November 28, 2005

Women's Basketball Hosts Saint Peter's On Monday

Nov. 28, 2005

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The Teams: Saint Peter's (1-1, 0-0 MAAC) vs. Holy Cross (1-2, 0-0 Patriot League)
Date: November 28, 2005
Time: 7:05 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,500), Worcester, Mass.
Broadcast Information:
Internet: www.sportsjuice.com
Talent: Jeremy Lechan, play-by-play
Series History: Saint Peter's leads 11-8
Last Meeting: Saint Peter's, 62-57 (January 3, 2004 at Saint Peter's)
Series Streak: Saint Peter's - 1

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos.  No.  Name               Ht.   Cl.	PPG	RPG
G      15  Shannon Bush      5-11   Sr.	12.3	3.3
G      10  Sarah Placek      5-3    Sr.	8.7	2.7
G      05  Laura Aloisi      5-9    So.	7.0	4.7
F      33  Brittany Keil     6-2    Jr.	11.0	9.0
C      52  Kaitlin Foley     6-4    Jr.	14.3	9.3

Tonight's game is the 20th all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Saint Peter's in the 31 seasons of varsity basketball at Holy Cross.

THE SERIES: Saint Peter's owns an 11-8 series advantage over Holy Cross, but the Crusaders have a 6-2 edge when playing the Peahens on the Hart Center floor.

THE LAST MEETING:The last time these two teams met was during the 2003-04 season when Saint Peter's took a 62-57 decision in Jersey City. In that game, Tanesha Seaton led the Peahens with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Lindsay Gonzalez and Tyonna Vance both added 13 points apiece. Lisa Andrews led all scorers with 19 points, but no other Holy Cross player scored more than nine points, as the Crusaders shot just 36% for the game, while turning the ball over 17 times. The only players suiting up tonight who saw action in that game two seasons ago are Sarah Placek (4 pts; 24 min.), Brittany Keil (9 pts; 28 min.), Shannon Bush (4 min.) and Jessica Conte (2 pts; 23 min.) for HC and Vance (13 pts; 32 min.), Bethany Anderson (6 min.), Elyse Sicillano (4 pts; 14 min.) and Kristen Hood (5 pts; 33 min.) for Saint Peter's.

HOME COOKIN': Holy Cross has an all-time record of 292-76 (.793) at the Hart Center, and is just eight home wins away from its 300th victory in the 30-year old building. The Crusaders have posted a record of 50-16 (.757) at home over the course of the last five seasons, including their 0-1 mark this season.

THIS TIME OUT: After suffering two straight losses at the hands of UMass and Dartmouth, the Crusaders will try to get back on track tonight against Saint Peter's College of the MAAC. The Peahens have an 11-8 series advantage over Holy Cross, but the Crusaders have a 6-2 edge when playing Saint Peter's on the Hart Center floor.

The last time these two teams played (Jan. 3, 2004), the Peahens defeated Holy Cross, 62-57 at the Yanitelli Center in Jersey City. The only players on the current Holy Cross roster who have faced Saint Peter's in their careers are Shannon Bush, Jessica Conte, Brittany Keil and Sarah Placek.

CAREER NUMBERS AGAINST SAINT PETER'S:
Player	  Gms.  Min.  FG-FGA  3FG-3FGA   FT-FTA    R   A   B  S  TP
15 Bush       2    27    1-3     0-0        2-2       1   1   0  1  4
10 Placek     2    49    1-13    0-6        7-8       5   6   0  1  9
23 Conte      2    24    1-3     0-1        0-0       3   1   0  3  2
33 Keil       1    28    4-7     1-2        0-0       6   1   2  1  9 

*stats are from 62-57 Saint Peter's win on 1/3/04 and 70-64 HC win on 11/22/02.

LAST TIME OUT: Ashley Taylor poured in a game-high 20 points and four other Big Green players reached double figures to lead the Dartmouth women's basketball team to a 74-63 non-conference win over Holy Cross on Tuesday night at the Hart Center.

