Crusaders Set To Face Maine

Nov. 17, 2007

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Television: None. Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; www.sportsjuice.com, internet; Dick Lutsk, play-by-play. Maine Radio: WGUY 102.1 FM, Bangor and WSYY 1240 AM, Millinocket; Don Shields, play-by-play. Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 6-3. Last Meeting: Holy Cross 72, Maine 64 (December 7, 2006)

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS: Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG F 13 Ashley McLaughlin 6-1 Sr. 4.0 4.5 F 14 Briana McFadden 5-10 So. 7.0 3.5 C 42 Kathy Gruzynski 6-2 Jr. 3.5 3.0 G 5 Laura Aloisi 5-9 Sr. 7.0 2.0 G 44 Bethany O'Dell 5-8 So. 8.5 3.0

SERIES QUICK FACTS: Overall Holy Cross, 6-3 In Orono 0-1 At Alfond Sports Center 0-1 Bill Gibbons vs. Maine 5-2 Cindy Blodgett vs. Holy Cross 0-0 Current Win Streak Holy Cross, one game

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: Facing off for the first time in 1984, the Crusaders maintain a 6-3 series advantage against Maine. Hosting the series, Holy Cross remains undefeated with a 4-0 record while on the road against the Black Bears, Holy Cross is 1-2.

THE LAST MEETING: Holy Cross defeated the Black Bears, 72-64, during last year's game as sophomore Bethany O'Dell led the Crusader offense with 21 points, three rebounds and four assists. Laua Aloisi also contributed to the Holy Cross victory, recording five points, three rebounds and eight assists. Maine's losing efforts were led by Ashley Underwood, who scored 21 points and tallied two rebounds and four steals.

SCOUTING MAINE: The Black Bears enter the contest at 1-1, following a 67-53 victory over Dartmouth on Thursday, November 14 after falling to Clemson 72-59, in their season opener. Freshman forward Tanna Ross leads Maine's offense, averaging 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 0.5 blocks per game. Senior guard Kris Younan has averaged 9.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals in two starts for the Black Bears.

LAST TIME OUT: Holy Cross lost to Connecticut, 91-36, on Wednesday November 14 at the Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn. Senior guard Laura Aloisi led the Holy Cross offense, scoring 10 points and chipping in one rebound, one assist and one steal. Aloisi hit three of 10 attempts from the floor and netted two three-pointers. Sophomore guard Bethany O'Dell had seven points, three rebounds and one steal against the Huskies. Sophomore guard Briana McFadden led the team in rebounds with four while chipping in four points, two assists and a steal.

ROOKIE APPEARANCES: Freshmen Whitney Fremeau and Elizabeth Campbell made their Holy Cross debuts against Connecticut on Wednesday. Fremeau played 20 minutes and had an assist while Campbell scored four points and chipped in two rebounds an assist in 10 minutes of playing time. Freshman Alyssa May made her second appearance of the season, playing 15 minutes against UConn and recording two points, two assists, two blocks, one rebound and a steal.

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 Rookie 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. She also led the Patriot League in three-point field goals with 87 on the season.

NEWS ON COACH GIBBONS: Coach Bill Gibbons is in his 23rd season as head coach of the women's basketball team with a overall career record of 444-217 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 led the Crusaders to the NCAA Tournament for the 11th time. 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 all-time at Holy Cross in victories for all sports. Gibbons has led the women's basketball team 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 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 of 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 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 Maggie Fontana (02-03). 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 11 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 a 270-62 Division I record at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass. Holy Cross lost its first game at the Hart Recreation 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 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 hosts Rhode Island on Tuesday, November 20, with a game scheduled at 5:30 p.m.