Women's Basketball Takes On Bryant In Third Straight Road Contest
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (1-1, 0-0 PL) vs. Bryant (0-1, 0-0 NEC)
Date: November 18, 2009
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Chace Athletic Center (2,600), Smithfield, R.I.
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play, www.worcesterpike.com, internet
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 3-0
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 73, Bryant 54 (January 7, 2009, Worcester, Mass.)
SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall- Holy Cross leads, 3-0
In Smithfield, R.I.- Holy Cross leads, 1-0
At the Chace Athletic Center- Holy Cross leads, 1-0
Bill Gibbons vs. Bryant- 1-0
Mary Burke vs. Holy Cross- 0-1
Current Division I Win Streak Holy Cross, one game
THE SERIES WITH BRYANT: Bryant reentered the Holy Cross women's basketball schedule after becoming a Division I institution in the 2008-2009 season. Last year marked the third meeting in program history between the Crusaders and Bulldogs, with Holy Cross winning the game 73-54 at the Hart Center. Holy Cross head coach Bill Gibbons and Bryant head coach Mary Burke met in competition for the first time last year in their combined 42 years of coaching, with Gibbons earning his first career win against the Bulldogs. The teams first played each other as Division II institutions dating back to the 1976-1977 season. Under the guidance of head coach Pat Corcoran, the Crusaders topped the Bulldogs 72-26, the largest margin of victory for Holy Cross in the three meetings. The teams then matched up again in 1981, with Holy Cross earning a 94-64 win.
COMMON OCCURRENCES:Wednesday night's match-up will be the second contest the Crusaders have played against a team with the Bulldogs nickname. The two teams also play against eight common opponents. The Crusaders have already played Yale (L, 60-66) and Central Connecticut (W, 55-50) while Bryant played against common opponent Dartmouth (L, 47-57). Both team also competed against Assumption in their exhibition game. Other common opponents for the two squads are Lafayette, Colgate, Lehigh, and Monmouth.
MCFADDEN NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE TEAM: Senior guard Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) has been named preseason All-Patriot League in a vote by conference head coaches and sports information directors. Last season, McFadden earned first team All-Patriot League accolades and was also named to the conference's All-Tournament team. In other preseason poll voting a Preseason Player of the Year were selected. Lehigh junior Erica Prosser was tabbed the 2009-2010 Patriot League Preseason Player of the Year and as a member of the preseason All-Patriot League Team. Prosser was the Patriot League Player of the Year in 2008-2009 and a First-Team All-Patriot League selection. Also on this year's preseason All-Patriot League squad are American junior Michelle Kirk, Army junior Erin Anthony and Lehigh senior Alex Ross.
SENIOR EXPERIENCE LEADS THE WAY: The 2009-2010 women's basketball squad boasts a wealth of experience, with five seniors leading the way. The senior class includes Tayana Carper (Shrewsbury, Mass.), Christy Cushnie (Vienna, Va.), Briana McFadden, Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) and Jessica Pearson (West Chester, Pa.). The seniors were the last class to compete in the NCAA Tournament after they won the 2007 Patriot League Championship as freshmen. That year they were seeded at No. 16 seed and played No.1 Duke in the Greensboro region. The five players have combined for 397 games played, having won 47 games, including 35 Patriot League match-ups. The 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 squads posted the most three-pointers made in single-season team history and also marked the most three-pointers attempted. The senior class also contributed to teams that rank among the best in school history in free throws attempted, free throw percentage and most games played.
JUMP START: Two Holy Cross players wasted no time, marking career-highs in the Nov. 13 game against Yale. Junior Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) tallied 18 points to lead the team, tying her career-high which she marked against Colgate on Feb. 25, 2009. The start against Yale also tallied Fremeau's second-consecutive start in a season opener for her career. She also played for a career-high 35 minitues. Sophomore Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) followed suit, tying her career-high in points (7) and set a career-high in minutes played (34). She also tied a career-high with five assists, which she originally set in her freshman campaign against Northeastern on Dec. 22, 2008.
CRUSADERS PICKED IN A TIE FOR SECOND IN PRESEASON POLL: Holy Cross was picked to finish in a tie for second place with American in the 2009-2010 Patriot League preseason poll, receiving 76 votes. Defending Patriot League champion Lehigh was chosen as the preseason favorite to capture the league title. Lehigh received 13 first-place votes and a total of 97 points. American and Holy Cross followed in a tie for second with 76 points apiece. Filling the final five spots were Navy (fourth, 54 points), Bucknell (fifth, 52 points), Army (sixth, 50 points), Colgate (seventh, 22 points) and Lafayette (eighth, 21 points).
