Women's Basketball Wraps Up Road Trip With Game At Fordham On Saturday

Kelly Hamner

Click here for the full game notes in PDF format

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (1-2, 0-0 PL) vs. Fordham (2-1, 0-0 Atlantic 10)
Date: November 20, 2010
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Place: Rose Hill Gym (3,200), Bronx, N.Y.
Holy Cross Radio: Stretch Internet Radio; Jeremy Lechan, play-by-play, Listen Here
Fordham Video All-Access: Click here
Unofficial Live Statistics: Gametracker
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 31-6
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 70, Fordham 62 (Jan. 28, 2003, Worcester, Mass.)

THE SERIES WITH FORDHAM: Saturday's match-up marks the 38th meeting all-time between the Crusaders and Rams, as Holy Cross holds a dominating 31-6 lead in the series. The first meeting between the two teams occurred on Jan. 25, 1983 at the Hart Center in Worcester. The Crusaders won that first meeting, 76-60. The Rams became an annual competitor for Holy Cross that season as well as the two teams played twice a year as members of the MAAC and then Patriot League conferences. Holy Cross won every game when the two played as MAAC squads from 1984-1990, posting a 15-0 record against Fordham. The two teams then became members of the Patriot League in 1991 and continued to play annually as the Rams handed the Crusaders their   first loss of the series on Feb. 19, 1992, winning 77-63 in the Bronx, N.Y. Head coach Bill Gibbons boasts a 28-6 record when playing the Rams while current Fordham head coach Cathy Andruzzi has not yet faced the Crusaders. Five of the team's six losses have been delivered on the road, as Holy Cross is 12-5 when playing at the Rose Hill Gym. The two teams last matched up on Jan. 28, 2003 at the Hart Center. The Crusaders won that game, 70-62, and are currently on a five game win-streak, dating back to Dec. 2, 1998.

PLAYING THE RAMS: In all of collegiate athletics, there are 18 teams with the nickname Rams. Saturday's game against the Fordham Rams will mark the one and only time the Holy Cross Crusaders meet up with a Rams team this season. The Crusaders have played against a total of three schools out of the 18 that bear the nickname, including Colorado State, Fordham and Rhode Island. All together, the Crusaders hold a 38-10 record against those teams. Fordham has been the most frequent Rams opponent as the team holds its 31-6 record over them. Holy Cross has also posted a 7-3 record against Rhode Island and a 0-1 record against Colorado State. 

HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE ATLANTIC 10: In program history, Holy Cross has played against 11 of the 14 teams that compete in the Atlantic 10 Conference. This season, the squad will face Fordham and Massachusetts as their only A-10 competitors. Combined, Holy Cross has registered an all-time 39-14 record against the Rams and Minutewomen. Against the other nine conference teams, the Crusaders have notched 23 wins and 15 losses throughout program history. The team boasts winning records against Dayton (1-0), La Salle (11-8), Rhode Island (7-3), Richmond (1-0) Saint Louis (1-0) and Xavier (2-0) while posting losing records against George Washington (0-2), and Temple (0-1). The squad has never played Charlotte, Duquesne or St. Bonaventure.

THE JESUIT BASKETBALL SPOTLIGHT: The matchup between Holy Cross and Fordham is part of the nationwide Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project, using Jesuit basketball to raise awareness of Jesuit education. Both Holy Cross and Fordham are Jesuit schools. The Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project highlights more than 90 games this season between men's and women's teams from the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities across the United States. Each of the 28 is dedicated to strong academics and teaching women and men to serve others and live a faith that does justice. The spotlight project includes awareness announcements during these designated games and during gamecasts on radio and television. Jesuit, Catholic colleges and universities in the United States have more than 200,000 students currently and more than 1.7 million living alumni. The Jesuit educational mission began in Europe approximately 500 years ago. For more information on Jesuit higher education in the United States, visit 'www.ajcunet.edu'.