Senior guard Jessica Conte led the Crusaders with 16 points and added six rebounds and junior center Kaitlin Foley put up 12 points and eight rebounds. Junior Brittany Keil turned in her second career double-double with an 11-point, 10-rebound effort, while sophomore guard Laura Aloisi posted seven points, five assists and three boards for the Crusaders. Shannon Bush also contributed eight points, four rebounds, four steals and two assists.

Dartmouth led 36-28 at the half after jumping out to a 13-2 lead to start the game. The Big Green were 5-for-7 from the floor in the first six minutes of the contest, including 3-of-4 from long range, while the Crusaders started the game 1-for-12 from the field.

Holy Cross cut the lead to four (13-9) after a 7-0 run in which freshman forward Kathy Gruzynski scored five straight points. But an Angie Soriaga trey at the 11:59 mark put the Big Green up 16-9. Dartmouth led by as many as 14 points (27-13) with 7:02 to go, but Holy Cross went on a 13-2 run over the next four minutes to cut the lead to three (29-26) with 2:44 remaining.

The Crusaders took their first lead of the game (37-36) early in the second and led again, 46-45 after a Keil three-ball from the top of the key with 11:15 left, but the Big Green were too much down the stretch and went on a 10-2 run to get back on top with just over eight minutes remaining.

Dartmouth shot 47.5 percent from the floor, while holding Holy Cross to just 33 percent.

NEXT TIME OUT: The Crusaders travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass. on Wednesday, Nov. 30 to face ACC opponent, Boston College at 7:00 p.m. The Eagles lead the all-time series, 18-8 and have an 11-3 mark when playing at Conte Forum. The last time Holy Cross beat Boston College was during the 1997-98 season when the Crusaders won, 80-68. That game was also played at Conte Forum.

HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 292-77 (.791) at the Hart Center, and is just eight home wins away from its 300th victory in the 30-year old building.

The program's 100th win at the Hart Center came on January 9, 1988 when the Crusaders defeated the University of New Hampshire, 86-67. It's 200th win at the Hart Center came on February 5, 1997 when the Crusaders defeated Army, 92-59.

Holy Cross has played 114 home games since then, winning 92 of them (.807). The Crusaders' best home single-season record since its 200th win was a 15-1 mark (.937) during the 1999-00 season. Last year, the Crusaders went 12-3 at the Hart Center.

Holy Cross has posted a record of 50-17 (.746) at home over the course of the last five seasons, and was 10-0 when playing Patriot League opponents on the Hart Center floor last year.

CONTE STEPS UP: Senior guard Jessica Conte (New Canaan, Conn.) scored a team-high 16 points off the bench on Tuesday night to lead the Crusaders. The five-foot-eight guard was 5-for-13 from the floor, 2-for-4 from behind the arc and a perect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. She also grabbed six rebounds, had three assists and three steals.

Conte also set a number of season marks on Tuesday. Her 16 points and three assists were both season-highs, and her six rebounds, three steals and 33 minutes tied season-high marks that she set in the Northeastern and/or UMass games.

Conte is currently fourth on the team with a 9.3 points per game average and third on the team with 5.0 rebounds per game.

KEIL POSTS SECOND CAREER DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Just two games after recording her first career double-double at Northeastern (16 points, 11 rebounds), junior swingman Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) posted the second double-double of her career and the second in three games this season after an 11-point, 10-rebound performance against Dartmouth.

Keil is currently third on the team in scoring at an 11.0 points per game clip, and is second on the team in rebounding (9.0 rebounds per game).

Through three games, Keil is 12-for-12 (1.000 percent) from the free throw line. Last season, Maggie Fontana `05 set a new program record with 26 consecutive free throws (across five games).

