounds and one block. Starting in her first collegiate game, freshman guard Meredith Ward had five points, six rebounds, three assists and one steal.

NEXT UP FOR THE LADY `SADERS: Holy Cross will host Boston College at the Hart Center on Tuesday, November 18m at 7:00 p.m.

WELCOME TO WORCESTER: Ann McInerney is entering first season as an assistant coach on the Holy Cross staff.