Women's Basketball Hosts Colgate Wednesday Night
Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (5-15, 1-4 PL) vs. Colgate (6-13, 1-4 PL)
Date: January 27, 2010
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: Sports Juice Radio;
Dick Lutsk, play-by-play, www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Live Video Streaming: Patriot League All-Access, www.all-access.cbssports.com
Series Record: Holy Cross leads,
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 75, Colgate 57 (February 25, 2009, Worcester, Mass.)
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST COLGATE: Wednesday's match-up will be the 43rd meeting between Holy Cross and Colgate, with the Crusaders owning a dominant 39-3 advantage over the Raiders. The teams first met in Holy Cross' inaugural season of Patriot League play (1990-1991), earning two back-to-back victories, a 95-72 home victory and then an 83-72 tally on the road. The Crusaders were handed their first loss against Colgate on Jan. 18, 1994, falling 83-67 in Hamilton, N.Y. Twenty-one consecutive victories followed for Holy Cross, including 103-72 win at the Hart Center. That victory marked the greatest amount of points a Crusader team has posted over a Patriot League opponent all-time. Holy Cross head coach Bill Gibbons is responsible for the 39-3 record while Raiders head coach, Pamela Bass, is winless in her four meetings against the Crusaders. Holy Cross enters Wednesday night's contest with a six-game win streak, dating back to the 2006-2007 season. In those six contests, Holy Cross has outscored Colgate 420-322.
UNBEATEN AT HOME: Wednesday's game also marks the 17th time Colgate has taken the trip to Worcester, Mass. In the last 16 Hart Center contests, the Crusaders have come away with a win. The 16-0 home game win streak is the longest for Holy Cross against any opponent. There are a total of 47 visitors who have not won at the Hart Center, but Colgate has been the most unsuccessful all-time. Lafayette was 0-21 at the Hart Center going into the Jan. 9 contest, but earned its first win over Holy Cross, 43-39, to break the streak.
HOLY CROSS AGAINST CONFERENCE FOES: The 2009-2010 season marks the 21st year of Patriot League competition for the Crusaders. Since joining the league, Holy Cross has started conference play with two losses just one other time, the 2006-2007 season. After falling at home against American on Jan. 24, the Crusaders now stand at 1-4 in league play, tying for the last spot in conference standings. Over the last 20 seasons and in the five games played this season, the team has competed in a total of 257 league match-ups, dropping 56 games total, a .782 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 201-55 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 16 wins in 44 contests. Bucknell is the only other squad with over 10 wins against the Crusaders, earning 12 wins in 47 contests. Holy Cross has collected the best winning percentage (.929) against Colgate, winning 39 of 42 games played.
PLAYING THE RAIDERS: The nickname Raiders is used by a total of seven collegiate institutions, including Colgate. The six other schools that own the Raiders title are Franklin (Columbus, Ohio), Milwaukee School of Engineering, Rivier College (Nashua, N.H.), Roberts Wesleyan (Rochester, N.Y.), Southern Oregon and Wright State (Dayton, Ohio). Colgate is the only Raiders school that Holy Cross has played against in program history.
O'DELL ON TOP: Senior Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) remains on top of her game despite limited playing time over the last three games. After seeing a combined 46 minutes of playing time, O'Dell has continued to be an offensive threat, as she remains the team's top performer in points per game (13.5), overall points (269) and three-point field goals made (52). O'Dell also continues to rank amongst the nation's best, ranking 20th in three-point field goals percentage (44.8) and 19th in three-point shots made per game (2.9) as of Jan. 17. Her influence is now written in the Patriot League record books as she currently holds the Patriot League's all-time record for made three-pointers (267). So far this season, O'Dell tallied 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 2009-2010, going six-for-seven beyond the arc, an 85.7 percent three-point outing. In 110 career games played, O'Dell has 267 three-point shots made.
