December 8, 2008

Women's Basketball Travels To Rhode Island On Tuesday

Dec. 8, 2008

Complete Release in PDF Format

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams:
Holy Cross (1-7, 0-0 PL) vs. Rhode Island (3-5, 0-0 Atlantic 10)
Date: December 9, 2008
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Ryan Center (7,657), Kingston, R.I.
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester, www.worcesterpike.com, internet; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play.
Live Video Streaming: www.gorhody.com
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 6-2
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 65, Rhode Island 56 (November 20, 2007; Worcester, Mass.)

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos.  No.  Name                   Ht.     Cl.    PPG   RPG
F      33  Whitney Fremeau    5-10  So.    7.5    4.6
F      20  Jessica Merrihue      6-3   Sr.     2.3    0.6 
G     14   Briana McFadden    5-10  Jr.     16.8   3.3  
G     10   Alyssa May             6-0   So.    5.5    4.8 
G     21   Meredith Ward        5-8   Fr.     2.9    1.6

THE SERIES WITH RHODE ISLAND: The Crusaders and the Rams will make their ninth appearance on the hardwood with Holy Cross leading the all-time series with a 6-2 record. The Crusaders are currently on a two-game winning streak against Rhode Island, picking up a 65-56 win at the Hart Center last season on Nov. 20, 2007. Holy Cross also defeated the Rams at the Ryan Center on Dec. 17, 2006, 61-54. The last win for Rhode Island was in Worcester on Dec. 7, 2005, recording a 72-68 victory.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 6-2
In Kingston: Holy Cross leads, 4-0
At Ryan Center: Holy Cross, 2-0
Bill Gibbons vs. Rhode Island: 6-2
Tom Garrick vs. Holy Cross: 1-3
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, two games

DUO REACHES CAREER LISTS FROM BEYOND THE ARC: Junior guard Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) is currently ranked second in Holy Cross history in three-point field goals made with 169, only 10 behind Jeanette Paukert (1998-2002). She is also climbing up the Patriot League career leaders list, placing 10th on the list as the only active player on the list. She joins Paukert as the second Crusader to make this list. Junior guard Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) is currently ranked seventh all-time at Holy Cross with 118, she's just four shy of tying Lauren Maney (1992-1996).

STRONG SCORING VERSUS MISSOURI: Holy Cross scored 94 points against Missouri on Nov. 29, marking the first time the Crusaders have scored more than 90 points in a game in the last three seasons. The last time Holy Cross put up at least 90 points was on Dec. 3, 2005, when it defeated Memphis, 91-66, at the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic held in Tempe, Ariz.

TRIPS MAKES HISTORY: The Crusaders made history on Nov. 29 playing in the first triple overtime game ever in men or women's basketball at Holy Cross, beating Missouri 94-93 in the first game of the DoubleTree White Invitational. The longest game ever recorded at Holy Cross was on Jan. 9, 1964, when the men's basketball team defeated Boston University, 97-95, in four overtimes. The Crusaders have played past regulation in 25 games all-time with an overall 13-12 record (.520), including a 3-2 mark in double overtime.

THE GO-TO GIRL: Briana McFadden has started out strong on offense this season, leading the Crusaders in scoring in five out of eight games. McFadden scored a career-high 31 points against Missouri on Nov. 29 during the Double Tree White Invitational. Her season has also been highlighted by scoring 24 points against Yale, 21 versus Boston College and 10 against Harvard. She also chipped in 12 points for Holy Cross against St. Peter's on Nov. 25. 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.

HOLY CROSS VERSUS ATLANTIC 10: Holy Cross has played against 10 of the 14 teams that currently play in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Crusaders have a 52-25 (.675) record in the all-time series against the conference. The most games played against an Atlantic 10 opponents are against Fordham, in which the Crusaders currently lead the series, 27-6 (.818). In addition to Rhode Island, the Crusaders will face the Atlantic 10 Conference's St. Joseph's for the first time in the Hawk Classic, held in Philadelphia, Pa. on Dec. 28-29.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: After opening the 2008-2009 season with a four-game home stand at the Hart Center, the Crusaders are currently on a eight-game road trip, traveling to Rhode Island on Tues. Dec. 9 and Northeastern on Mon. Dec. 22. Holy Cross will conclude its road trip at the Hawk Classic on Dec. 28-29, hosted by St. Joseph's in Philadelphia, Pa. The Crusaders will play at home next on Friday, Jan. 2, when they host Maine at 7:00 p.m.

