Women's Basketball Hungry For Road Win Against Army Wednesday
Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (4-12, 0-1 PL)
vs. Army (7-8, 1-0 PL)
Date: January 13, 2010
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Christl Arena (5,043), West Point, N.Y.,
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM,
Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play, www.worcesterpike.com,
Live Video Streaming: Patriot League All-Access, www.all-access.cbssports.com
Series Record: Holy Cross leads,
Last Meeting: Army 54, Holy Cross 47 (March 7, 2009, Bethlehem, Pa.)
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST ARMY: Wednesday's match-up will be the 44th meeting all-time between Holy Cross and Army, with the Crusaders owning a 28-15 advantage over the Black Knights. The teams first met in Holy Cross' inaugural season of Patriot League play. The Crusaders won the first meeting at the Hart Center, 67-57 on Jan. 23, 1991. The Crusaders went on to win the next four meetings, outscoring Army 255-221. Head coach Bill Gibbons is responsible for the 28-15 record, as he suffered his first career loss against the Black Knights, 54-52, in an away game on Jan. 13, 1993. Christl Arena, Army's home court, has given the Crusaders some trouble, as they have lost the last five games held in West Point. They collected a four-game road win streak against the Black Knights from Jan. 11, 1997 until Jan. 22, 2000 before losing seven of the last nine at Christl Arena. Army head coach Dave Magarity has been very successful against Holy Cross, collecting a 9-1 record in his first four seasons at the helm. Army won the first seven contests with Magarity as head coach before the Crusaders broke up the slide on Jan. 14, 2009, 57-41. The Black Knights currently hold a two-game win streak going into Wednesday's game.
HOLY CROSS AGAINST CONFERENCE FOES: The 2009-2010 season marks the 21st year of Patriot League competition for the Crusaders. Over the last 20 seasons, the team has played in a total of 252 league match-ups, dropping only 52 games total, a .810 winning percentage. 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. The Crusaders have been the most successful against American, Colgate, Lafayette, Lehigh and Navy. In all, Holy Cross has collected winning records amongst every Patriot League opponent. Army has tallied the most wins against the Crusaders, picking up 15 wins in 43 contests. Bucknell is the only other squad with over 10 wins against the Crusaders, earning 12 wins in 46 contests.
PLAYING THE BLACK KNIGHTS: Army is the only school amongst collegiate athletic teams that has taken on the specific Black Knights nickname. While there is only one Black Knights team, 25 schools bear the Knights nickname. Combined, the Crusaders have only faced two of those schools, Army and Mount Saint Mary's. In program history, Holy Cross has compiled a 30-15 record against programs with the Knights mascot.
O'DELL ON TOP: In just a matter of 30 seconds, senior Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) made two consecutive three-point shots to take hold of the Patriot League's all-time record for made three-pointers against New Hampshire on Dec. 20, moving her into the top spot past Navy's Courtney Davidson (2000-2004). On the season, O'Dell has scored in double figures, as well as knocking down a three-point shot, in all but two games. The Dec. 29 meeting with La Salle was a rare occurrence as O'Dell did not make a three-point shot for the first time in 11 consecutive contests. She was then held to just two points against league foe Lafayette on Jan. 9, not making a shot in six attempts. Most impressively, the Lafayette games was just the 10th time in O'Dell's 108 career games played that a three-point shot did not fall for her. After not making a three-point shot against La Salle, O'Dell returned with a career-best performance, scoring 28 points on 11-for-18 shooting against Howard. Her 11 total field goals were a career-high and included five three-point shots. In the following game against Rhode Island, O'Dell tallied her best three-point performance of the season, going six-for-seven beyond the arc, a 85.7 percent three-point outing. Her performance is an individual high amongst league players this season as well. She now has 48 three-point shots made so far this season and 263 on her career. O'Dell is a clear team leader in her senior season as she leads the team with a 14.8 points per game average, topping out in points (236) and field goals made (81). O'Dell also ranks amongst the nation's best, ranking 17th in three-point field goals percentage (47.1) and 14th in three-point shots made per game (3.2) as of Jan. 8.
QUIET IMPACT MAKES NOISE: Senior captain Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) finally got the big break she was yearning for in the game against Rhode Island on Jan. 5. In the game, McFadden tallied a season-high 27 points on a season-best 8-for-16 field goal performance. She also marked her best three-point shooting performance, making five-of-seven shots beyond the arc. Her five three-point shots made tied her career high, which she tallied against Lafayette in February of last season. Through the 16 contests so far, McFadden has remained one of the team's most consistent performers, scoring in double-digits in 14 of 15 contests, including the last nine contests, and playing in the most minutes for the Crusaders (575). She averages 13.4 points-per-game, which ranks second on the team and fifth in the Patriot League. Opponents also view her as a scoring threat, as she has gone to the free-throw line a team-high 101 times, sinking 74 shots. Her perfect six-of-six free throw outing against Rhode Island was the fifth time this season and 33rd time in her career that she has made every one of her free throw attempts. McFadden has led or tied for the team's top scoring performance in five contests and has made herself the team's most consistent rebounder, tying her career-high of nine rebounds against Howard on Dec. 30. She is second on the team in rebounding average (4.5 rebounds per game). Her 27 offensive and 45 defensive rebounds also rank second. She is 30 rebounds away from tying her career-high of 102 rebounds in a season from 2008-2009.