 ALL-AROUND AMY: Sophomore starting forward Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) proved that she could indeed play in full strength as she has already recorded two double-doubles this season, an 18-point, 11-rebound outing against Yale and then a 13-point, 12-rebound effort in the team's first win against Quinnipiac. Her 12 rebounds against Quinnipiac were a career-high while her 17 field goal attempts against Yale were also a career-best. She tied her career-high with nine made field-goals against the Bulldogs as well. She has now led the team in rebounding twice and is the only Patriot League player to collect more than one double-double outing thus far. Currently, she averages a team-leading 8.3 rebounds and 11.3 points per game, also ranking sixth and 12th amongst conference players respectively. She has also played in an average of 30 minutes per game, is shooting .500 from the floor (16-for-32) and has 13 assists, all team-bests. Lepley was named to the Patriot League All-Rookie team last season after playing a full season of basketball for the first time since her junior year in high school, averaging 23.7 minutes, 6.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game last season. Lepley also claimed six Patriot League Rookie of the Week awards and recorded a team-best two double-doubles. The Massachusetts native also finished the season with a 44.2 field goal percentage, a team-high, and led the team in rebounding in four contests, including a season-high 10 rebounds twice.

FREMEAU BREAKS LOOSE: Senior forward Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.), who opened up the season with 13 points against Yale and seven scores against Connecticut, gave the Crusaders the scoring spark they were looking for as she poured in a career-high 20 points in the team's 72-60 win over Quinnipiac on Nov. 17. Fremeau finished the game making seven of her 17 field goal attempts, both season-highs, as 15 of her points were posted in the second half as well. Her 20 points bested her previous career-high of 18 points, which she collected four times over her career. She now averages a team-best 13.3 points per game, which ranks seventh amongst Patriot League individuals. Fremeau also averages a team-high 33 minutes per game, ranking sixth in the league standings, shoots 38.1 percent from the floor (16-for-42) and averages four assists per game, which is sixth in the league as well. She collected seven assists against Yale in the season opener, one shy of her career-high set against Bucknell on Jan. 16, 2010. 

THE FROSH IMPACT: The five-member freshman class of Kristen Fuery (Dresher, Pa.), Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.), Kelly Hamner (Manassas, Va.), Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) and Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) has showed why head coach Bill Gibbons' decision to make immediate use of his newest team members was correct. Out of the 71 points Holy Cross put up on the board against Yale, the freshman class tallied 38 of them. They also played a combined 89 minutes, going 15-for-25 from the floor (60 percent shooting). Malone and Hamner had double-digit scoring performances, marking 14 and 13 points respectively. Ganser added seven points while Smith finished with four points. The freshman also brought down 28 rebounds in that first contest. Against Connecticut, the freshman continued to put up top-team numbers as Smith tallied a team-high 12 points, making four three-point field goals. Malone was the team leader in rebounding as she brought down five of the team's 16 total rebounds. Smith tied the team-high with three assists while Malone tracked down the team's lone steal against the Huskies as well. Most recently, against Quinnipiac, Smith, Hamner, Malone and Ganser combined for 18 points and 14 rebounds. Ganser brought down a season-high five rebounds in the effort while Malone led with a season-high of four steals as well. 

WILLFUL WARD: Junior Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.), who has started the season as the team's sixth-man off the bench, brought the team the intensity it needed to beat Quinnipiac on Nov. 17. Ward, who came into the contest averaging just two points per game, broke through for her first double-digit performance, a 14-point effort that included a career-high 12-for-12 free throw shooting endeavor. Her 14 points were one-shy from her career-high of 15 points, set against Howard last season. Ward also showed her aggressive defensive side, pounding the boards for a career-best six rebounds. She tallied 12 of her points and four of her rebounds in the second half, boosting her team to the 12-point victory. On the season, Ward now averages 5.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 17.7 minutes played. 

LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING: With no player on the roster listed taller than 6-0, the Holy Cross women's basketball team knew that height may be a challenge in terms of team defense. However, the Crusaders showed that height was not an issue in two of their first three games as they pounded Yale on the boards on Nov. 12, collecting 40 rebounds next to the Bulldogs' 28. The team then picked up a 51-45 rebounding edge against Quinnipiac, who had four of its five starters listed over 5-8. To date, the team has 107 rebounds, including 36 offensive and 71 defensive boards. Lepley leads with 25 rebounds (19 defensive) while the team as a whole has 11 rebounds. Opponents have tallied 121 rebounds, with Connecticut earning 48 of them.   