SEASONED IMPACT: Senior captain Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) has continued to add on to her already stellar career stats so far this season, using her veteran status as a model of inspiration. After the team fell in eight consecutive games, McFadden led the charge against Rhode Island on Jan. 5, tallying a season-high 27 points on a season-best 8-for-16 field goal performance to help achieve a much needed 80-71 victory. She also marked career-bests for three-point shooting, making five-of-seven shots beyond the arc. The game against Bucknell on Jan. 16 was the first time in McFadden's four-year career that she did not suit up for the Crusaders due to a concussion from the Army game. She returned to the starting lineup in the following two games against Navy (Jan. 20) and American (Jan. 24), combining to score 29 points. She tallied a .550 field goal percentage last week and has shot at least 50 percent from the field in four of the last five games. Since coming to Holy Cross, McFadden has played in 114 contests, including 111 starts at guard. Through 20 contests so far this season, McFadden has scored in double-digits in 16 contests, including 10 of the last 12 games. McFadden averages 13.3 points per game and even after sitting out on Jan. 16, still ranks second on the team and fifth in the Patriot League in scoring. Opponents also view her as a scoring threat, as she has gone to the free-throw line a team-high 114 times, sinking 80 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 six contests, including the most recent 16 point performance against American. She has also made herself the team's most consistent rebounder, tying her career-high of nine rebounds against Howard on Dec. 30. She currently averages 4.3 rebounds per game and is 20 rebounds away from tying her career-high of 102 rebounds in a season set last year.
FREMEAU REACHES NEW HEIGHTS: Junior Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) is continuing to establish herself as a valuable scorer, rebounder and overall team player for the Crusaders. So far this season, Fremeau has scored in double-figures in 13 of 20 contests, including a six-game streak from Nov. 29 through Dec. 20. She has been the team's top-scorer in two of the last four contests, posting 15 points against Army and Navy. She has already tied her career-highs in field-goals made (8, twice) and points (18, twice) and has scored 233 points, just 10 points away from the 243 points she scored in the entire 2008-2009 season. Fremeau recently set a career-high with eight assists against Bucknell on Jan. 16, topping her prior career-high of five assists. She played a career-high 45 minutes in the double overtime game against Northeastern on Dec. 5 and has started every game so far this season, proving her value. She has brought down a season-high of nine rebounds three times so far, against Maine on Nov. 27, versus Dartmouth on Jan. 2 and against Army on Jan. 13. Her season-high of nine rebounds is just two shy of her career-high (11 against Rhode Island on Dec. 9, 2008). She has also led or tied the team in top rebounds in nine of 19 performances. She averages 34.0 minutes played per game, ranking fifth amongst Patriot League players. Fremeau remains the team's top free throw shooter, also ranking second in the league. She has made 40 of 47 attempts (.851). In 20 games played, she leads the team in field goal attempts (236) and field goals made (93). She is also the team's leading rebounder and shot-blocker, totaling 105 boards, an average of 5.3 rebounds per-game and eight 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. With her double-double, Lepley became the only freshman in the league to reach such a feat this season and is also the only member on the 2009-2010 Holy Cross roster to score a double-double as a freshman. After 20 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 19 contests, averaging 3.5 rebounds per game. For her continued impact and improvement, Lepley has been named the Patriot League's Rookie of the Week three times, most recently after notching her first career double-double and putting up 10.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest in games from Jan. 4-Jan. 10. She has played at least 20 minutes in 12 of the last 13 contests, including a season-high 41 minutes against Howard. She has also earned 13 starts for her efforts, including three-consecutive starts against Maine, Penn State and Harvard and again in the last 10 games. She has already led or tied for the team-high in rebounds in four contests (four against Boston College, five against Penn State, 10 against Lafayette and nine against Bucknell), bringing her total rebounds to 70 on the season. She leads her class in all categories thus far and is within the team's top five in all scoring categories including points (106) and scoring average (5.3). She ranks second on the team with a .396 field goal percentage and is tied for first with eight blocks.
WARD IN THE CLUTCH: Sophomore Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.), who has played in all 20 games, including 11 starts for the Crusaders at point guard, has turned herself into a clutch player down the stretch. Ward provided a last minute rally that brought the game against Army on Jan. 13 down to the wire, making a clutch three-point shot and follow-up jumper to get the Crusaders within two points of the Black Knights. She finished the game with eight points (two-of-four from the field). At Bucknell on Jan. 16, Ward again hit a last-minute shot towards the end of the first half, bringing the score to a one-point Bison lead heading in to the locker room. She finished that game with eight points as well, going three-of-six from the field and played a career-high 38 minutes. Her scoring continues to improve as she recently posted double-digits in the last two games, tallying 11 points on Jan. 20 against Navy and adding another 11-point performance against American on Jan. 24. She recorded the best free-throw performance of her career (six-of-six from the line) against Navy and then proved her defensive prowess as she led the team with seven rebounds against American, notching her career-high. Ward earned a career-high 15-point outing not listed as a starter against Howard, also tallying career-highs in field goals made (6); three-point shots made (3) and three-point shots attempted (4). Over the last four games, Ward averages 9.5 points. She has also hit a three-point shot in seven of the last nine contests, totaling 17 this season. She now has 15 more three-point shots made than her two three-pointers recorded last year. She has improved tri-fold in scoring as well, earning a 5.5 points per game average so far, compared to the 1.2 points she averaged last season. In 20 contests, Ward averages 26.5 minutes, a .357 field goal percentage and 1.7 rebounds.
