GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (3-4, 0-0 PL) vs. Harvard (3-3, 0-0 Ivy League)
Date: December 2, 2009
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Place: Lavietes Pavilion (2,195), Cambridge, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Jeremy Lechan, play-by-play, www.worcesterpike.com, internet
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 6-4
Last Meeting: Harvard 73, Holy Cross 57 (November 20, 2008, Worcester, Mass.)
SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall Holy Cross leads, 6-4
In Cambridge, series ties 2-2
At Lavietes Pavilion, series tied 2-2
Bill Gibbons vs. Harvard, 2-2
Kathy Delaney-Smith vs. Holy Cross, 2-4
Current Win Streak Harvard, two games
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST HARVARD: Wednesday's contest between Holy Cross and Harvard marks the 11th meeting between the two teams, dating back to the first meeting held during the 1977-1978 season. The teams played annually for six-consecutive years, with the Crusaders winning four of the six match-ups. The first game, back during the 1977-1978 season, was the worst loss for Holy Cross, who was a Division III team at the time. The Crusaders only managed to score 19 points against the Crimson, losing by a 73-19 final. In the team's inaugural season as a Division I program, Holy Cross earned its third victory of the series, topping Harvard on Dec. 11, 1982, 85-67. Sixteen years later, on Dec. 3, 1999, head coach Bill Gibbons won his first match-up against the Crimson, 89-61, at the ECAC Holiday Festival held at the Hart Center in Worcester. The teams have played in three-consecutive seasons after a seven-year hiatus. Since the 2006-2007 season, Harvard has won two of three games against Holy Cross, outscoring them 210-182. The Crusaders look to earn their third victory on Harvard's home court Wednesday, as the teams are knotted at 2-2 in games held in Cambridge, Mass.
HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE IVY LEAGUE: In program history, Holy Cross has played against four of the eight teams that compete in the Ivy League. In all, the Crusaders have won 16 of the 28 match-ups against Ivy League opponents. Harvard and Yale have been the most frequent Ivy League teams on the Holy Cross schedule, competing against the Crusaders a combined 21 times. Holy Cross has already played against Yale this year and will play Dartmouth in its third and final Ivy League match-up of the 2009-2010 season on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010. Against all Ivy League teams, Holy Cross has never lost to Brown (3-0), and also boasts winning records against Yale (6-5) and Harvard (6-4). Dartmouth has caused the most trouble for the Crusaders, winning four of the six contests all-time.
O'DELL AND FREMEAU NAMED TO DEAD RIVER CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Senior Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I) and junior Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) were selected to the Dead River Classic All-Tournament team after their stellar performances in the two games against tournament host Maine and Penn State on Nov. 27 and 28. Holy Cross was the only school with two players selected to the five-player All-Tournament team. Maine's Kristin Baker, Buffalo's Kourtney Brown and Penn State's Alex Bentley rounded out the final three spots. Over the course of the classic, Fremeau and O'Dell combined for four double-digit scoring performances, collecting a total of 64 points. O'Dell tallied a season-high 17 points against Maine and then topped it with 19 points against Penn State. O'Dell's 19 points led all scorers on both sides of the court. Fremeau scored 14 points in each game, respectively. Fremeau brought down a season-high nine rebounds against Maine and tied for the team-high with five rebounds in the following match-up with the Lady Lions. They both played for a total of 148 minutes in two games, and average of 37 minutes per-game. Penn State's Tyra Grant took home the Dead River Classic MVP award.
BIG D: Defense has been a major factor for Holy Cross in its seven contests thus far. The team has held its opponents to under 60 points in four games, including both match-ups in the Dead River Classic. The Crusader defense came up huge in the championship game against Penn State, who came in to the contest averaging over 70 points-per-game. They held the Lady Lions to just 52 points, including just one three-point shot in nine attempts, a season-low for the squad. The team also held Penn State's top shooter, senior Tyra Grant, to a season-low 13 points. She was averaging 16 points-per-game coming into the contest. Along with the 52 points allowed against Penn State, Holy Cross has held Bryant to 45 points, Central Connecticut to 50 points and Maine to 59 points.