STANDOUT PERFORMANCES: So far this season, a number of Holy Cross player's performances have been at the top of the league's individual player game highs. Lepley's nine field goals made against Yale rank first, while Smith's four three-point field goals made against Connecticut rank second. Smith's 11 three-point tries against UConn are also a high. Ward's most recent 12-for-12 performance from the free-throw line is a league-best as well. Fremeau's seven assists against Yale and Malone's four steals against Quinnipiac round out the team's top performances as they rank second in their respective categories.

CRUSADERS PICKED FIFTH IN PRESEASON POLL: Holy Cross was picked to finish fifth in the 2010-2011 Patriot League preseason poll, receiving 42 votes. American was chosen to finish first, receiving nine first-place votes as senior forward Michelle Kirk was also voted Preseason Player of the Year. The Eagles earned a league-high 93 points and was followed closely behind by reigning Patriot League Champion, Lehigh, who received seven first place votes and 91 points. Navy was picked third with 70 points, while Army (59 points) and Holy Cross (42) were selected fourth and fifth respectively. Colgate and Lafayette tied for sixth place with 40 votes and Bucknell wrapped up the standings in eighth place with 31 points. 

FREMEAU, MAY AND WARD NAMED 2010-2011 TEAM CAPTAINS: Fremeau and Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.), along with Ward were named captains for the 2010-2011 season. Fremeau topped the team in rebounding last year and ranking 10th in the league as well with an average of 5.4 rebounds per game. She is also a threat not only on defense but on offense as well as she also posted a 12.3 scoring average, ranking seventh amongst league individuals and third on the team last season. She was named to the second team All-Patriot League for her efforts. May will be the veteran starting in the backcourt, as she returns as the team's best defensive player. As a junior, she averaged 22.1 minutes, 3.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Her 4.1 rebound average was second highest on the team. Ward is also listed among the veterans in the backcourt, as she moves from the point guard position to the shooting guard in her junior season. Ward saw action in all 31 games last season, averaging 26.8 minutes, 5.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. She ranked second on the team and ninth in the Patriot League with 72 assists, averaging 2.3 assists per game. Combined, the three scored 661 out of the 899 points posted by the team's returning letterwinners. They also pulled down 348 out of the 502 rebounds collected by this year's returners. Through the first three games of action, the captains have put up 63 points, 30 rebounds and 18 assists.

WELCOME (BACK) TO WORCESTER: There are two new faces handling front office duties for the 2010-2011 Crusader basketball squad, assistant coaches Chante Bonds and Kristin Drabyn. Bonds spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the Fairleigh Dickinson University women's basketball team. In addition to her assistant coaching responsibilities at FDU, Bonds scheduled the team's travel arrangements, worked with the strength and conditioning program and recruited on the east coast and Canada. She was a four-year letter winner on the Bentley women's basketball team, graduating in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in Informational Design and Corporate Communication. Drabyn spent the previous two seasons as a graduate assistant coach for the women's basketball team at Texas Tech. While at Texas Tech, Drabyn assisted in the everyday operations of the women's basketball program, including serving as the video coordinator. Drabyn was also a four-year member of the University of Maryland Baltimore County women's basketball team. She graduated as the school's all-time record holder in free throw percentage (90%) and in made three pointers (169). She co-captained the squad as a senior and was an All-Conference selection in 2008. In 2007, UMBC was the America East Tournament champions, earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Drabyn was also named the America East Sportsmanship winner in 2007. A 2008 graduate of UMBC with a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Communications and Exercise Physiology, Drabyn earned her Master's degree in Sports Management from Texas Tech in 2010. A familiar face will also work with the women's basketball team this season as former Holy Cross basketball standout, Brittany Keil, rejoins the Crusader family as the team's strength and conditioning coach. Keil will also work directly with the Crusader men's basketball, men's and women's lacrosse, baseball, softball, field hockey, volleyball, women's tennis, cross country and track & field squads.

RETURNING TO GLORY: The 2010-2011 season is the first instance under Gibbons' tutelage that a player on the roster has not participated in the NCAA Tournament. The last time a Holy Cross team made the NCAA Tournament was at the end of the 2006-2007 season. Holy Cross has played in the Big Dance 12 times, posting a 1-12 all-time record. It received a team-best seventh seeding in 1985 and played as the 16th seed in its last appearance, 2007. The Crusaders have also participated in the WNIT, playing in the 2002 season.

