Women's Basketball Continues Home Stand Against Bucknell Saturday
Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (7-17, 3-6 PL) vs. Bucknell (7-15, 3-6 PL)
Date: February 13, 2010
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM,
Worcester; Dick Lutsk, 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: Holy Cross 55, Bucknell 42 (January 16, 2010, Lewisburg, Pa.)
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST BUCKNELL: Saturday's match-up will be the 48th meeting all-time between Holy Cross and Bucknell, with the Crusaders owning a 35-12 advantage over the Bison. The teams first met in Holy Cross' inaugural season of Patriot League play (1990-1991), with the Crusaders earning two back-to-back victories, a 78-59 road win and then a 94-68 tally at the Hart Center. The Crusaders and Bison split the two meetings over the 1991-1992 season. Holy Cross went on to take the next eight match-ups from Jan. 30, 1993 until Jan. 31, 1996, the longest stretch of wins against Bucknell. Head coach Bill Gibbons is responsible for the 35-12 record while Bucknell head coach Kathy Fedorjaka holds a 11-24 record against the Crusaders since taking over the reins of the women's basketball program 13 years ago. Holy Cross holds a 20-4 advantage over the Bison when playing at the Hart Center, having lost two out of the last four home meetings. Holy Cross has dropped the most amount of Patriot League games to Bucknell over the last five years, losing seven of 15 match-ups since the 2003-2004 season.
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 to Army 60-54 on Jan. 10, the Crusaders now stand at 3-6 in league play. Over the last 20 seasons and in the eight games played this season, the team has competed in a total of 261 league match-ups, dropping 58 games total for a .777 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 203-58 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 (.930) against Colgate, winning 40 of 43 games played.
PLAYING THE BISON: There are a total of eight schools in collegiate athletics that bear the Bison nickname. Two schools with the Bison mascot appear on the Crusader schedule this season, Bucknell and Howard. Out of the six schools, Holy Cross has only faced the Bison of Bucknell and Howard. The other programs include Bethany, Gaulledet, Harding, Nichols, North Dakota State and Oklahoma Baptist. Overall, the Crusaders have compiled a 36-13 record against Bison programs.
CRUSADERS HOLD PINK ZONE DAY: On Saturday, the Holy Cross women's basketball program will host "Pink Zone Day" at the Hart Center during its game versus Bucknell at 3:00 p.m. The team will be donning special edition pink "Sader Nation" t-shirts during warm-ups for breast cancer awareness. The t-shirts will also be sold throughout the game with all proceeds going to the Zona Children's Fund, a trust fund set up for the children of Mary McInerney-Zona, beloved sister of women's basketball associate head coach Ann McInerney as well as towards breast cancer research efforts. The game against Bucknell will also feature a halftime performance by the McInerney School of Irish Step Dance and an auction of pink player practice jerseys, to be held 10 minutes after the end of the game. The special edition pink "Sader Nation" t-shirts will be on sale at the promotions table throughout Saturday's contest and are already available via the Holy Cross Athletics Online Store. Donations for the Zona Children's Fund and research efforts will be accepted during the game as well.
REV. GEORGE L. O'BRIEN AWARD ON THE LINE AGAINST BISON: The Rev. George L. O'Brien Award will be presented to the most outstanding player in Holy Cross' Winter Homecoming game, held Saturday. The honor went to senior Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) last year after she scored her 1,000th career point, finishing with 21 points as the Holy Cross women's basketball downed Lafayette, 82-64. The award is named after Rev. George L. O'Brien, the former Director of Development at Holy Cross. O'Brien also served as the Athletic Department chaplain for many years.
O'DELL ON TOP: Senior Bethany O'Dell remains on top of her game despite limited playing time over the past few weeks. After seeing a combined 88 minutes of playing time in six games, O'Dell has continued to be an offensive threat, as she remains the team's top performer in points per game (12.8) and three-point field goals made (53). O'Dell also continues to rank amongst the nation's best, ranking 26th in three-point field goal percentage (41.9) as of Feb. 11. 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 (268). Highlighting this season was O'Dell's career-best performance against Howard, where she scored 28 points on 11-for-18 shooting. 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 112 career games played, O'Dell holds the top spot in the Holy Cross record books with her 268 three-point shots made and 673 attempts.