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 on Jan. 5 (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 20 contests, the team has attempted 379 three-pointers, making 131 of them (.346 percent). The .346 percentage ranks second amongst Patriot League foes. Opponents, on the other hand, have tried 370 three-point shots, making 118 of them (.319 percent). Holy Cross' three-point field goal defensive percentage ranks fourth in the league. The team needs 30 more three-point shots made to tie the 161 shots made from the 2008-2009 season after they collected six additional three-point shots made against American on Jan. 24. Over the last five contests, the team has made 27 three-point shots in 93 attempts (.290 percent) and has shot better than 35 percent from beyond the arc in five of the last nine contests. 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 52 three-pointers made.
CALM UNDER PRESSURE: The Crusaders have remained strong from the free throw line through 20 games. The team has missed just one free-throw attempt in three contests this season, including their best performance against Rhode Island on Jan. 5 (17-18 total, .944). The team continued to stay strong, making 12 of 13 free throw attempts on Jan. 16 against Bucknell. Through all games so far, the Crusaders have shot more free throws then their opponents in 12 contests, winning five of those games. In all, the team averages 72.5 percent from the line, making 251 of 356 tries and ranking second in the Patriot League. They have shot over 65 percent from the line in 15 contests, including six of the last seven match-ups. Junior Whitney Fremeau leads the team and is second in the Patriot League with a free throw average of .851 percent (40-47). She marked career-highs three times with six makes against Northeastern, New Hampshire and Dartmouth. 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.
THIEVES IN THE NIGHT: The 2009-2010 Crusaders have been quick on their feet, collecting 163 steals in 20 games, an average of 8.2 steals per-contest. The team ranks third amongst Patriot League opponents in the steals category and is averaging 0.8 more steals than the 2008-2009 team (7.7 average). They combined to steal the ball a season-high 16 times against Northeastern on Dec. 5, also marking a conference-high. They have stolen the ball over 10 times in seven contests and have marked more steals then their opponents in eight games. Senior Bethany O'Dell is the team-leader with 31 steals thus far, seventh highest in the league. Her six-steal performance against Northeastern also ranks amongst the league's individual highs.
CHANGING THE LINE: Through 20 games so far, the Holy Cross starting lineup has changed on nine different occasions. Two starting lineups have been used a game-high five times. The squad has used four different starting lineups over the last four games, combining for a 1-4 record. The most successful starting lineup, registering a 2-3 record, consisted of seniors McFadden, O'Dell, Tayana Carper (Shrewsbury, Mass.), sophomore Meredith Ward and Fremeau. They picked up wins against Central Connecticut and Bryant while dropping decisions to Yale, Connecticut and Boston College.
HELPING HANDS: Holy Cross is currently averaging 13.2 assists per game, ranking fourth highest in the Patriot League. On the season, the team has collected a total of 264 assists, which include senior Briana McFadden's team-high of 45 assists. The team has also combined for more than 10 assists in 15 contests, including the last three meetings with Bucknell, Navy and American. They tallied a season-high of 20 assists in the overtime game against Howard and has either tied or led opponents in assists in eight games. McFadden currently ranks seventh with a 2.4 assist per game average amongst conference individuals.
TURNOVER TENACITY: Turning the ball over has not been a problem for the Crusaders this season, as they currently own a +1.5 turnover margin through 20 games. The margin is second-best in Patriot League ranks as the team has turned the ball over just 331 times while opponents have turned the ball over 353 times. The team is 4-6 in games where they turn the ball over less than opponents while they stand at 1-7 when they commit more turnovers. This theory proved true most recently against American, as Holy Cross notched 13 turnovers next to American's seven turnovers, falling by the final 64-51 score. Just 12 turnovers were made by the team against New Hampshire on Dec. 20, marking the season-low.