FREMEAU REMAINS STRONG IN STARTING ROLE: Sophomore forward/guardWhitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) has made six starts in Holy Cross' eight games. Fremeau's has had plenty of success so far as she has had new career-highs in minutes played (31), points (15), field goal attempts (13), rebounds (eight), field goals (seven), free throws attempts (three) and three-pointers (two). Her best performance on the season was against Missouri in which she finished with 15 points in 30 minutes played. Against Connecticut, she totaled nine points, six rebounds and one assist. Fremeau made her first collegiate start on Nov. 15 versus Yale and put up nine points and eight rebounds while grabbing two steals, one assist and one block in 26 minutes played. Starting against Boston College, Fremeau recorded 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.

MAY BACK FOR MORE: Sophomore forward/guard Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.) has played in every game for the Crusaders, starting four times. May recorded a new career-high, pulling down eight rebounds against Vermont. Her season has been highlighted by her performance against St. Peter's in which she finished with 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 25 minutes played. May played a season-high 36 minutes and had eight points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists against Missouri. Against Connecticut, May finished with nine points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal. Versus Harvard, she had eight points, seven rebounds, five assists and one steal in 25 minutes played. To start this year, May had seven rebounds, five assists, three points and one steal in 28 minutes played against Yale. Last year, she appeared in 31 games and made 14 starts. May's freshmen season was highlighted by leading Holy Cross in scoring with 11 points and pulling down in seven rebounds in the league championship game versus Bucknell.

O'DELL KEEPS CAREER RIGHT ON TRACK: Starting in seven games sor far this year, Bethany O'Dell has led the Crusaders in scoring twice with a season-high 23 points against Western Illinois and 15 points versus St. Peter's. She currently has 80 points on the season, bringing her career total to 840 points. O'Dell is one of the many Crusaders that have hit new career-highs this season including field goals attempted (16), three-pointers attempted (14), and three-pointers (seven). 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 stayed strong against Harvard, leading the team in rebounds with eight and finishing with six points, three assist and one steal in 38 minutes played. O'Dell is also coming off a stellar 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).

ROOKIE NOTES: Freshman guard Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) has made four starts and appeared in all eight games for the Crusaders, highlighted by her performance against Boston College, tallying seven points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 27 minutes played. Ward had a career-high five rebounds and matched her career-high in points scored (seven) against Vermont. She played a career-high 30 minutes and had two points, two assists and one rebound against Connecticut. Freshman center Marygrace Jay (Vienna, Va.) has appeared in four games so far this year, highlighted by new career-highs in points (seven), rebounds (three) and minutes played (11) in the game against Vermont.

MCFADDEN, O'DELL EARN ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Briana McFadden and Bethany O'Dell were named to the 2008 All-DoubleTree White Invitational Team. The Crusaders finished 1-1 in the DoubleTree White Invitational, hosted by Northwestern on Nov. 29-30. Holy Cross picked up its first win of the season in a dramatic 94-93 triple overtime win against Missouri on Saturday. On Sunday, the Crusaders were downed be Western Illinois, 64-55.

CRUSADERS PICKED FIRST IN PRESEASON POLL: The Holy Cross women's basketball team was 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 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior guard Briana McFadden was named the Patriot League Player of the Week, for competition from Nov. 25-30. McFadden led the Crusaders to a triple overtime victory against Missouri scoring a career high 31 points on Nov. 29, in the Mildred & Roger L. White Invitational, hosted by Northwestern. In the third overtime period, McFadden scored all nine Holy Cross points including the game-winning basket with eight seconds remaining to give the Crusaders the 94-93 victory. In addition to her 31 points, she tallied three assists, three steals and two rebounds. On Sunday, Nov. 30, McFadden scored 20 points and had three rebounds, three assists and two steals in the 64-55 loss to Western Illinois. Earlier in the week, against St. Peter's, McFadden finished with 12 points, five assists and two rebounds.

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 317-94 (.771) at the Hart Center.