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 had lost in the prior eight consecutive contests, 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. After sitting out the Bucknell game on Jan. 16, McFadden has returned to the starting lineup in every game since, combining to score 62 points in six games. She tallied a .550 field goal percentage during the week of Jan.17-24 and notched her best field-goal performance of the season in the game against American, sinking six of her 10 attempts (.600). Since coming to Holy Cross, McFadden has played in 118 contests, including 115starts at guard. Through 24 contests so far this season, McFadden has scored in double-digits in 17 contests, including 11 of the last 16 games. McFadden averages 12.4 points per game, ranking 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 131 times, sinking 92 shots (.702) 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 a 16-point performance against American on Jan. 24. 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 4.4 rebounds per game and has now tied her career-high of 102 rebounds in a season set last year.
FREMEAU REACHES NEW HEIGHTS: Junior Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) has fully established herself as a valuable scorer, rebounder and overall team player for the Crusaders this season, and has illustrated her importance now that Patriot League play has begun. In the nine conference games so far, Fremeau averages 11.6 points and 5.4 rebounds, leading the team in both categories. She has also accumulated the most playing time, posting 307 minutes on the hardwood against league opponents. In all 24 games, Fremeau has scored in double-figures in 17 contests, including a six-game streak from Nov. 29 through Dec. 20 and in the last four games. She has also been the team's top-scorer in four of the last seven contests. Her offensive production peaked in the meeting with Colgate, where she tied her top career-mark of 18 points after making a career-high nine field goals. She also posted the team-high of 15 points against Army (Jan. 13) and Navy (Jan. 20) and 14 points against Lafayette (Feb. 6). She has now tied her career-high in points three times this season and has scored 286 points, topping the 243 points she scored over the entire 2008-2009 season. Fremeau also 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, a streak which dates back to the Feb. 25, 2009 game against Colgate. She has recorded a season-high of nine rebounds four times so far, including the games against Maine on Nov. 27, Dartmouth on Jan. 2, Army on Jan. 13 and against Lafayette on Feb. 6. 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 12 of 24 performances. She averages 33.8 minutes played per game, ranking fifth amongst Patriot League players. Fremeau remains the team and league's top free throw shooter, making 44 of 52 attempts (.846). In 24 games played, she leads the team in field goal attempts (288) and field goals made (116). She is also the team's leading rebounder, totaling 129 boards, an average of 5.4 rebounds per-game.
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/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. Because of her ever-improving performances on the hardwood and for her continued impact on the Holy Cross team, Lepley has been named the Patriot League's Rookie of the Week four times, more than any other conference player this season. She picked up her fourth award on Feb. 1 after averaging 8.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.0 steals per game in the two outings against Colgate and Lehigh. After 24 total games, Lepley has become the team's most versatile player. She has scored in double-digits in seven contests and notched another career-high against Colgate, tallying a team-high six steals. She has played at least 20 minutes in 15 of the last 17 contests, including a season-high 41 minutes against Howard. She has also earned 17 starts for her efforts, including three-consecutive starts against Maine, Penn State and Harvard and again in the last 14 match-ups. She has already led or tied for the team-high in rebounds in five contests, including six rebounds in the last contests against Army on Feb. 10. She has a total of rebounds to 85 on the season, an average of 3.5 rebounds per game. She leads her class in all categories thus far and is within the team's top five in all scoring categories including points (130) and scoring average (5.4). She ranks third on the team with a .395 field goal percentage and is now the team leader in steals (36) and second blocks (11). Her 1.6 steals per game average ranks seventh in the Patriot League.
