Women's Basketball Hosts Harvard Thursday Night

Nov. 19, 2008


Complete Release in PDF Format

The Teams:
Holy Cross (0-2, 0-0 PL) vs. Harvard (1-1, 0-0 Ivy)
Date: November 20, 2008
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Live Video Streaming: Crusader All-Access
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; www.worcesterpike.com, internet; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 6-2
Last Meeting: Harvard 80, Holy Cross 56 (December 18, 2007, Cambridge, Mass.)

Pos.  No.  Name                     Ht.    Cl.   PPG   RPG
F      33   Whitney Fremeau    5-10  So.   8.5    5.0
G     14    Briana McFadden     5-10  Jr.   22.5   6.5
F      20   Jessica Merrihue      6-3    Sr.   6.0    1.0
G     21    Meredith Ward        5-8    Fr.   3.5    1.5
G     44    Bethany O’Dell        5-8    Jr.  14.0   4.0

THE SERIES WITH HARVARD: This will be the ninth meeting between the Crusaders and the Crimson on the hardwood. Holy Cross holds a 6-2 advantage in the all-times series, including a 3-1 record at the Hart Center. Last season, Harvard picked up its second series win against the Crusaders, 80-56, on Dec. 18, 2007. Holy Cross picked up its most recent victory on Nov. 18, 2006, 69-57, at the Vermont Classic, held in Burlington, Vt.

Overall: Holy Cross leads, 6-2
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 3-1
At the Hart Center: Holy Cross leads, 3-1
Bill Gibbons vs. Harvard: 3-1
Kathy Delaney-Smith vs. Holy Cross: 1-2
Current Win Streak: Harvard, one game

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.

HOME SWEET HOME: The 2008-2009 season marks the first time Holy Cross has ever hosted its first four games of the season. Prior to this season, the Crusaders had three seasons in which they hosted the first three games: 1988-1989 (1-2), 2001-2002 (1-2) and 2004-2005 (2-1). Overall, the Holy Cross women’s basketball team is 317-92 (.775) at the Hart Center.

THE LAST MEETING WITH HARVARD: Briana McFadden had a team-high 15 points but it wasn’t enough as the Holy Cross women’s basketball team lost to Harvard, 80-56, in non-conference play at the Lavietes Pavilion. Harvard jumped out to a 15-7 lead as Katie Rollins scored five points including a shot from long range while Lindsay Hallion chipped in four points. Holy Cross came within three of the Crimson, 27-24, but Harvard quickly widened the gap, leaping to an 11 point cushion over the Crusaders as Niki Finelli led the scoring with four points. Harvard finished up the half ten points ahead of the Crusaders, 38-28. Hallion led Harvard in the first half with nine points and one rebound while McFadden scored nine points and had one board. Harvard continued where it left off after the break, continuing to rack up the points. The Crimson reached a game-high 24 point lead, 59-35, with Adrian Budischak scoring six points and Hallion scoring four. Harvard finished 24 points ahead of the Crusaders, 80-56. Laura Aloisi had 12 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals while Ashley McLaughlin had a team-high five rebounds and chipped in five points and a steal. Hallion finished the game as Harvard’s top scorer with 15 points and had six assists and a rebound while Budischak had a team-high 14 rebounds and scored seven points while chipping in three assists and a steal.

HERE’S YOUR SECOND CHANCE: Holy Cross was fierce in second chance points versus Yale on Nov. 15, outscoring the Bulldogs, 14-1. The Crusaders had eight points in the first half and six in the second half while Yale posted its one point in the first stanza.

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).

LAST TIME OUT: Briana McFadden scored 21 points but it wasn’t enough as the Holy Cross women’s basketball team fell to Boston College, 82-69, on Tuesday, Nov. 18 at the Hart Center. After recording an 8-4 lead in the opening five minutes, Boston College went on a quick 7-0 run, putting its lead into double-digits. Holy Cross chipped away at the Eagles’ lead as Bethany O’Dell hit a shot from long range to bring the Crusaders within four points, 15-11. Boston College retaliated with an 11-1 run led by Mickel Picco’s efforts at the free-throw line, going 4-for-4, making the score 24-12. With 53 seconds left in the half, the Crusaders cut Boston College’s lead to nine after McFadden sank a three-point shot and O’Dell finished with a layup, making the score, 30-21. The Eagles quickly increased their lead to 14 points in the first two minutes of the second stanza, with a three-pointer scored by Victoria Jones. Holy Cross made its best efforts to catch up with the Eagles as Meredith Ward hit a shot from outside the arc with 14:12 left in the game, making the score 44-39. Boston College never looked back, grabbing its highest lead of the game, 82-67, with 55 seconds left in the game. In addition to her 23 points, McFadden had six rebounds and four assists while O’Dell tallied 18 points, four rebounds and four assists. Ward finished with a career-high seven points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Jessica Merrihue made her first collegiate start, finishing with six points, a career-high three blocks and one rebound in nine minutes played. Carolyn Swords led the Eagles with 33 points, 15 rebounds, one assist and one block.

