CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.- Senior Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.) had a strong defensive day with a career-high four blocks and leading the team with eight rebounds, but the Holy Cross women's basketball team could not rally back against East Tennessee State, falling 90-67 in the first day of action at the Cavalier Classic held at the John Paul Jones arena. With the final tally, the Crusaders move to a record of 4-8 on the season, while the Lady Bucs go to 4-6. Holy Cross will now play in the consolation game of the tournament tomorrow, Dec. 29, against North Carolina A&T.
Freshman Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) knocked down her first two three-point shots to lead Holy Cross to an early 11-5 lead to open up game action. East Tennessee State came back to knot the score at 13-13 with 15:14 on the clock after going on an 8-2 run. Five straight turnovers by the Crusaders allowed the Lady Bucs to then pull ahead to a 23-13 lead at 12:13. Smith then broke the six-minute field goal drought for the Crusaders with her third three-point shot made at 10:43, bringing the score to 25-17. East Tennessee State pulled ahead by 14 points, 35-21, with just over five minutes to go in the half before Holy Cross went on a 6-0 run behind two three point shots by junior Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) and May, notching the score at 35-27 with 3:39 left. The Crusaders finished the half strong, tallying 10 more points to get within eight points, 45-37, at the halftime break. Holy Cross shot 41.9 percent in the front half (13-for-31) while East Tennessee State shot 58.8 percent (20-for-34). Smith led the squad with 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting.
Two three-point plays allowed East Tennessee State to regain a 12-point lead, 57-45, after four minutes played in the final stanza. Holy Cross would earn four points from Ward but was outscored 6-2 over the next two minutes, finding themselves down 63-47 with 13:57 on the clock. Sophomore Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) sank two consecutive baskets as Holy Cross outscored the Lady Bucs 12-9 next, staying behind, 72-59, at 8:58. The Crusaders would add seven points, but would find themselves down by a game-high 22 points with just over two minutes to go in the game, ending with the final 90-68 tally.
Holy Cross had four players finish in double-digits. Smith led all scorers with 16 points while Lepley followed with 13 points. Ward collected 12 scores and senior Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) added 10 points. In the game, the Crusaders shot 35.3 percent (24-for-68) while the Lady Bucs shot 54.3 percent (38-for-70). East Tennessee State took the rebounding edge, 44-35, and was led by freshman forward/guard Destiny Mitchell with 20 points.
Holy Cross will play again tomorrow for the consolation prize at the Cavalier Classic. The game will be played at 4:30 p.m. against North Carolina A&T at the John Paul Jones Arena.