WARD IN THE CLUTCH: Sophomore Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.), who has played in all 24 games, including 15 starts for the Crusaders at point guard, has turned herself into a clutch player, providing a spark for many team rallies. Most recently, Ward came through for seven points in the final three minutes of play against Lehigh on Jan. 30, including a three-point shot made with 10 seconds left on the game clock, giving the Crusaders a fighting chance at the end. 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, going three-of-six from the field and played a career-high 38 minutes. Her scoring continues to improve as she posted double-digits in four of the last six games, tallying 11 points in three consecutive contests against Navy (Jan. 20), American (Jan. 24) and Colgate (Jan. 27) and then 10 points against Lehigh (Jan. 30). 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. She tied her career-high with three three-point shots made against Colgate as well. Ward leads the team in three-point shot percentage (.426), sinking 23 of 54 attempts. Ward is also averaging 7.4 points against Patriot League opponents. Also highlighting her sophomore season was a career-high 15-point outing against Howard, as she also tallied career-highs in field goals made (6); three-point shots made (3) and three-point shots attempted (4). She has also hit a three-point shot in 10 of the last 13 contests. She now has 21 more three-point shots made than her two three-pointers recorded last year. She has improved tri-fold in scoring as well, earning a 5.7 points per game average so far, compared to the 1.2 points she averaged last season. In 24 contests, Ward averages 27.3 minutes, a .339 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. In 24 contests, the team has attempted 453 three-pointers and has made 151 (.333). The .333 percentage ranks second amongst Patriot League foes. Against Holy Cross, opponents have tried 426 three-point shots, making 128 of them (.300). The team most recently held Army to four three-point shots made in 14 attempts. Combined, Holy Cross' three-point field goal defense percentage ranks third in the league. The team needs 10 more three-point shots made to tie the 161 shots made from the 2008-2009 season after they collected four additional three-point shots made against Army on Feb. 10. In league play, the team has made 45 three-point shots in 159 attempts (.283 percent) and has shot better than 35 percent from beyond the arc in six of the last 13 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 53 three-pointers made.
CALM UNDER PRESSURE: The Crusaders have remained strong from the free throw line through all 24 games. The team has missed just one free-throw attempt in four contests this season, including their best performance against Rhode Island on Jan. 5 (17-18 total, .944). Through all games so far, the Crusaders have shot more free throws then their opponents in 12 contests, winning five of those games. The team currently averages .732 percent from the line, making 290 of 396 tries, ranking second in the Patriot League. They have shot over 65 percent from the line in 18 contests, including nine of the last 11 match-ups. Junior Whitney Fremeau leads the team with a free throw average of .846 percent (44-52) while three other players have made above 80 percent of their free throw attempts, including seniors Bethany O'Dell (.837) and Christy Cushnie (Vienna, Va.) (.813) and sophomore Meredith Ward (.805). 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 with their hands, collecting 196 steals in 24 games, an average of 8.2 steals per-contest. The team ranks second 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 nine total contests, including 13 steals against Colgate and 10 steals against Lehigh. The Crusaders have also marked more steals then their opponents in 11 contests, including the most recent game against Army. Freshman Amy Lepley, who collected 10 steals in two games last week, now ranks first on the team with 36 steals on the season. She also ranks seventh in the league, tied with senior Bethany O'Dell who has collected 33 total steals (1.6 steals per game). Both have recorded six steals in a single game, marking the team-high.
HELPING HANDS: Holy Cross is currently averaging 13.5 assists per game, ranking second in the Patriot League. On the season, the team has collected a total of 325 assists, including senior Briana McFadden's team-high 58 assists. The team has combined for more than 10 assists in 18 contests, including five of the last six meetings. They tallied a season-high of 20 assists twice, including the two overtime games against Howard and Northeastern. The team has also either tied or led opponents in assists in 11 games. McFadden currently ties for sixth in the conference 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 +1.0 turnover margin through 24 games. The margin is the third-best in Patriot League ranks. Altogether, the team has turned the ball over just 391 times while opponents have turned the ball over 416 times. The team is 5-7 in games where they turn the ball over less than opponents while they stand at 2-8 when they commit more turnovers. This theory proved true most recently against Lehigh on Jan. 30, as Holy Cross notched 21 turnovers next to Lehigh's 18 turnovers, falling by the final 58-52 score. The team marked 11 turnovers against Colgate's 19 turnovers on Jan. 27, winning by the final score of 65-56. The 11 turnovers made by the team against marked the season-low.
