Women's Basketball Takes On Vermont Before Breaking For Finals Monday

Jess Pearson

Full Game Notes in PDF Format

The Teams: Holy Cross (3-6, 0-0 PL) vs. Vermont(5-1, 0-0 America East)
Date: December 7, 2009
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play, www.worcesterpike.com, internet
Television Coverage: WCTR-TV3, Worcester; Kevin Shea; play-by-play, Amy O'Brien; color
Series Record: Vermont leads, 7-6
Last Meeting: Vermont 71, Holy Cross 53 (December 6, 2008, Boston, Mass.) 


        Overall........................................................ Vermont leads, 7-6

        In Worcester............................................ Holy Cross leads, 5-2

        At the Hart Center................................... Holy Cross leads, 5-2

        Bill Gibbons vs. Vermont...................................................... 3-7

        Sharon Dawley vs. Holy Cross............................................. 3-1

        Current Win Streak.................................. Vermont, three games


SERIES HISTORY AGAINST VERMONT: Monday's competition between Holy Cross and Vermont marks the 14th time in program history that the two teams have matched up. The Catamounts hold an all-time 7-6 advantage over the Crusaders and has earned four victories in the last five match-ups since the year 2000. The teams first met in 1982 with Holy Cross winning 93-76. The Crusaders went on to win the following three contests, as head coach Bill Gibbons earned his first victory against the Catamounts on Jan. 16, 1990. The Catamounts got their first series victory in 1991 and continued on a three-game win streak, picking up wins in 1993 and 1994. Holy Cross closed out the nineties with a 73-66 home victory in 1995. The series picked back up in 2002, with Vermont earning its fourth series win, 70-63. The teams have been annual competitors since Vermont head coach Sharon Dawley entered the scene in the 2003-2004 season, with her team posting three wins since 2006 and outscoring the Crusaders 192-150.


HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE AMERICAEAST CONFERENCE: Holy Cross has played against seven of the nine teams that compete in the America East Conference. This season, Holy Cross has either played or will play against two other America East teams, Maine and New Hampshire. The Crusaders took on Maine in the first round of the Dead River Classic held Nov. 27, earning a 61-59 victory. Combined, Holy Cross has registered an all-time 27-16 record against Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Against the other six conference teams, the Crusaders have notched 25 wins and six losses throughout program history. New Hampshire has been the most frequent America East opponent for Holy Cross as they have played in 18 total match-ups against the Wildcats, earning 12 victories.


PLAYING THE CATAMOUNTS:  There are only two division I colleges that have the Catamount nickname. Besides Vermont, Western Carolina also uses the Catamount nickname, which is defined as "any of various wild cats such as a cougar or lynx." The Crusaders have never faced the Western Carolina Catamounts. Against Vermont, Holy Cross is just one win shy of tying the all-time record, as they have won six of 13 match-ups against the team.


HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Monday's game marks the second-consecutive home contest for Holy Cross this season, a place where opponents have had trouble adjusting to. The Holy Cross women's basketball team has a 79.8 home victory percentage since becoming a Division I program. The 2009-2010 season marks the 35th season of women's basketball competition at the Hart Center. The team holds an all-time 324-97 advantage at home with the year's team dropping its first Hart Center contest in double overtime against Northeastern, 89-82. 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 153 meetings against this year's home opponents.


O'DELL MOVES AHEAD AMONGST PATRIOT LEAGUE CAREER LEADERS: Senior Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) moved one step closer to becoming the Patriot League's top performer in three-point shots made after her 6-of-12 three-point shooting performance Saturday against Northeastern. Her six three-point shots gives her 242 career three-point shots made, moving into second place amongst the Patriot League career leaders for three-point shot made. She surpasses Lehigh's Sara Ellis (238) and needs three more field goals to tie Navy's Courtney Davidson for first.


OVERTIME THRILLERS: Saturday's 89-82 overtime loss against Northeastern marked the 24th time the Holy Cross women's basketball team has played in overtime since Bill Gibbons became head coach over the 1985-1986 season. Four of those 23 overtime games have gone into double overtime, with Holy Cross earning an even 2-2 record when forced in to extra periods. Two of the double overtimes were played against Fordham while Lehigh and New Hampshire collected the other two.


BIG D FROM OUTSIDE: Three-point field goal defense has been a major factor for Holy Cross in its nine contests thus far. The team has held its opponents to under 40 percent from three-point range in all nine games, collecting a total 29.7 total three-point percentage on the season. In all, opponents have made just 46 three-points shots in 154 attempts. Bryant was only able to drop four of its 22 attempts for Holy Cross' best defensive performance against the three, 18.2 percent. The Crusaders also held Central Connecticut (23.8) and Northeastern (29.7) to under 30 percent from three-point range while Connecticut and Maine managed an opponent-high of 37.5 percent from beyond the arc.


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 nine contests, the two captains have already jumped at least two spots on that list. McFadden, who has scored 115 total points this season, moves into the 11th spot with 1,295 career points, jumping Kris Shields, Mary Helen Walker and Anna Kinne. She needs 59 points to rank No. 10. O'Dell, who leads the team with 134 points thus far, has now entered the 1,200-point mark with 1,238 total career points. Her 22-point performance on Saturday moves her past Mary Helen Walker and Anna Kinne for 12th place.