ROOKIE NOTES: Freshman guard Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) has started in both games so far for the Crusaders, highlighted by her performance against Boston College, tallying seven points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 27 minutes played. Freshman center Marygrace Jay (Vienna, Va.) made her first collegiate appearance against the Eagles on Tuesday.

FRONT AND CENTER: Senior center Kathy Gruzynski has moved into the starting lineup for the 2008-2009 season, starting against Yale on Nov. 15 and played 21 minutes versus Boston College on Nov. 18. 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 with 408 minutes played, 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 for the 2008-2009 season, tallying 16 minutes played, six points and three rebounds against Yale. Following an outstanding debut season, 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.

HITTING NEW HEIGHTS: Since the beginning of the 2008-2009 season, five members of the Holy Cross women’s basketball team have recorded new career-highs. Tayana Carper set a new career-high in blocks with three versus Boston College. Whitney Fremeau recorded new highs in points (nine), rebounds (eight) and minutes played (26) against Yale. Jessica Merrihue set a new career-best in steals with three versus Yale. Meredith Ward’s new career-highs include points (seven), rebounds (three), assists (three), steals (two) and minutes played (27) all against Boston College.

THAT’S MINE!!!: In the Crusaders’ season-opener against Yale, Holy Cross forced 24 turnovers, matching last year’s season-high. The Crusaders recorded 24 turnovers in three games during the 2007-2008 season at Yale on Jan. 6, 2008, at Navy on Jan. 23, 2008 and hosting Colgate on Jan. 30, 2008. Against Boston College on Nov. 18, the Crusaders had 21 forced turnovers.

THE DYNAMIC DUO RETURNS: Junior guards Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) and Bethany O’Dell (Lincolnd, R.I.) will be the leaders of an experienced and deep Crusader backcourt this year. McFadden has started out strong on offense this season, leading the Crusaders against Yale with 24 points and versus Boston College with 21. 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. Versus Boston College, O’Dell tallied 18 points, four rebounds and four assists. Opening the season against Yale, O’Dell finished with 10 points, four rebounds, one block and one steal. O’Dell is also coming off a very strong sophomore year, starting in all 32 games, and finishing 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).

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. Fremeau made her first collegiate start on Saturday, Nov. 15 versus Yale and put up a career-high nine points and eight rebounds while chipping in with two steals, one assist and one block in 26 minutes played. Starting against Boston College, Fremeau recorded 19 minutes played, eight points, two rebounds and one steal. 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.

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. To start this year, May had seven rebounds, five assists, three points and one steal in 28 minutes played against Yale. 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. So far this year, she had nine points, three blocks, two rebounds two steals and one assist in 21 minutes played against Boston College on Nov. 18. Last year, 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.

MERRIHUE STARTS FOR CRUSADERS: Senior forward Jessica Merrihue (Holtsville, N.Y.) made her first collegiate start versus Boston College on Nov. 18. She finished the game with six points, three blocks and one rebound in nine minutes played. THE BIG DANCE: Holy Cross has made 11 NCAA appearances during Coach Gibbons’ tenure including nine in the last 12 years. The Crusaders’ most recent appearance came during the 2006-2007 season as they fell to Duke, 81-44, in the first round of the tournament.

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 463-230 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.

THE LEADER OF THE PACK: Holy Cross holds the record for the most Patriot League tournament titles won, winning 11 in the 18 league titles. During its 18 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 (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) and Briana McFadden (07-08). 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).

NEXT UP FOR THE LADY ‘SADERS: Holy Cross will host St. Peter’s on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7:00 p.m., concluding a four-game homestand.

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