MAKING THEIR MARK: The 2009-2010 team captains, Briana McFadden and Bethany O'Dell have already made their mark in the school and league record books and are looking to continue their impact. Both McFadden and O'Dell became members of the Holy Cross 1,000-point club last season, as McFadden tallied her 1,000th point at home against Army on Jan 14 while O'Dell scored her 1,000th point at home against Lafayette on Feb. 7. They are the 25th and 26th players and just the eighth and ninth juniors in school history to reach such a feat and currently rank 14th and 19th on the all-time scoring list respectively. In the Holy Cross single-season record books, McFadden currently ranks first with her 37.5 average minutes played during the 2008-2009 season while O'Dell holds the top three spots in three-pointers made (87, 2006-2007, 65, 2008-2009, 63, 2007-2008). O'Dell also holds the top rank in three-pointers attempted (206, 2006-2007) and is sixth in three-point percentage (42.2, 2006-2007). McFadden places third and fifth in free throws made (152, 2008-2009, 137, 2007-2008) and fifth and eighth in free throws attempted (191, 2008-2009, 169, 2007-2008). Both players are tied for sixth with 32 games started in 2007-2008. McFadden is already fifth on the career records list for three-pointers attempted (448); three pointers made (143) and free throw percentage (79.8). O'Dell currently ranks third on the Holy Cross career records list for three-point percentage (39.4) and also ranks first all-time at Holy Cross and fourth all-time in the Patriot League with 215 career three-point field goals made.
FRESH FACES ADD SPARK: The 2009-2010 freshman class of Kaitlin Cole (Springfield, Pa.), Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) and Alexis Nicholas (Jamaica, N.Y.) are looking to make an immediate impact on this year's team. Cole and Lepley played a total of 31 minutes in the exhibition game against Assumption, combining for seven points, seven rebounds, two steals and a block. Cole comes to Worcester from Springfield, Pa., where she played for the 2009 PIAA AAA state championship team at Archbishop Carroll. She will play at forward for the Crusaders, after she finished her high school senior season at guard averaging 12.3 points-per-game and was selected to the All-Philadelphia Catholic League first team. Lepley is coming off injury, missing most of her high school senior year due to a leg injury. She was arguably one of the best players in Massachusetts, playing for the four-time EAC championship team at Bishop Feehan. She will compete for time at both point guard and shooting guard, having completed her high school career with an average of 16 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals per game. Nicholas hails from Jamaica, N.Y., and looks to make an impact as a true guard, splitting time between the point guard and shooting guard spots. Nicholas played five years of varsity basketball at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. In her time there, she scored a school-record 2,069 total points and was named team MVP for four-consecutive seasons. In her senior campaign she averaged 29 points, eight rebounds and eight assists per-game.
CALM UNDER PRESSURE: As a team last year, the Crusaders made 389 of their 524 free-throws attempts. The combined percentage of 74.2 ranks first all-time for a Holy Cross team. It also ranked first in the Patriot League and 28th nationally. Senior Briana McFadden sank 153 of her 191 attempts to rank first on the team in free throw attempts, earning her the third spot among Holy Cross single-season records. Fellow senior Bethany O'Dell led the team with a 84.6 free-throw percentage, missing just 10 of her 65 attempts at the line.
SOLID FOUR FOR FRONTCOURT: This year's team will have three letterwinners coming back to its frontcourt in addition to one skillful freshman. Returning to the forward position will be junior Whitney Fremeau, senior Tayana Carper and sophomore Marygrace Jay. Freshman Kaitlin Cole also adds to the squad's four forwards and will vie for major playing time. The frontcourt will lean on Fremeau, who is one of the most experienced forwards on the squad. Fremeau comes off a season where she mainly played at power forward for the first time, adapting to the role well. In the 2008-2009 season, she scored 243 points and brought down a total of 142 rebounds. Her 4.7 rebounding average led the team as she also recorded career-highs in points (18 vs. Colgate), rebounds (11 at Rhode Island), assists (5, twice) and minutes played (34, three times) in last year's campaign. She also notched her first career double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds) against Rhode Island. Carper scored a career-high 24 points against Missouri last year prior to her injury. She also marked career-highs in field goals made (10), field goals attempted (13) and minutes played (41) in 2008-2009. Jay looks to become a force in the frontcourt after spending her freshman year at the forward position. She saw action in 18 games last year, totaling 31 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and three steals. She also made all of her field goal attempts in four different contests in 2008-2009, while averaging 4.9 minutes, 1.7 points and 0.9 rebounds per-game.