GRUZ GETS HER FEET WET: Freshman forward Kathy Gruzynski (Elk Grove, Ill.) scored a career-high five points on Tuesday against Dartmouth. The six-foot-two post player single-handedly got Holy Cross back into the game after being down 13-4 when she muscled her way into the paint and scored on consecutive trips down the floor and added a free throw, sparking the Crusaders to a 7-0 run midway through the first half. Gruzynski also added her first block in a Crusader uniform in nine minutes of action against the Big Green.

Gruzynski grabbed a career-high five rebounds in nine minutes of action against UMass last week.

ANOTHER CAREER DAY FOR FOLEY: Junior center Kaitlin Foley (Albany, N.Y.) recorded her first career double-double with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds at UMass last Sunday. Through three games this season, Foley is averaging 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

In the season-opener at Northeastern on Friday, Foley had career-highs in points (18), rebounds (then, nine), and minutes played (33). After backing up All-League performer and since-graduated Lisa Andrews the past three seasons, Foley has come into her own, and is currently averaging almost five times as many points and more than five times as many rebounds than her career averages coming into the season (3.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg).

The six-foot-four center is shooting .436 percent (17-for-39) from the floor and .900 percent (9-for-10) from the free throw line.

BUSH POSTS CAREER HIGH: Senior guard Shannon Bush scored a career-high 20 points last Sunday at UMass. The five-foot-11 shooting guard was 6-for-14 from the floor and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Her 12.3 points per game average is second best on the team. She is also averaging 3.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals.

PICKING UP WHERE SHE LEFT OFF: Sophomore point guard Laura Aloisi (Nashua, N.H.) is once again leading the team in assists (15 assists) and assists per game (5.0 apg) this season. The second year playmaker now has 134 career assists, after her rookie campaign in which she led the team and finished second in the Patriot League with 119 helpers.

COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Sarah Placek came into the season with 810 career points and she is now just 164 points away from being the program's 22nd 1,000 point scorer. Should Placek reach the 1,000 point plateau, it would mark the third consecutive season a Holy Cross women's basketball player joined the 1,000 point club (Lisa Andrews in 2004-05, Maggie Fontana in 2003-04). Placek would also be the sixth Holy Cross player in the last four years (Andrews in 2004-05, Fontana in 2003-04, and Katie O'Keefe, Jeanette Paukert and Amanda Abraham in 2001-02) to score 1,000 career points.

Placek needs to average 7.0 points per game this year to reach the 1,000 point mark in the regular season. She is currently averaging 8.7 points per game.

In her three years in a Holy Cross uniform, the five-foot-three guard has never averaged below 8.5 points per game. Her sophomore season, she averaged a career-best 10.5 points per game. Placek's career high in a single game is 23 points (Dec. 7, 2004 at Rhode Island).

SCOUTING THE PEAHENS: Saint Peter's comes into tonight's game after a 54-46 win over Providence on Saturday afternoon in Jersey City. The Peahens are now 1-1 this year, after a season-opening 77-36 loss to Texas A&M at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas last Monday.

In the Providence game Khalisha Lewis led the Peahens with a 13-point, 11-rebound performance. Lewis was 5-for-8 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line, to go along with three assists. Tiffany Jones led all scorers with 16 points, going 7-for-16 from the field. Lauma Reke was also in double figures for the Peahens with 10 points off the bench.

Saint Peter's is trying to bounce back from an 11-17 overall record from last year.

HOLY CROSS VERSUS THE MAAC: Saint Peter's is the only team in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference that Holy Cross is scheduled to face this season.

The last time Holy Cross played a team from the MAAC was just last season when the Crusaders took a 64-56 decision over Siena in Loundonville, N.Y.

Holy Cross has an all-time record of 80-35 (.695) against MAAC competition. HC is 60-23 (.722) against MAAC teams under Bill Gibbons.

HEALTHY PROPORTIONS: Senior guard Shannon Bush (Doylestown, Pa.) currently has a +4.0 assist-to-turnover ratio after totaling eight assists and just two turnovers in the first two games. Sophomore guard Laura Aloisi is not far behind with a +2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio with 10 assists and five turnovers. Sarah Placek has a +1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio.

FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE: Holy Cross ranks first in the Patriot League in team free throw percentage with a .929 clip. Brittany Keil and Shannon Bush are both 10-for-10 from the line on the season, while Kaitlin Foley and Laura Aloisi are 7-for-7 and 6-for-6, respectively. As a team, Holy Cross is 39-for-42.

BLOCK PARTY: Holy Cross is also tied for first in blocked shots as a team with 4.5 blocks per game. Brittany Keil leads the team with four blocks, Laura Aloisi has three and Kaitlin Foley has two. Aloisi's three blocks through two games this season are already two more than her season total from a year ago.

CRUSADERS PICKED TO REPEAT: Holy Cross was recently picked first in the Patriot League preseason poll for the second consecutive season. The Crusaders received 94 total votes, inlcuding 11 first place nods. Holy Cross is coming off its 16th 20-win season under the direction of head coach Bill Gibbons and its 10th Patriot League Tournament Title.

KEIL NAMED PRESEASON ALL-LEAGUE: Junior guard/forward Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) was named to the Patriot League Preseason All-League Team. Keil returns to the Holy Cross line-up as the team's top scorer (9.6 ppg) and rebounder (5.3 rpg). She is also the team's top three-point (.420 percent) and free throw (.810 percent) shooter from a year ago.

WELCOME TO WORCESTER: Morgan Valley is entering her first season as assistant coach on the Holy Cross staff. Valley graduated from Connecticut in May and won three national titles with the Huskies under head coach Geno Auriemma.

2005-06 CAPTAINS: Senior guards Shannon Bush (Doylestown, Pa.), Jessica Conte (New Canaan, Conn.) and Sarah Placek (Alexandria, Va.), have been named team captains for the 2005-06 season.

SIXTEEN 20-WIN SEASONS: The Holy Cross women's basketball program has totaled 18 twenty-win seasons its 31 years of existence, and has amassed 16 twenty-win seasons while a NCAA Divsion I member. The past 16 twenty-win seasons have also come under the direction of head coach Bill Gibbons. Gibbons has led the Crusaders to more victories than any other coach in Holy Cross history during his 20-year tenure. He has won 20 or more games in 10 of the last 11 seasons and in 16 seasons overall.

400-CLUB: Bill Gibbons currently ranks 34th on the list of winningest active Division I coaches (by percent) and 36th by number of wins, according to the 2005 NCAA Women's Basketball Record Book. He is the winningest head basketball coach in Holy Cross history and is the second-winningest coach - of any sport - in school history, behind former baseball coach Jack Barry, who totaled 616 wins from 1921-1960.

HEAD COACH Bill Gibbons: Bill Gibbons is in his 21st season at the helm of the Holy Cross women's basketball program. He has led the Crusaders to 10 Patriot League Championships in the last 15 years and has also led the team to 12 postseason appearances (11 NCAA Tournaments and one WNIT) in his 20 years as head coach. With sixteen 20-win seasons under his belt, Gibbons has cemented himself and the women's basketball program as one of the best in the Northeast.

The sixth coach of the women's program at Holy Cross, Gibbons has enjoyed the longest tenure in this position. He has led Holy Cross women's basketball to more victories than any other coach, and is the winningest coach in Holy Cross basketball history. With his 358th victory, he surpassed George Blaney, who had the most wins (357) in the Crusader men's basketball program, and now with more than 400 wins under his belt, Gibbons is the second-winningest coach in Holy Cross Athletics history, behind former baseball coach Jack Barry. In 2003, Gibbons was inducted into the New England College Basketball Hall of Fame at the University of Rhode Island. He currently ranks 34th on the list of winningest active Division I coaches (by percent) and 36th by number of wins, according to the 2005 NCAA Women's Basketball Record Book.