FREMEAU REACHES NEW HEIGHTS: Junior Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) is continuing to establish herself as a valuable scorer and rebounder for the Crusaders. So far this season, Fremeau has scored in double-figures in 11 of 16 contests, including a six-game streak from Nov. 29 through Dec. 20. She has already tied her career-highs in field-goals made (8, twice) and points (18, twice) and has scored 189 points, just 54 points away from the 243 points she scored in the entire 2008-2009 season. She played a career-high 45 minutes in the double overtime game against Northeastern on Dec. 5. She has marked a season-high of nine rebounds twice this season, against Maine on Nov. 27 and then again versus Dartmouth on Jan. 2. Her season-high of nine rebounds is just two shy of her career-high (11 against Rhode Island on Dec. 9, 2008). 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 the team in top rebounds in eight of 16 performances. She is averaging 33.5 minutes played per game, which is already 15 more minutes played than her career average of 18.7 minutes and has started in every contest so far. She broke up her perfect free throw percentage against Vermont on Dec. 7, but remains the team's top free throw shooter, sinking 37 of 42 attempts. In 16 games played, she leads the team in field goal attempts (187) and is second in field goals made (74). She is also the team's leading rebounder and shot-blocker, totaling 82 boards, an average of 5.1 rebounds per-game and seven blocks.
LEAPS FOR LEPLEY: Freshman Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) has come a long way after sitting out her entire high school senior season with a knee injury. On Jan. 2, Lepley poured in a season and career-high 13 points on six-for-seven shooting against Dartmouth, leading the team in scoring for the first time this season. She hit new heights as she recorded her first career double-double against Lafayette on Jan. 9, leading the team in scoring and rebounding with 12 points and a career and season-high 10 rebounds. After 16 total games, Lepley has increasingly become the team's most versatile player. She has scored in double-digits in five contests and has at least two rebounds in the last 15 contests, averaging 3.1 rebounds per game. For her continued impact and improvement, Lepley was named the Patriot League's Rookie of the Week for the second time in three weeks on Jan. 4 after averaging 9.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per game in three contests against La Salle, Howard and Dartmouth. She has played at least 20 minutes in the last nine contests, including a season-high 41 minutes against Howard. She has also earned nine starts for her efforts, including three-consecutive starts against Maine, Penn State and Harvard and again in the last six games. She has already tied for the team-high in rebounds in three contests (four against Boston College, five against Penn State and 10 against Lafayette), bringing her total rebounds to 74 in 16 contests. She leads her class in all categories thus far and is within the team's top five in all scoring categories including points (96) and scoring average (6.0). She ranks first on the team with a .446 field goal percentage and ties for first with seven blocks.
MOTIVATING WARD: Sophomore Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.), who has played in all 16 games, including eight starts, for the Crusaders at point guard, uses an interesting method as motivation. When not listed as a starter, Ward responds with top career performances. In the Hawk Holiday Classic, Ward scored a season-high nine points against La Salle and then bested that performance with a 15 point outing against Howard, marking her career-high. She also tallied career-highs in field goals made (6); three-point shots made (3) and three-point shots attempted (4) and tied her career-high of 34 minutes played. In the Dartmouth game on Jan. 2, Ward kept up her solid play, going three-for-seven from the field for nine points. She has hit a three-point shot in four of the last five contests, totaling 11 this season. She now has nine more three-point shots made than her two three-pointers from the entire 2008-2009 season. In 16 contests, Ward is averaging 25.0 minutes, 4.4 points-per-game and 1.4 rebounds-per-game. She ranks first on the team with 36 assists, topping her six assists from all of last year.
STOPPING THE SLIDE: The 80-71 victory over Rhode Island on Jan. 5 was a major uplift for the Crusaders, who had lost the prior eight games. The eight game slide was the worst for the team since becoming a Division I competitor, as it was also the worst losing streak head coach Bill Gibbons had ever encountered. The only other team to lose more games in a row was the first-ever women's basketball team in Holy Cross history. The squad, who played as a Division III institution, lost all 12 of their games in the 1974-1975 season. The second-worst losing streak came during the 1979-1980 season under head coach Kevin McAuley. That year's team dropped nine straight game before going on to win seven of the final nine game played. The 1979-1980 team finished with an overall record of 9-12.