1,000 POINT UPDATE: Senior captains Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) and Bethany O'Dell became just the eighth and ninth juniors to become part of the 24-member Holy Cross 1,000-point club last year. Going into the 2009-2010 season, they ranked 14th (1,195 points) and 19th (1,104 points) on the all-time scoring list respectively. In just seven contests, the two captains have already jumped at least two spots on that list. McFadden, who has scored 80 total points this season, moves into the 11th spot with 1,275 career points, jumping Kris Shields, Mary Helen Walker and Anna Kinne. O'Dell, who leads the team with 97 points thus far, has just entered the 1,200-point mark with 1,201 total career points. She enters in to a tie for 14th all-time with Kris Shields.
FREMEAU REACHES NEW HEIGHTS: Whitney Fremeau is continuing to establish herself as a valuable scorer and rebounder for the Crusaders. So far this season she has already tied her career-highs in field-goals made (8), points (18) and minutes played (36). She marked a season-high of nine rebounds against Maine on Nov. 27, two shy of her career-high. She has been the top-scorer for the team in two contests (18 at Yale and 17 at Bryant) and has also led or tied in the team in top rebounds in six of seven performances. She is averaging 35.1 minutes played per game, which is already 15 more minutes played than her career average of 18.7 minutes. She is also perfect from the free-throw line thus far, sinking all eight of her attempts. In seven games played, she leads the team in field goal percentage (39.6), field goal attempts (96) and field goals made (38). She is also teams leading rebounder with 46 total boards, an average of 6.6 rebounds per-game.
LEAPS FOR LEPLEY: Freshman Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) has made a major comeback after sitting her entire high school senior season with a knee injury. She earned her first career starts against Maine and Penn State on Nov. 27 and 28 and averaged 19 minutes played in each game. She has already tied for the team-high in rebounds in two contests (four against Boston College and five against Penn State), bringing her total rebounds to 16 in seven contests. She scored a career-high eight points against Boston College on Nov. 24 and has scored 20 points in all, averaging 2.9 points-per-game. She leads her class in almost all categories and ranks third on the team with eight steals.
THE WARD IMPACT: Sophomore Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.), who started the first five games for the Crusaders at point guard, was not listed as a starter in the following two contests. Coincidentally, Ward responded to change with a career-game against Maine. In her 29 minutes played, Ward scored a career-high eight points on 3-of-7 shooting, tying her best field goal percentage (42.9) of the season. Two of her three field goals made came from behind the three-point line, giving her a career-high two three-point shots made. She went 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, tallying her best three-point performance ever. On the season, Ward is averaging 26.7 minutes played, 4.3 points-per-game and 2.0 rebounds-per-game. She ranks second on the team with nine steals, already one more steal than her eight steals from the entire 2008-2009 season.
MAJOR MINUTES: The team's three scoring leaders, junior Whitney Fremeau and seniors Briana McFadden and Bethany O'Dell also spend the most time on the court for the Crusaders, rightfully so. Fremeau leads the team with an average of 35.1 minutes played while McFadden follows with 34.3 minutes and O'Dell clocking in with an average of 33.7 minutes. Most impressively, O'Dell has scored the most points in the least amount of minutes played (97 points in 236 total minutes). Fremeau has scored 87 points in 246 minutes while McFadden has 80 points in 240 minutes. The three rank fourth, fifth and eighth amongst their Patriot League opponents respectively.
BEYOND THE ARC: The Crusaders have found a new scoring weapon this season, the three-point shot. In seven contests, the team has attempted 127 three-pointers, compared to their opponents who have tried 108 three-point shots. In all, the team has recorded a 29.8 percent three-point average, while opponents have made just 27.8 percent of their attempts. Last season, Holy Cross collected 534 three-point tries next to its opponents' 597 attempts. Seven players on the 2009-2010 roster have already made a three-point shot, with senior Bethany O'Dell leading the way with a total of 18 three-pointers made.
