Women's Basketball Set To Host Rhode Island

Nov. 19, 2007

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS: Television: None. Holy Cross Radio: WTAG 580 AM, Worcester; www.sportsjuice.com, internet; Bob Foracre, play-by-play. Rhode Island Radio: None. Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 5-2. Last Meeting: Holy Cross 61, Rhode Island 54 (December 17, 2006)

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS: Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG F 13 Ashley McLaughlin 6-1 Sr. 6.7 5.0 F 14 Briana McFadden 5-10 So. 11.0 2.7 C 42 Kathy Gruzynski 6-2 Jr. 2.3 2.3 G 5 Laura Aloisi 5-9 Sr. 7.0 2.7 G 44 Bethany O'Dell 5-8 So. 11.3 3.0

SERIES QUICK FACTS: Overall Holy Cross, 5-2 In Worcester Rhode Island, 2-1 At Hart Center Rhode Island, 2-1 Bill Gibbons vs. Rhode Island 5-2 Tom Garrick vs. Holy Cross 1-2 Current Win Streak Holy Cross, one game

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: Tonight marks the eighth time the two teams meet, facing off at the Hart Center for the fourth time. The Crusaders' maintain a steady 5-2 record over Rhode Island, while the Rams hold a 2-1 advantage at the Hart Center.

THE LAST MEETING: Holy Cross beat the Rams, 61-54, during last year's contest as Bethany O'Dell totaled 14 points and four rebounds for the Crusaders. Briana McFadden added 13 points and five assists. Rhode Island was led by Safi Mojidi with 12 points, six steals and five rebounds.

SCOUTING RHODE ISLAND: The Rams enter the contest at 2-1, following a 63-54 victory over Siena on Friday, November 16. Tanja Licina led Rhode Island with 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists and a block. With three appearances under her belt, Licina averages 11.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists going into the game against the Crusaders. Safi Mojidi also contributed to the Rams' second-season victory, talling 13 points while chipping in three rebounds, six assists and one steal. She now averages 13.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game.

LAST TIME OUT: Holy Cross recorded its first win of the 2007-2008 season, beating Maine, 79-50, on Sunday, November 18. Briana McFadden led the Crusaders with 19 points, hitting five of nine attempts from the floor, making three three-pointers and making all six of her attempts at the free throw line while chipping in two assists, two steals and a rebound. Bethany O'Dell scored 17 points for Holy Cross while recording three rebounds, one assist, one steal and a block. Ashley McLaughlin led the team in rebounds with six while tallying 12 points, one block and one steal.

ROOKIE APPEARANCES: Freshman Alyssa May made her first career start on Sunday against Maine, playing 26 minutes and chipping six points, five rebounds and four assists in the Crusader victory. Freshmen Whitney Fremeau and Elizabeth Campbell made their 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.

SHE'S BAAAAACK: Bethany O'Dell returns for her second season to lead the Crusaders to another successful year. In three starts for Holy Cross, she is averaging 11.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game. 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 made 30 starts in 32 games 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 an overall career record of 445-217 and 182-42 in the Patriot League. Last season, Gibbons led his team to its 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 in 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 also 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 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 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 13 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.

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 captains 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).

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 travels to Brooklyn, N.Y. to compete in the LaGuardia Turkey Classic, playing Albany on Friday, November 23 for a game scheduled at 4:00 p.m.