Crusaders Prepared For An Exciting New Season
As the 2017-2018 season is set to begin for the Holy Cross women’s basketball team, the Crusaders are preparing for what should be an exciting year for the program. Holy Cross returns four of its key starters from last season, and will look to use its experienced roster to contend in the Patriot League in the coming months.
The Crusaders will look to compete with a mix of experienced veterans and young student-athletes ready to step up and make an immediate impact in the lineup. Each of the Crusaders’ top six scorers from last season will be back in action this season and look to impress on the hardwood.
Here is a look at the Crusaders as they get set for the new season:
BYRNE, DOHERTY AND THOMAS-WAHEED TO LEAD AS CAPTAINS
Seniors Tricia Byrne, Katie Doherty and Infiniti Thomas-Waheed will serve as team captains for the 2017-2018 season. Both Byrne and Doherty will offer added leadership experience, having served as team captains last year.
“It was clear in our preseason that Infiniti, Katie and Tricia all stepped up as leaders and earned their captaincy,” said head coach Bill Gibbons. “All five seniors have done a great job of getting the team connected and I’m very pleased with the leadership we’ve received from them.”
Thomas-Waheed will look to once again be a leader on both sides of the ball. Last season, she led the Crusaders with 13.9 points per game last season, while ranking second on the team with 5.6 rebounds per game. Thomas-Waheed also totaled 38 steals and 23 blocks on the year while adding 49 assists.
Doherty, and Academic All-Patriot League selection in 2016-2017, returns to lead the team as a second-year captain. Last year Doherty posted 7.4 points per game while ranking second on the team with 59 assists. She also posted 41 steals on the year while averaging 3.6 rebounds per game.
Byrne also returns as a second-year captain for Holy Cross in 2017-2018. Last year she averaged 8.6 points per game while leading the Crusaders with 90 assists on the year. Byrne also led the team in steals, totaling 56 for the season.
The Crusaders will also look for leadership from seniors Amy Hasenauer and Shannon Druck, as well as juniors Miranda Nixon and Maggie Locke. Hasenauer added 66 points and 32 blocks before missing part of the season due to injury, while Druck appeared in nine games at guard during the year for Holy Cross. Locke also missed playing time due to injury in 2016-2017, while Nixon posted 39 points and 52 rebounds on the year.
SOPHOMORE CLASS LOOKS TO REACH NEW HEIGHTS
Holy Cross will welcome back five talented sophomores who will look to build on their experience as freshmen last season to make an impact early in the Crusaders’ lineup. The sophomore class features returners Lauren Manis, Nicole Morris, Kathryn Pedi, Madalyn Smith and Megan Swords.
“All five of our sophomores have matured and shown a lot in this preseason,” said Gibbons. “I think you see the most improvement from freshman to sophomore year, and all five members of the class worked hard this summer and they’ve shown it.”
Manis, who was named the Patriot League’s Rookie of the Year and Second Team All-Patriot League, ranked second on the team with 13.3 points per game while leading the squad with 7.6 rebounds per game. She also led the Crusaders with 34 blocks on the year, and added 48 steals with 34 assists on the year. She scored in double digits 24 times on the year, while posting 20 or more points on four occasions. Manis also posted double-digit rebounds 10 times and notched eight double doubles.
Smith posted 132 points on the season last year, averaging 21.4 minutes per game at guard. She also added 58 assists to rank third on the Crusaders, and posted 16 steals. Pedi and Morris will both look to have an impact at guard as well this year. Pedi added 38 points on the season in 2016-2017, while Morris posted 34 points and 21 assists. Swords will also return to the lineup after missing part of the season due to an injury. She totaled 23 points and added 36 rebounds.
CRUSADERS WELCOME THREE FRESHMEN TO THE SQUAD
The Crusaders will welcome three freshmen to the squad for the new season, who will be aiming to have an early impact in their collegiate careers. This year’s freshman class includes Jenay Faulkner, Mia Mazza and Shannon Murphy.
Faulkner was a four-year varsity basketball player at Greencastle-Antrim, where she captained her team as a senior. She finished her high school career as the school’s all-time leading scorer, and set a pair of school records for single-game three pointers (9) and points in a single game (38). She earned multiple awards during her career, including Public Opinion Player of the Year, Penn Live Big 15 First Team All-Star and First Team Pennsylvania Sportswriters Class All-State.
Mazza was a four-year varsity starter at St. Francis, where she led the team as a captain in her senior year. As a junior, she helped lead her team to its first state regional championship since 2003. Mazza received multiple honors during her high school career, including all-conference and DuPage County Top 5 Juniors by the Daily Herald.
Murphy competed four years on the varsity basketball team at Watertown, serving as a team captain her senior year. In her high school career she was named Boston Herald All-Scholastic, Boston Globe All-Scholastic, Middlesex League Most Valuable Player and earned Middlesex League All-Star honors all four years.
A CHALLENGING SCHEDULE AWAITS
The 2017-2018 season will feature another challenging slate of games for Holy Cross. The Crusaders will play 11 non-conference games to begin their season, including five home games and six road contests, before heading into Patriot League play.
“I like our schedule, we have some early road games that will test us early on,” said Gibbons. “I think it will be challenging and it will really get us ready for the Patriot League slate.”
Holy Cross will begin their non-conference schedule with four-straight road games against UMass Lowell (Nov. 12), Marist (Nov. 14), Rider (Nov. 18) and Hofstra (Nov. 21). They will also face Brown (Nov. 29) and Rhode Island (Dec. 17) on the road. The Crusaders will start the Holy Cross will play host to Boston College on Dec. 6, and defending America East Champion Albany on Dec. 3. The Crusaders will also play host to Bryant on Nov. 26, Vermont on Dec. 9 and Dartmouth on Dec. 20.
The Patriot League slate will begin for Holy Cross at Colgate on Dec. 29. Holy Cross will compete in a home-and-home with each of the nine other members of the league during the season. The Crusaders’ conference home slate will be highlighted by defending Patriot League Champion Bucknell on Jan. 20, Turnpike Trophy rival Boston University on Feb. 10 and preseason co-favorite Army West Point on Feb. 14.
Season and single-game tickets to see the Crusaders are on sale now. Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to see the best collegiate basketball in Central Massachusetts! Tickets for Holy Cross basketball can be purchased online at GoHolyCross.com/tickets or over the phone by calling 1-844-GOCROSS.