During Gibbons' 20-year reign, three players have earned Patriot League Female Scholar Athlete of the Year honors: Amy O'Brien `98, Kathy Courtney `97 and Ann Lambiotte `91, and four players have earned Patriot League Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors: Lambiotte (1991), Courtney (1997), O'Brien (1998, 1999) and Lisa Andrews (2005). His teams have consistently ranked among the best at Holy Cross for overall team GPA, while maintaining their success on the court as well. Last season, Holy Cross was one of just three schools in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field with a graduation rate of 100 percent. The Crusader program has produced four Academic All-Americans and more than 10 Academic All-District picks.

2004-2005 HONORS: Four players from the Holy Cross women's basketball team were named to the 2005 Patriot League All-Conference Team at the end of last season. Since graduated seniors Lisa Andrews (Concord, Mass.) and Maggie Fontana (Barrington, Ill.) earned First Team All-League accolades, and current sophomores Laura Aloisi (Nashua, N.H.) and Ashley McLaughlin (Andover, Mass.) were selected to the All-Rookie Team.

Andrews, who was also voted as the 2005 Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player, was named the 2005 Patriot League Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The six-foot-three center started all 31 games for the Crusaders last season and led the team in points (396), points per game (12.8), field goal percent (.471), field goals made (162) and blocks (55). She tied for first in rebounds (168) and was second on the team in rebounds per game (5.4). Andrews also shot .727 percent from the free throw line, which was third-best on the HC squad.

In addition, Fontana was named the Samantha Vellaccio Award winner, which is presented annually to the varsity women's basketball player who best exemplifies the mission of Holy Cross both on and off the court. Fontana finished her career with 1,556 points (sixth all-time at Holy Cross, 10th all-time in Patriot League), 767 rebounds (fourth all-time at Holy Cross, 11th all-time PL), 420 assists (seventh all-time at Holy Cross, eighth all-time PL) and 251 steals (third all-time at Holy Cross, 10th all-time PL). She is one of only five players in Holy Cross women's basketball history to collect more than 1,500 points and 750 rebounds in their career.

Further, seven players on the team were named to the 2005 Patriot League Academic Honor Roll last season. Since-graduated senior Caitlin Agostinacchio (Bellmore, N.Y.) and current junior Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) were among just four women's basketball players throughout the League to earn 4.0 grade point averages during the Spring semester. Andrews, Fontana, Jessica Conte, Kaitlin Foley and Sarah Placek were the other Crusaders who earned all-academic league accolades.

HC SIGNS FOUR TO NATIONAL LETTERS OF INTENT: Head coach Bill Gibbons announced this week that four student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to attend Holy Cross in the fall of 2006. Tayana Carper (Shrewsbury, Mass.) of Shrewsbury High School, Christy Cushnie (Vienna, Va.) of James Madison High School, Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) of Good Counsel High School, and Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) of Lincoln High School, will all be donning the purple and white next season.

Carper is a six-foot forward and will serve as team captain for the Colonials this season. The local product from Shrewsbury, Mass., was named to the Telegram & Gazette Division I all-star and Mid-Wach A League all-star teams, as well as earning team most valuable player honors, as she led Shrewsbury to the district championship and Massachusetts state semi-finals a year ago.

The two-time National Honor Society member has played AAU basketball for Team Massachusetts for the past four years.

Cushnie was named first team all-district and second team all-region, while leading the team in scoring with a 15.0 points per game average last year. She earned second team all-district honors as a sophomore while leading James Madison to the district championship. For her efforts, she was also an all-Metro honorable mention (Washington, D.C.).

The five-foot-nine guard has also played two seasons for the Fairfax Stars AAU team, which finished ninth in the Junior Nationals last year.

McFadden is coming off a junior campaign in which she helped Good Counsel to a national ranking of 15 and rank of fifth in the East, according to USA Today. The five-foot-10 McFadden averaged 12.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists last season. She finished her junior campaign as the team's second leading scorer for the second consecutive year, and led the team in both three-point field goal (40.0 percent) and free throw (80.0 percent) percent.