YEAR OF THE GUARD: Six of 12 players on the 2009-2010 roster are listed as a guard, with Briana McFadden and Bethany O'Dell returning as starters. Three other letterwinners, Christy Cushnie, Jessica Pearson and Meredith Ward will also add to the position's flexibility while freshman Alexis Nicholas adds even more depth. This year's team boasts the most experience at guard, with four seniors and another returner owning the position. McFadden and O'Dell have already proved their talent while fellow seniors Cushnie and Pearson continue to be major players. A fifth-year senior, Pearson looks to contend for playing time at point guard. She made some waves last season, notching career-highs in points (11 at Vermont), rebounds (eight at Lafayette) and minutes played (32 at Lafayette). Cushnie also remains an ever-improving, involved player. At guard, she set career-highs in minutes played (36), three pointers-made (three) and three-pointers attempted (six) against Colgate last season. She also averaged a career-high 2.6 points-per-game (76 total) and collected 26 steals, leading the team in two contests. In addition, Cushnie came back in great shape to be the team's go-to substitution player. Because coach Gibbons looks to move McFadden more off the ball, from point guard to the wing, Ward will look to win the starting spot at point guard. In her freshman campaign, Ward saw playing time in 27 games, making five starts. She averaged 1.2 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists per-game, while also high seven points in two games and brought down a season-high five rebounds against Vermont.
VALUABLE VERSATILITY: The final two roster spots belong to two players who will swap time as a forward/guard. Junior Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.) will play her third season listed as a forward/guard. Last year she saw action in 22 games, starting 11 contests. In all, she averaged 22 minutes, 5.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Her rebound average tied for second highest on the team and she also finished the season with a .725 free throw percentage, third highest on the team. May led the team in steals in six contests. She has started in 25 contests over her career averaging 21.6 minutes played. She has made 73 field goals, 29 free throws, has brought down 88 rebounds, is two assists away from a 100-career assists and also has 55 total steals over her first two seasons in a Crusaders uniform. Freshman Amy Lepley is also listed at forward/guard and is well experienced in both roles.
PATRIOT LEAGUE DOMINANCE: This year marks the 21st season for the team as a member of the Patriot League. Over 20 seasons, the team has played in a total of 252 league match-ups, dropping only 52 games total. Combined, Holy Cross has taken home 11 championships, while two other schools (Lehigh and Bucknell) have collected two each to follow. Head coach Bill Gibbons has been along for the entire ride and is responsible for the 200-52 league record. The 1990-1991 and 1996-1997 squads both went undefeated in conference play. Holy Cross also boasts 11 Patriot League Players of the Year and 26 first team All-Patriot League selections, the most in the conference.
HEAD COACH BILL GIBBONS: 25th SEASON:
Bill Gibbons is entering a milestone 25th season at the helm of the Holy Cross women's basketball program in 2009-2010. His quarter-century pledge to the team has made a major impact on all aspects of the women's basketball world and especially in the surrounding community. On April 30, 2009, Gibbons received the prestigious Paul N. Johnson Award, given to a member of the Worcester community who has greatly contributed to Worcester area basketball. With his service, the name Gibbons has become a fixture in the realm of women's basketball. He has led the Crusaders to nine Patriot League Championships in the last 15 years. He has also made 12 postseason appearances (11 NCAA Tournaments and one WNIT) in his 24 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 East. The sixth coach of the women's program at Holy Cross, Gibbons has enjoyed the longest tenure in the position. He has led the Holy Cross women's basketball program 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 (357 wins as head coach of the Holy Cross men's basketball program), who had hired him to be his assistant coach in 1981. Now with more than 450 wins under his belt, Gibbons is the second-winningest coach in Holy Cross Athletics history, behind legendary baseball coach Jack Barry, who totaled 616 wins from 1921-1960.
WELCOME TO WORCESTER: There will be three new faces handling front office duties for the 2009-2010 Crusader basketball squad including assistant coach Mike Roux, athletic trainer Janine Ferro and director of basketball operations Charde Floyd. Roux was hired on July 2, 2009 after spending the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Southern New Hampshire University. He helped lead the Penmen to an overall record of 18-11 during the 2008-2009 season. Prior to coaching at SNHU, Roux spent two seasons as an assistant coach for the Assumption College women's basketball team. While at Assumption, Roux assisted with on floor coaching, recruiting, scouting and alumni relations. Ferrero will act as the main athletic trainer for the team. From August 2007 until May of 2009, Ferro was a graduate assistant athletic trainer at Grand Canyon University, where she worked on a daily basis with the men's soccer and men's volleyball teams as well as assisting with the men's wrestling team. Ferro is an approved Clinical Instructor and worked as a modalities and kinesiology lab instructor at Grand Canyon. Outside of collegiate athletics, Ferro has worked as a personal trainer and a physical therapy aide and remains an active member of the Arizona Athletic Training Association. Floyd, who was appointed to the newly created position of director of basketball operations, will assist with Holy Cross while working as a teacher/clinician for the New England Children's Center. Prior to working with the program, Floyd played at Assumption for four seasons. As a player, Floyd was captain of the Greyhounds from 2006-2008. She etched herself into the Assumption record books, finishing her career as a 1,000-point scorer and a member of the 1,000-rebound club. She was named the Northeast-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 and was a Northeast-10 first and second team All-Star. While serving as the director of operations at Holy Cross, Floyd will help organize team travel, monitor compliance logs, organize video exchange and supervise team managers as well as learning all the ins and outs of the program.