ROLLER COASTER RIDE: The Holy Cross women's basketball team, who came into the Jan. 5 contest against Rhode Island averaging under 60 points per-game and a 36.5 percent field goal average, combined all forces to put forth its best offensive performance of the season. After 40 minutes of play, the team came away with its best overall field goal performance of the season, making 51 percent of its shots, second-highest among all Patriot League teams this season. The team also marked its top three-point performance, 13 of 22 three-point shots (59 percent). The Crusaders added a 17-of-18 free throw outing (94 percent), another season-high. Fast forward to the Jan. 9 game against Lafayette. Instead of continuing to put up top numbers, the team registered its worst offensive performance of the season. The first half saw just three of 24 field goal attempts fall for 15 points, one of the least amount of points scored in a half in Holy Cross team history. The team finished with .250 field goal percentage, its lowest this season. The Crusaders also made just one of 16 three-point shot attempts (6.3 percent). The 39 points scored in the game was the second-lowest point production this season, as Holy Cross mustered 34 points against No. 1 Connecticut on Dec. 2.
MAJOR MINUTES: The team's three scoring leaders, seniors Briana McFadden and Bethany O'Dell and junior Whitney Fremeau also spend the most time on the court for the Crusaders, rightfully so. McFadden is first on the team with an average of 35.9 minutes. O'Dell follows with an average of 34.2 minutes played while Fremeau clocks in behind with an average of 33.5 minutes. O'Dell has scored the most points in the amount of minutes played (236 points in 547 total minutes) while McFadden has tallied 214 in 575 minutes. Fremeau, who has played in a total of 536 minutes, has scored 189 points. The three rank fourth, sixth and eighth amongst their Patriot League opponents in minutes played respectively.
BEYOND THE ARC: The Crusaders have capitalized on their biggest scoring weapon this season, the three-point shot, after marking their best performance against Rhode Island (13-of-22, .591). The combined 13 three-point shots made ties the team record for a single game, set back on Jan. 29, 1996 against Providence. It also ranks second amongst Patriot League team performances this season. In 16 contests, the team has attempted 302 three-pointers, compared to their opponents who have tried 276 three-point shots. The team needs 56 more three-point shots made to tie the 161 shots made from the 2008-2009 season. After the team's worst three-point performance of the season, a one-of-16 outing against Lafayette on Jan. 9, it now has a .348 three-point percentage overall. The Crusaders have shot better than 35 percent from beyond the arc in four of the last five contests, including the season-high 59 percent performance against Rhode Island. 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 48 three-pointers made.
CALM UNDER PRESSURE: The Crusaders have remained strong from the free throw line through 16 games this season and registered their best performance against Rhode Island, missing just one free throw attempt (17-18 total). The team continued to stay strong, missing just two of 14 free throw attempts in the Patriot League opener against Lafayette. In 16 games, the team averages 72.4 percent from the line, making 212 of 293 tries. They have shot over 65 percent from the line in 12 contests, including the last three match-ups. The team did hit a rough patch, marking a season-low eight-for-15 (53.3 percent) free throw performance on Dec. 29 against La Salle. Junior Whitney Fremeau leads the team and is second in the Patriot League with a free throw average of .881 percent (37-42). She marked career-highs twice with six makes against Northeastern and New Hampshire. Senior Briana McFadden's perfect eight-for-eight 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. 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 O'Dell led the team with an 84.6 free-throw percentage, missing just 10 of her 65 attempts at the line.
THIEVES IN THE NIGHT: The 2009-2010 Crusaders have been quick on their feet, collecting 135 steals in 16 games, an average of 8.4 steals per-contest. The team ranks second amongst Patriot League opponents in the steals category and is averaging 0.7 more steals than the 2008-2009 team. They combined to steal the ball a season-high 16 times against Northeastern on Dec. 5 and have stolen the ball over 10 times in six contests. Their 16-steal performance ranks as a conference-high. Senior Bethany O'Dell is the team-leader with 28 steals thus far, fourth highest in the league. Her six-steal performance against Northeastern also ranks amongst the league's individual highs.
TALE OF TWO HALVES: Scoring in the second half has been the most troublesome for the Crusaders so far this season. However, the 15 total points scored in the first half against Lafayette on Jan. 9 was a season-low and ranks among the fewest points scored in a half in team history. The team scored a record-low 13 points in the second half against Connecticut on Dec. 7, 2000. While opponents outscore Holy Cross in both halves, the team has kept opponents within nine points in the first 20 minutes, taking a lead into the halftime in nine of 16 match-ups. In all, Holy Cross has scored 470 points in the first half next to opponents' 510 points. The second half is a bit more lopsided, with opponents tallying a 552-454 second half scoring advantage. Luckily, the team has escaped second-half comeback attempts in four contests, while losing the lead to Yale (66-60), Penn State (52-48), Northeastern (89-82), New Hampshire (80-72) and most recently Howard (87-80). The team also has scoring trouble when playing in overtime games, getting outscored 41-27 and resulting in two overtime losses (against Northeastern and Howard).