TALE OF TWO HALVES: Scoring in the second half has been the most troublesome for the Crusaders so far this season. For the first time since the Dartmouth game on Jan. 2 and the third time this season, the Crusaders scored more points than their opponent in the second half, outscoring Bucknell 31-17 on Jan. 16. 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 20 match-ups. In all, Holy Cross has scored 582 points in the first half next to opponents' 638 points. The second half is a bit more lopsided and has proved detrimental for the team. Opponents currently tally a 670-569 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 Howard (87-80). The Jan. 16 game against Bucknell marked the first time Holy Cross has come back from a halftime deficit to win this season. The team has also never gone in to the halftime break with a tie, as they are 1-10 after trailing at halftime and 4-5 when leading.
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. The Jan. 24 game against American was also a milestone this season, as Holy Cross outrebounded the Eagles 38-36, marking the first game Holy Cross had a positive rebounding margin. With six players listed under 6-0 and no real post player, rebounding has continued to be a struggle. In 20 contests, opponents are out-rebounding the Crusaders 807-623, a margin of 9.2 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 eight contests and currently averages 31.2 rebounds per game. Holy Cross is led by junior Whitney Fremeau who averages 5.3 rebounds per contest.
HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Holy Cross has played in six home games so far this season, earning their first win on Jan. 5 and falling in five Hart Center contests, including the last two home games. In program history, however, the Hart Center has traditionally been a place where opponents have had trouble adjusting to. The Crusaders currently have a .790 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 as the prgoram holds an all-time 325-101 advantage at home. 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 155 meetings against this year's home opponents. The last team to finish the season with a losing home record was the 2003-2004 squad, who posted five wins and seven losses on the Hart Center hardwood. Only four teams all-time have ended their seasons with losing home records.
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 481-260 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.
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, Christy Cushnie (Vienna, Va.), Briana McFadden, Bethany O'Dell 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 as a No. 16 seed and played No.1 Duke in the Greensboro region. The five players have combined for 417 games played, having won 52 games, including 36 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.
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).
MCFADDEN NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE TEAM: Senior guard Briana McFadden 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. 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 were American junior Michelle Kirk, Army junior Erin Anthony and Lehigh senior Alex Ross.
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 20 contests so far, the two captains have already jumped at least three spots on that list. McFadden, who has scored 252 total points this season, just moved past Ann Lambiotte (1,354 career points) to take full grasp of the No. 10 spot with 1,447 career points. McFadden has also jumped Kris Shields, Mary Helen Walker and Anna Kinne. O'Dell, who leads the team with 269 points thus far, has now entered the 1,300-point mark with 1,373 total career points and now holds the 11th spot, passing Ann Lambiotte. She has also moved past Mary Helen Walker and Anna Kinne.
SCOUTING THE RAIDERS:
Record: 6-13, 1-4 Patriot League
Head Coach: Colgate head coach Pamela Bass is currently in her third season at the helm of the women's basketball program. She currently holds an 18-78 overall record as the Raiders head coach, including a 3-34 Patriot League record. Her team went 5-25 last year, winning one of 15 league match-ups. Bass came to Colgate after serving as a head coach for one season at Longwood University. The Lancers finished 8-21 in 2006-07, playing two top 25 teams and five NCAA Tournament squads. She was hired as the eighth women's basketball coach in Colgate history in May of 2007.
2009-2010 Squad: The 2009-2010 Colgate squad enters Wednesday's game with an 6-13 record and matches with the Holy Cross Patriot League record of 1-4. The 71-63 victory over league-opponent Lafayette on Jan. 13 was the first win for the team since Nov. 28 as they dropped 10 straight games. The team did start off strong however, winning its first five games against Presbyterian, Rider, Alabama State, Wagner and Mount St. Mary's. The Raiders are currently on a three-game losing streak, as they lost the next conference contests against American (80-58), Lehigh (57-45) and Bucknell (60-47). They have won just two out of 10 games on the road, topping Mount St. Mary's and Lafayette. This year's team welcomes back 10 letter winners, including four starters. Two players currently average over 10 points per game and include junior guard Sami Kozlowski (10.6 ppg) and sophomore center Tricia Oakes (10.3 ppg). Oakes also leads the team defensively with an average of 5.3 rebounds per game.
NEXT UP FOR THE CRUSADERS: Holy Cross will play in its final game for the month of January, traveling to Bethlehem, Pa. for a Saturday afternoon game against Lehigh on Jan. 30. Tip time is set for 3:30 p.m. on the Stabler Arena hardwood. Lehigh currently holds a two-game win streak going in to the contest.