ROAD WARRIORS: The 2009-2010 season begins with eight contest away from the Hart Center. The team will serve as the host against Connecticut at the DCU Center on Nov. 20, but will not have an official home game until Dec. 5 when they match-up against Northeastern. The last time a team began the season with so many away games was the 1991-1992 season when the team played in six road contests. The squad went 3-3 in those contests and finished the season with a 16-13 overall record.
MCINERNEY MOVES UP RANKS: After spending last year as an assistant coach for the Crusaders, Ann McInerney was promoted to associate head coach of the program on July 1, 2009. After just one year she showed enough passion, dedication, commitment and pride to the Holy Cross women's basketball tradition to earn her new title. McInerney joined the Crusaders in 2008 after spending the previous season as an assistant coach at Harvard where the Crimson captured their 11th Ivy League title after posting an 11-3 league record. From 1999-2005, McInerney was the head coach at Merrimack College in which she led the team to a record of 119-60 including three NCAA appearances and back-to-back trips to the NCAA Division II Final Four. In 2004, she was named both the Northeast Regional Coach of the Year and Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year. She was also named the 2004 New England Basketball Hall of Fame Division II Coach of the Year. McInerney began her career at Merrimack in 1992, when she was an assistant coach for the women's basketball team for two seasons.
HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: The Holy Cross women's basketball team has an 80.1 home victory percentage since becoming a Division I program. The Hart Center has been the Crusaders' home court for over 34 years. The 2009-2010 season will mark the 35th season of women's basketball competition at the Hart Center. The team has won an all-time 324-96 advantage at home with last year's team going 7-6. The Crusaders posted 24 straight winning records at home from 1979-1980 through 2002-2003 and have five straight winning records going into 2009-2010. Combined, the Crusaders have won 126 of 152 meetings against this year's home opponents.
NEXT UP FOR THE CRUSADERS: On Friday, Nov. 20, Holy Cross will take on the undefeated Connecticut Huskies for the 20th time in program history. The game will take place at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. beginning at 7:00 p.m. This is the third time the teams have played at DCU Center, with the Huskies holding a 2-0 advantage against the Crusaders.
Record: 0-1 Affiliation: Northeast Conference
HEAD COACH: Mary Burke, the 2007 Rhode Island Women's Basketball Coach of the Year, concluded her 18th season as head coach of the Bryant women's basketball team, guiding the Bulldogs into their first year of Division I competition in 2008-09. Bryant, led by junior Kelsey O'Keefe's 16.0 ppg scoring average and 8.0 rebounding average, posted the most wins of the four Division I schools in Rhode Island (PC, URI, and Brown). Coach Burke has been a mainstay in Rhode Island basketball throughout her playing and coaching years. Under Burke's tutelage, the Bulldogs have made it to the NCAA Tournament seven times, including back-to-back appearances in 2004 and 2005, as well as their final appearance in the Division II Tournament in 2008.
2009-2010 SQUAD: Bryant is led by senior captain and forward Kelsey O'Keefe. Last season was full of milestones for O'Keefe and the Bulldogs as she surpassed the 1,000-point mark and currently sits in fifth place all time with 1,391 points. The senior is also in the top five of three other career statistical categories. She is second all-time in made field goals (508), fourth all-time in rebound (670) and fifth all-time in three-point field goals made (119). Looking to lead the way with O'Keefe will be the three other returning starters, Kristin Mraz, Courtney Schermerhorn and Siamone Bennett. The Bulldogs have six seniors on their roster. The team was also tabbed to finish 10th in the Northeast Conference (NEC) for the 2009-10 season. Last year the team went 11-18 in their inaugural Division 1 season. In 2008-09, Bryant posted 6 wins against Northeast Conference opponents. This season the Bulldogs will play a full NEC schedule which includes 15 home games.