YEAR OF THE GUARD: Six of 12 players on the 2009-2010 roster are listed as a guard, with seniors Briana McFadden and Bethany O'Dell returning as starters. This year's team boasts the most experience at the position, with four seniors and another returner, sophomore Meredith Ward, owning the role. So far this season, the guards have combined to score 570 points and have stolen the ball a position-high 72 times. The guard position also leads the team in assists, combining for 123 dishes.
POUNDING THE BOARDS: One major downfall for the 2009-2010 squad is the ability to rebound. The Jan. 2 contest against Dartmouth marked the first time this season that the team has not been outrebounded, as each team brought down 32 boards apiece. With six players listed under 6-0, rebounding has been a struggle. In 16 contests, opponents are out-rebounding the Crusaders 654-486, a margin of 10.5 boards per game. The team started the season with its best rebounding outing, 41 against Yale, but then decreased its numbers, pulling down a season-low 21 rebounds against No. 1 Connecticut. The team has brought down fewer than 30 rebounds in five games thus far. The team has, however, posted at least 30 rebounds in the last four contests and currently averages 30.4 rebounds per game. Holy Cross is led by junior Whitney Fremeau who averages 5.1 rebounds per contest.
ROAD WARRIORS: The 2009-2010 season began with eight contests away from the Hart Center. The team completed its non-conference portion of the season with a 3-8 away record. Looking to improve on the road, the Crusaders will play in three consecutive road games against conference foes Army, Bucknell and Navy. Amongst those three teams, Holy Cross has won 37 and lost 18 road match-ups all-time. The team hosted Connecticut at the DCU Center on Nov. 20 and then hosted three straight home contests at the Hart Center from Jan. 2-9. 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.
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. He has compiled a 480-257 record as head coach, ranking 25th on the active Division I win leaders list. 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.
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).
1,000 POINT UPDATE: Senior captains Briana McFadden 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 16 contests so far, the two captains have already jumped at least three spots on that list. McFadden, who has scored 214 total points this season, just moved past Ann Lambiotte (1,354 career points) to take full grasp of the No. 10 spot with 1,409 career points, McFadden has also jumped Kris Shields, Mary Helen Walker and Anna Kinne. O'Dell, who leads the team with 236 points thus far, has now entered the 1,300-point mark with 1,340 total career points. She has moved past Mary Helen Walker and Anna Kinne for 12th place, just behind Ann Lambiotte. She needs 14 points to take hold of the 11th spot.
SCOUTING THE BLACK KNIGHTS:
Record: 7-8, 1-0 Patriot League
Head Coach: Army's Dave Magarity is in his 27th season as a collegiate head coach, 23 of which were spent in the men's ranks and is currently in his fourth season at Army. Magarity took the reins at West Point over the 2006-07 season and owns a 74-46 record, including a 28-14 record amongst Patriot League opponents. He recorded his 375th career victory in Army's opener on Nov. 13 and collected his 750th game as a collegiate head coach on Dec. 31 against Ramapo. Magarity has also found great success against the Crusaders, registering a 9-1 record in the 10 match-ups.
2009-2010 Squad: This year's Army team enters Wednesday's game with a 7-8 record, 1-0 in the Patriot League. The team earned its first conference win against Colgate, 63-57, on Jan. 9 after going 6-8 in non-league play. They picked up wins against Wagner, Delaware State, Air Force, St. Francis (N.Y.), Fairleigh Dickinson and Ramapo while falling to Loyola (Md.), Yale, Northeastern, Manhattan, then No.16-ranked Oklahoma, Albany, then No.24-ranked Georgia Tech and Troy. The Black Knights have proven to be tough at home, going 6-2 at Christl Arena. The team returns four letter winners, including three starters from last season. Junior forward Erin Anthony leads the team offensively and defensively with 17.5 points per game and 10.2 rebounds per game and is a three-time Patriot League Player of the Week honoree so far this season. Junior guard Nalini Hawkins is the other player putting up double-digit figures for Army, averaging 10.5 points per game. With the exception of two games this season, head coach Dave Magarity's starting lineup has included forwards Anthony and Kait Goodall, F/G Laura Baranek and guards Jessie Coiffard and Hawkins.
NEXT UP FOR THE CRUSADERS: Holy Cross continues its Patriot League road trip with a visit to Lewisburg, Pa. to take on Bucknell. The game will be held at the Sojka Pavilion beginning at 2:00 p.m. on Jan. 16. The Crusaders hold a 34-12 all-time record against the Bison.