FREMEAU REACHES NEWHEIGHTS: Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) 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) and points (18, twice).  She earned a career-high 45 minute performance in the double overtime game against Northeastern. She also 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 nine performances. She is averaging 36.2 minutes played per game, which is already 17 more minutes played than her career average of 18.7 minutes. She is also perfect from the free-throw line thus far, sinking all 18 of her attempts. In nine games played, she leads the team in field goal percentage (39.8), field goal attempts (123) and field goals made (49). She is also the teams leading rebounder and free-throw shooter totaling 53 total boards, an average of 5.9 rebounds per-game and a perfect 18-of-18 from the free-throw line.


LEAPS FOR LEPLEY: Freshman Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) has made a major comeback and impact after she sat out her entire high school senior season with a knee injury. In Saturday's double overtime game, Lepely marked season and career-highs of 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting. She also earned three-consecutive starts against Maine, Penn State and Harvard and 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 20 in nine contests. In all, Lepley averages 3.3 points-per-game. She leads her class in almost all categories and ranks fourth on the team with eight offensive rebounds.


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. She returned to the starting lineup against Harvard and Northeastern. Coincidentally, Ward responded to the 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 25.0 minutes played, 3.3 points-per-game and 1.6 rebounds-per-game. She ranks second on the team with 19 assists, topping her career-high of six assists from last year.


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. Over the double overtime loss, Fremeau continues to lead the team with an average of 36.2 minutes played while McFadden follows with 35.9 minutes and O'Dell clocking in closely behind with an average of 35.7 minutes. Most impressively, O'Dell has scored the most points in the least amount of minutes played (134 points in 321 total minutes). Fremeau has scored 119 points in 326 minutes while McFadden has 115 points in 323 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 nine contests, the team has attempted 141 three-pointers, compared to their opponents who have tried 165 three-point shots. In all, the team has recorded a 30.3 percent three-point average, while opponents have made just 29.7 percent of their attempts. Last season, Holy Cross collected 534 three-point tries next to its opponents' 597 attempts. Eight 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 27 three-pointers made.


CALM UNDER PRESSURE: The Crusaders have remained strong from the free throw line through nine games this season. The team averages 72.9 percent from the line, making 129 of 177 attempts. Junior Whitney Fremeau leads the team with a perfect 18-for-18 free throw performance as she marked career-highs with six makes in six attempts against Northeastern. Senior Bethany O'Dell has gone 19-for-23 for the team's second-best performance. Senior Briana McFadden's perfect 8-for-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, sophomore Meredith Ward, owning the position. So far this season, the guards have combined to score 297 points and have stolen the ball a position-high 51 times. The guard position also leads the team in assists, combining for 68 dishes.


POUNDING THE BOARDS:  One major downfall for this year's team is their ability to grab rebounds. With six players listed under 6-0, bringing down boards has been a struggle. In nine contests, opponents are out-rebounding the Crusaders 391-277, a margin of 12.7 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 30.8 rebounds per-game and are led by junior Whitney Fremeau who averages 5.9 rebounds per-contest. She places ninth amongst Patriot League leaders, while Army's Erin Anthony leads the league with 9.9 rebounds per-game.


Record: 5-1, 0-0 AmericaEast
HEAD COACH: The 2009-10 season marks the seventh season at the helm of the Vermont women's basketball program for head coach Sharon Dawley. She was introduced as head coach at the University of Vermont on June 11, 2003. Dawley owns a career record of 243-143 in 15 years as a head coach at the collegiate level. She is 106-80 in six seasons at Vermont and ranks third among the all-time winningest coaches. She picked up her 100th career win at Vermont with a 66-56 win over Hartford in the semifinals of the 2009 America East Championship. Dawley earned her 200th career victory with an 80-64 win over Harvard on December 16, 2007.

2009-2010 TEAM: Vermont was picked to win the America East Championship by the league's coaches in the preseason poll. Seniors Courtnay Pilypaitis and May Kotsopoulos were named to the America East Preseason All-Conference Team. Pilypaitis was a unanimous selection for the third straight year, while Kotsopoulos earned her first appearance on the squad. The duo have led the Catamounts to a 5-1 record on the season thus far. They are coming off a 78-59 home win over Manhattan at Patrick Gym on Saturday, Dec. 5. Vermont received votes (22) for the third straight week in the latest USA Today/ESPN Top-25 Poll that was released on Dec. 2. The Catamounts jumped from two votes on Nov. 17 to nine on Nov. 24 and 22 on Dec. 2.

NEXT UP FOR THE CRUSADERS: Holy Cross will take a break in game action from Dec. 7 through Dec. 20. They will then hit the road again to take on its third America East team, New Hampshire, on Sunday, Dec. 20. Game time is set for 1:00 p.m. in Durham, N.H. The Crusaders hold a 12-6 record all-time against the Wildcats.