PATRIOT LEAGUE DOMINANCE: Despite its preseason ranking, the Holy Cross women's basketball team has its eyes set back on the top spot amongst the Patriot League's eight teams. Since its inaugural season back in 1991, the team has posted 237 league victories and just 63 losses. It has made 20 appearances in the Patriot League Tournament, boasting 11 championships and a 38-9 all-time record. The team was seeded fifth in the tournament last season, a program low, but proved that it could not be counted out, topping Army, 57-53 in the quarterfinal round before falling to the 2010 champion, Lehigh, in the semifinals. The Crusaders are most successful against Colgate as they have mounted a 41-3 all-time record against the Raiders. The team also boasts a 43-8 record against Lafayette. Army and American have given Holy Cross the most trouble, as the two have combined for 24 of the 63 wins against the Crusaders. Lehigh has put up 11 wins against Holy Cross as well.

RENEWING OLD RIVALRIES: Fordham, a former Patriot League foe, Massachusetts, an in-state rival, and Quinnipiac reenter the Crusaders' slate this season. The Crusaders and Rams have played in a total 37 contests, dating back to the 1983 season. Holy Cross holds the 31-6 all-time edge over Fordham, last earning a 70-62 victory in 2003. Massachusetts and Holy Cross have faced off 16 times in program history and will vie for the lead in the all-time series as it is tied at 8-8. The Minutewomen own a three game win-streak against Holy Cross, however, winning the last meeting 77-46 in 2007. 

AND STARTING NEW ONES: Holy Cross will also face two brand new opponents this season, East Tennessee State and North Carolina A&T. The Crusaders will play these two teams in its only tournament of the season, the Marriott Cavalier Classic, hosted by Virginia. The two teams will definitely present a challenge for Holy Cross, as ETSU boasted an overall record of 23-9 last season and an 18-2 Atlantic Sun record. North Carolina A&T went 23-11 overall, but was also dominant in their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, finishing with a 14-2 league record.

HEAD COACH BILL GIBBONS: 26th SEASON: Bill Gibbons is in his 26th season at the helm of the Holy Cross women's basketball program and 30th as a member of the Holy Cross basketball family in 2010-2011. He has compiled a 477-247 record as head coach, ranking 28th on the active Division I win leaders list. Most recently, Gibbons earned his first career victory over Quinnipiac, a 72-60 win on Nov. 17. 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.

NEXT UP FOR THE CRUSADERS: On Tuesday, Nov. 23, Holy Cross will begin a five-game home stand, starting with a 7:00 p.m. contest against New Hampshire. The Crusaders look to avenge an 80-72 defeat against the Wildcats from last season as the all-time series is set at 12-7, advantage Holy Cross. New Hampshire is 1-1 on the young season, losing to Notre Dame and topping Dartmouth. The Wildcats host Brown on Saturday, Nov. 20, before making the trip to Worcester.

SCOUTING FORDHAM
Record: 2-1 Affiliation: Atlantic-10 

HEAD COACH: Cathy Andruzzi is in her fifth season as head coach of the Fordham women's basketball team, recording 19 wins and 97 losses at the helm. She has 12 years of head coaching experience, registering a 143-191 career record. She came to the Rams from Seton Hall, where she was the assistant women's basketball coach during the 2004-2005 season. She is the 11th head women's basketball coach at Fordham in the program's 36-year history. In 2010, she guided the Rams back to the Atlantic 10 Championship tournament for the first time in four seasons.

2010-2011 SQUAD: Fordham currently sits at 2-1on the season as it lost its opener to Elon (91-77), and followed with wins over Stony Brook (81-73) and Patriot League opponent Bucknell (64-42). The team returns 12 letterwinners, including four of its starters. Currently, the Rams have four players averaging in double-figures. Senior forward Tiffany Stokes leads the way with 15 points-per-game and a team-best average of 7.3 rebounds. Fellow senior Kristina Bell follows with 14 points and 5.7 rebounds. Senior Caitlin Shadbolt and junior Becky Peters, both starters, add averages of 11.7 and 10 points respectively to round out the team's top performers thus far.