Women's Basketball Rallies Past Lafayette, 72-67, In First Day of League Action

Christine Ganser

EASTON, Pa. – The Holy Cross women's basketball team came back from a 13-point deficit to take a crucial 72-67 road win against Lafayette in the first day of Patriot League action at the Kirby Sports Center. With the victory, the Crusaders collect a record of 5-11 (1-0 PL) on the season, while the Leopards go to 7-9 (0-1 PL). Senior Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) led the team with 19 points, tying her career-high with eight field goals made. Freshman Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) also tallied a season and career-best 15 points off the bench.

The Crusaders started strong, going on a 9-0 run to begin game action as freshman Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) hit both of her field goals for five points. Holy Cross pulled out to a 14-3 lead at 16:06 as Fremeau hit three back-to-back shots to lead the offensive outburst. The Crusaders went up, 21-7, before Lafayette put together a run of its own, scoring 12 unanswered points to bring the score to 21-19 at 11:04. Holy Cross added four points over the next three minutes, getting baskets from Ganser and Fremeau to take back a three-point lead, 25-22, at 7:58. Lafayette took its first lead of the game on a breakaway lay-up less than a minute later, 26-25. The Leopards continued on their scoring run, adding seven more unanswered points to take a two-possession lead, 33-25 at 4:24. Holy Cross, who had not scored since the 10:12 mark, finally broke its scoring drought at 3:36 as Smith sank her second three-point shot of the game, tallying the score at 35-28. Holy Cross fell back behind by 13 points, 41-28, with under a minute to go in the front half before Ganser hit two free throws to send her team into the halftime down 41-30. Fremeau led the squad with 13 first half points as the Crusaders made 40.7 percent of their shot attempts (11-for-27). Lafayette hit 44.1 percent of it shots, making 15 baskets in 34 attempts.

Holy Cross opened up the second half on a 7-3 run with Smith hitting her third three-point shot of the game and moving the score to 44-37 at 17:52. The Leopards would take back a double-digit advantage, 49-37, with 14:27 on the clock as the Crusaders found themselves in another scoring drought. Five points from Ganser got the Crusaders back in it, as Holy Cross outscored Lafayette, 7-2, bringing the score to 55-49 at the midway point of the final half. Smith then made it a one-possession game, 55-52 at 9:24 with another three-point shot made. Freshman Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) tied the score at 59-59 with a straight drive to the hoop with just over six minutes left in the game. At 4:55, Smith hit a huge three-point shot, her fifth in the game, to give the Crusaders a one-point edge, 64-63. The Crusaders' defense stepped up big, keeping Lafayette from scoring for over two minutes and adding a three-point play by Ganser at 3:09, marking the score at 67-63. Junior Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.), continued to be one of the top free-throw shooters in the country, sinking two free throws at 2:32 and bringing the Holy Cross advantage to 69-63. A team effort prevailed the rest of the way, as the Crusaders went up by as much as nine points, finishing with the final 72-67 win.

Smith rounded out Holy Cross' double-digit scorers with 17 points, sinking a total of five three-point shots. In the game, the Crusaders shot 41.9 percent (26-for-62) while the Leopards shot 38.1 percent (24-for-63). Lafayette took the rebounding edge, 48-34 and was led by senior forward LaKeisha Wright with 13 points.

Holy Cross returns to Worcester, Mass. for a three-game home stand beginning Wednesday, Jan. 12 against Army. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. on the Hart Center hardwood.