CALM UNDER PRESSURE: The Crusaders have remained strong from the free throw line through five games this season. The team averages 70.1 percent from the line, making 89 of 127 attempts. Junior Whitney Fremeau leads the team with a perfect 8-for-8 free throw performance while sophomore Meredith Ward has gone 9-of-11 for the team's second-best performance. Senior Briana McFadden's perfect 8-of-8 free throw outing against Boston College on Nov. 24 is a Patriot League game high. 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.
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. This year's team boasts the most experience at guard, with four seniors and another returner,s ophomore Meredith Ward, owning the position. So far this season, the guards have combined to score 218 points and have stolen the ball a position-high 33 times. The guard position also leads the team in assists, combining for 53 dishes.
POUNDING THE BOARDS: One major downfall for this year's team is their ability to get rebounds. With six players listed under 6-0, bringing down boards has been a struggle for the team. In seven contests, opponents are out-rebounding the Crusaders 309-216, a margin of 13.3 boards per-game. The team started the season with its best rebounding outing, 41 against Yale, but has since decreased its numbers, pulling down a season-low 21 rebounds against No. 1 Connecticut. They currently average 30. 9 rebounds per-game and are led by junior Whitney Fremeau who averages 6.6 rebounds per-contest. She places eighth amongst Patriot League leaders, while Army's Erin Anthony leads the league with 10.8 rebounds per-game.
TALE OF TWO HALVES: Scoring in the second half has also been troublesome for the Crusaders so far this season. While opponents outscore Holy Cross in both halves, the team has kept opponents within six points in the first 20 minutes. So far Holy Cross has scored 206 points in the first half next to opponents 212 points. They have taken a lead into the halftime in five of seven match-ups. The second half is a bit more lopsided, with opponents tallying a 237-166 second half scoring advantage. Luckily, the team has escaped the comeback attempts in three contests, while losing the lead to Yale (66-60) and Penn State (52-48).
SCOUTING THE CRIMSON:
HEAD COACH: Kathy Delaney-Smith is in her 28th season at the helm of the Crimson. She is the winningest Ivy League women's basketball coach of all-time, owning a 27-year coaching record at Harvard of 419-298, with a 247-109 record in Ivy League play. Included in those marks are eight 20-win seasons, 11 Ivy titles, a .500 record or better in 20 of the last 21 campaigns, and six trips to the NCAA tournament in the last decade. With Delaney-Smith at the helm, Harvard has finished lower than fourth in the Ancient Eight only three times and has finished in the top three in League standings in each of the past seven years, including a share of the Ivy title in 2005 and 2008 and outright titles in 2002, 2003 and 2007.
2009-2010 Team: After starting the season 2-0, the Crimson have gone 1-3 to stand at .500. They most recently played in the Omni Hotels Classic held Nov. 27 and 28. After winning its first game, the Crimson fell 67-65 against Colorado in the championship roud. Harvard has three players scoring in double figures, with junior Emma Markley leading the way at 15.5 points per game. Freshman Victoria Lippert and sophomore Brogan Berry average 15.0 and 11.3 ppg., respectively. Junior Jackie Alemany has dominated the boards for the Crimson pulling down 5.8 rebounds per game. The Crimson, who have not scored less than 60 points this season, average 70.2 ppg. Its opponents average 71.8 ppg. Harvard is also getting outrebounded by its opponents, 240-198. In all, Harvard is shooting 42.2 percent from the floor, 76.6 percent from the free throw line and 40.2 percent from beyond the arc.
NEXT UP FOR THE CRUSADERS: Holy Cross will host its first opponent, Northeastern, at the Hart Center on Saturday, Dec. 5. Tip time is set for 12:30 p.m. in Worcester, Mass., and can be heard on 100.1 FM, The Pike. Live stats will also be available by going to http://livestats.prestosports.com/holycross/. Norhteastern has taken two of the last three meetings from the Crusaders.