McFadden was named first team all-Maryland Gazette, first team all-Montgomery County, first team all-Metro Examiner, second team all-WCAC, and all-Metro honorable mention (Washington, D.C.) last year.

In addition, McFadden averaged 23.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists this past summer, while leading her AAU team (Maryland Sports X-treme) to the sweet sixteen round of the Junior Nationals.

O'Dell is coming off a junior campaign in which she averaged 24.0 points per game, 10.0 rebounds per game, 7.0 assists per game and 5.0 steals per game, while leading Lincoln to a 21-6 record and its first-ever Division 2 state championship. The three-time all-state, all-league, and all-division selection has already set a new all-time scoring record at Lincoln High School.

She has averaged a double-double each year of her high school career (22.0 points per game, 10.0 rebounds per game) and is a three-time Street and Smith magazine honorable mention All-America.

WHERE TO FIND HOLY CROSS BASKETBALL
ON TELEVISION: WCTR-TV3 will broadcast the January 16 game against Duke and the January 24 game against Colgate live from the Hart Center this season. Available in more than 20 communities in Central Massachusetts, WCTR-TV3 reaches more than 129,000 homes in the area.

ON THE RADIO: Tonight's game will not be broadcast on the radio.

ON THE INTERNET: Tonight's game can be heard on www.sportsjuice.com. The webcast of tonight's HC/Saint Peter's game, and any other information on Holy Cross basketball or the 26 other varsity sports at HC is also available through the Holy Cross Athletics website at: www.goholycross.com.

THE HOLY CROSS WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SHOW: Tune in to WCTR TV-3 Wednesday nights at 8:30 p.m. and Friday nights at 10:30 p.m. for the Holy Cross Women's Basketball Show with Head Coach Bill Gibbons. Each week, WCTR TV-3 Sports Director Kevin Shea will sit down with Gibbons and members of this year's coaching staff and team and talk about all things Holy Cross basketball, and the Crusaders quest for the 2005-2006 Patriot League Championship and a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

MEDIA POLICIES
INFORMATION AND CREDENTIALS: Media personnel wishing to cover Holy Cross home games should contact Brianne Mallaghan in the Holy Cross Athletic Media Relations Office at 508-792-2780 or via email at bmallagh@holycross.edu at least one week in advance. Working press and photo passes will be left at the will-call window located near the main entrance of the Hart Recreation Center.

INTERVIEWS: Interviews with Head Coach Bill Gibbons, his staff and Holy Cross players can be set up by contacting Brianne Mallaghan in the Holy Cross Athletic Media Relations Office at (508) 793-2780 or via email at bmallagh@holycross.edu. Arrangements for interviews should be made atleast 24 hours in advance. Coach Gibbons is generally available each weekday morning during the season, as well as before and after practices. Player interviews will be arranged subject to the individual student-athlete's academic responsibilities.

PRESS SERVICES: Game notes and programs are available in the press room one hour before each game. Halftime and final statistics and a running play-by-play will be available about 15 minutes following the game.

POSTGAME PROCEDURES: The Holy Cross women's basketball locker room is closed to the media. Members of the media should submit player interview requests to Brianne Mallaghan, the Holy Cross women's basketball contact, by the five-minute mark of the second half. Players and Coaches will be available for postgame interviews following a 10-minute cooling off period after the game.

RADIO AND TRANSMITTING: Holy Cross has installed phone lines which can be rented by a visiting radio station. The cost for rental is $75.00 for commercial stations and $50.00 for student stations.

HOLY CROSS ON THE INTERNET: For the most updated information on the Crusaders, check out the Holy Cross website. The site contains statistics for every Crusader basketball game, as well as cumulative stats, rosters, schedules, weekly notes and photo archives. Log on to www.goholycross.com.