Crusaders Lose To Lehigh In Patriot League Semifinals, 73-57

Amy Lepley

WORCESTER, Mass. - The Holy Cross women's basketball team would fall behind early and could not mount any sort of comeback as the No. 1 seed Lehigh earned a 73-57 victory in the semifinal round of the 2010 Patriot League Tournament at the Hart Center. With the loss, the Crusaders end their 2009-2010 campaign with a 10-21 overall record while the Mountain Hawks move on to the championship round with a 28-3 overall record. Holy Cross, who had never lost in a Patriot League Tournament game against the Mountain Hawks, falls to 7-1 when playing Lehigh in tournament play. Freshman Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) highlighted the day, scoring 11 points and bringing down 10 rebounds to record her second career double-double.

Lepley hit a three-point shot to give the Crusaders an early 5-2 lead before Lehigh scored 14 unanswered points, including four consecutive three point shots made to go up 16-5 after the first six minutes of play in the first half.  Junior Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) then broke a seven minute Holy Cross scoring drought, knocking down two back-to-back jump shots to mark the score at 17-9 at 11:03. Neither team notched a basket until Lepley hit her second field goal of the game, pulling Holy Cross within six points of Lehigh, 17-11 at 8:36. The Mountain Hawks would keep a three-possession lead, 25-16, as they continued to outscore the Crusaders 8-5 over the next four minutes. A three point shot made by sophomore Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) would get Holy Cross back within six points, 29-23, but Lehigh finished the half on a 5-2 run to stay up by 10 points. The Crusaders found themselves down 35-25 at the halftime after making 10 of 31 field goal attempts. Lehigh hit 11 of 24 shots from the field to round out the first half.

The Mountain Hawks continued to dominate in the top of the second stanza, earning a 16 point lead, 49-33, at 13:52. Holy Cross would earn a team-high five points from Lepley over those seven minutes as she collected another three point shot as well as marking the first points of the second half with a jump shot. The Crusaders scored an additional 13 points over the next four minutes of play, including six points from senior Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.), but Lehigh never relinquished its double-digit advantage. With the game clock reading 6:05, the Mountain Hawks were up 66-49. Holy Cross lost its steam the rest of the way through, collecting just eight points in the final five minutes and falling by the final score of 73-57.

Three players finished with double-digit performances, including Lepley's 11 points. Fremeau and McFadden completed the top outings, scoring 12 points apiece. Lepley also led the Holy Cross defense with her 10 boards as Holy Cross was outrebounded 35-31 in the game. Lehigh was led by sophomore forward Emily Gratch's 20 total points and nine rebounds. Holy Cross finished with a 32.1 field goal percentage while Lehigh hit 48 percent of its shots.

Holy Cross completes today's game with a record of 10-21 on the 2009-2010 season. The squad ends the season with a 5-9 record in the Patriot League as well.