TALE OF TWO HALVES: Scoring in the second half has been the most troublesome for the Crusaders so far this season. There have been three occasions out of 24 total games where the Crusaders have outscored opponents in the second half, including the games against Dartmouth (Jan. 2), Bucknell (Jan. 16) and Lehigh (Jan. 30). Holy Cross recorded its hardest fought comeback effort against Lehigh, outscoring the Mountain Hawks 21-5 in the final seven minutes of the second stanza. While opponents outscore Holy Cross in both halves, the team has taken a lead into the halftime in 11 of 24 match-ups. In all, Holy Cross has scored 696 points in the first half next to opponents' 749 points (-53 points). The second half is a bit more lopsided as opponents currently tally a 780-676 second half scoring advantage (-104 points). Luckily, the team has escaped second-half comeback attempts in six contests, including the Feb. 6 game against Lafayette. The team has lost a halftime 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 1-11 after trailing at halftime and 6-5 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 Feb. 6 game at Lafayette became just the second time this season that the team has not been outrebounded, as the team combined for a 41-24 rebounding advantage. The 41 rebounds tied the team's season-high set back on the first game of the season against Yale. The Jan. 24 game against American was also a milestone, as Holy Cross outrebounded the Eagles 38-36, marking the first game of the season Holy Cross had a positive rebounding margin. With six players listed under 6-0 and no real post player, rebounding has overall been a struggle. In 24 contests, opponents are out-rebounding the Crusaders 952-751, a margin of 8.4 boards per game. The team pulled down a season-low 21 rebounds against No. 1 Connecticut and has brought down fewer than 30 rebounds in seven games thus far. Holy Cross has, however, posted at least 30 rebounds in 10 of the last 12 contests and currently averages 31.3 rebounds per game. The Crusaders are led by junior Whitney Fremeau who averages 5.4 rebounds per contest.
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 483-262 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.
HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Holy Cross has played in eight home games so far this season, earning two wins and falling in six Hart Center contests. They dropped the sixth game most recently against Army on Feb. 10, falling 60-54. In program history, the Hart Center has traditionally been a place where opponents have had trouble adjusting to. The Crusaders currently have a .788 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 program holds an all-time 326-101 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 127 of 157 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.
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, 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 421 games played, having won 54 games, including 37 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.
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 781 points and have stolen the ball a position-high 97 times. The guard position also leads the team in assists, combining for 182 dishes.
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 24 contests so far, the two captains have already jumped at least three spots on that list. McFadden, who has scored 285 total points this season, has moved past Ann Lambiotte (1,354 career points) to take full grasp of the No. 10 spot with 1,480 career points. McFadden has also jumped Kris Shields, Mary Helen Walker and Anna Kinne. O'Dell, who has scored 281 points thus far, has moved into the 1,300-point mark with 1,385 total career points and holds the 11th spot, passing Ann Lambiotte. She has also moved past Mary Helen Walker and Anna Kinne.
SCOUTING THE BISON: Bucknell enters Saturday's game with an overall record of 7-15 on the year, including a 3-6 mark in the Patriot League. The Bison have lost the last two consecutive contests, and are coming off a 53-49 loss at American. Sophomore guard Trisha Krewson leads the team with an average of 12.3 points per game, while hitting 42.4 percent (98 of 231) of her shots from the field. Junior forward Joyce Novacek has averaged 9.5 points per game and hit 50.3 percent (91-181) of her field goal attempts and also leads the team with 7.5 rebounds per contest. Bucknell is led by head coach Kathy Fedorjaka, who owns an overall record of 195-172 in 13 seasons with the Bison.
NEXT UP FOR THE CRUSADERS: Holy Cross will continue its complete three-game homestretch against Navy on Wednesday, Feb. 17. Tip time is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass. The game will serve as the 24th meeting between the Crusaders and Midshipmen on the Hart Center hardwood. Holy Cross currently holds a 20-2 advantage when playing at home against Navy.