THAT'S MINE!!!: Holy Cross has forced 137 turnovers in eight games, averaging 17.1 per game. In the Crusaders’ season-opener against Yale, Holy Cross forced 24 turnovers, matching last year’s season-high. Against Missouri on Nov. 29 and Boston College on Nov. 18, the Crusaders had 21 forced turnovers. The Crusaders caused 24 turnovers in a game three times during the 2007-2008 season: at Yale on Jan. 6, 2008, at Navy on Jan. 23, 2008 and against Colgate on Jan. 30, 2008. Overall last year, Holy Cross forced 16.9 turnovers per 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 have taken over the leadership role from Laura Aloisi and Ashley McLaughlin who served as the Crusaders' captains as seniors during the 2007-2008 season.

TAKING ON # 1: The Crusaders have faced No. 1 ranked teams five times during the regular season, all being games against Connecticut, with a 0-5 overall record. The last time Holy Cross competed against a No. 1 ranked team was against the Huskies on Dec. 3, falling 96-37.

CAMPBELL LOOKING FORWARD: Sophomore forward Elizabeth Campbell (Louisville, Ky.) has returned to the Crusaders' frontcourt for the 2008-2009 season, appearing in eight games and making two starts. Campbell played a season-high 17 minutes versus Western Illinois. She also finished with 16 minutes played, six points and three rebounds against Yale. Campbell also played 10 minutes against Harvard, chipping in two points, two blocks, one rebound and one assist. 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.

PEARSON MAKES STARTING LINEUP: Senior co-captain Jessica Pearson has appeared in seven games so far this season and made her second collegiate start against St. Peter's. During the Dec. 6 game at Vermont, Pearson set new career highs with 11 points scored and 25 minutes played.

NEWS ON COACH GIBBONS: Bill Gibbons is now in his 24th season as head coach of the Holy Cross women's basketball team with a overall career record of 464-235 and a 192-52 mark in the Patriot League. Last season, Gibbons led his team to its fourth consecutive 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 games 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 of the 18 league titles. During its 18 seasons in the Patriot League, Holy Cross has finished the regular season 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 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).

LAST TIME OUT: Vermont's Courtnay Pilypaitis recorded a triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, to lead the Catamounts to a 71-53 victory over the Holy Cross women's basketball team on Saturday afternoon at Patrick Gymnasium. Jessica Pearson led the Crusaders with 11 points and Marygrace Jay added seven points, as both players set new career highs. Vermont opened the game with a 10-0 run, including a pair of three-pointers by Pilypaitis. Holy Cross responded with a 5-2 spurt to cut the lead to seven points, but a few minutes later the Catamounts went on a 10-1 run to bring their advantage back to double-figures. Vermont eventually took a 16-point lead (33-17) into the locker room. The Catamounts opened the second half with a 15-6 spurt, and eventually increased their lead to 30 points (62-32) with 6:44 left to play. The Crusaders closed out the game with a 21-9 run, as Vermont won by 18 points. In addition to her 11 points, Pearson finished with three steals, two rebounds and two assists in a career-high 25 minutes played. Meredith Ward added seven points, five rebounds and two assists for Holy Cross.

MERRIHUE HITS NEW HEIGHTS: Senior co-captain Jessica Merrihue has appeared in eight games this season, making four starts. Her season has been highlighted by her performance in her first collegiate start against Boston College on Nov. 18, in which she scored six points, blocked three shots and grabbed one rebound in nine minutes played. Merrihue has also added new career-highs in free throws (four), free throw attempts (five), blocks (three) and steals (three).

FRONT AND CENTER: Senior center Kathy Gruzynski (Elk Grove, Ill.) has come off the bench to appear in all eight games and start twice for Holy Cross. She played a season-high 21 minutes versus Boston College on Nov. 18 and tallied five points, five rebounds, three blocks and one assist in 14 minutes played versus Harvard on Nov. 20. 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. In her best performance of the 2007-2008 season, Gruzynski scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed six rebounds against regular season league champion American.

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

NEXT UP FOR THE `SADERS: Holy Cross returns to action, playing its sixth game in a row on the road, traveling to Northeastern for a game on Monday, December 22, at 2:00 p.m.