January 10, 2011

Women's Basketball Returns Home For Match With Army On Thursday

Click here for full game notes in PDF

Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (5-11, 1-0 PL) vs. Army (7-8, 1-0 PL)
Date: January 13, 2010
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.

Holy Cross Radio: Stretch Internet Radio; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Listen Here
Unofficial Live Statistics: http://livestats.prestosports.com/holycross/
Patriot League All-Access: www.patriotleague.org/allaccess/

Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 29-17
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 57, Army 53 (March 6, 2010, Worcester, Mass.)

SERIES HISTORY AGAINST ARMY: Saturday's match-up will be the 47th meeting all-time between Holy Cross and Army, with the Crusaders owning a 29-17 advantage over the Black Knights. The teams first met in Holy Cross' inaugural season of Patriot League play. The Crusaders won the first meeting at the Hart Center, 67-57 on Jan. 23, 1991. The Crusaders went on to win the next four meetings, outscoring Army 255-221. Head coach Bill Gibbons is responsible for the 29-17 record, as he suffered his first career loss against the Black Knights, 54-52, in an away game on Jan. 13, 1993. The Hart Center has been a friendly atmosphere for the Crusaders, as they have posted 17 wins in 23 match-ups against the Black Knights in Worcester. Army head coach Dave Magarity has been very successful against Holy Cross, collecting an 8-2 record in his four prior seasons at the helm. Army won the first four contests with Magarity as head coach before the Crusaders broke up the slide on Jan. 14, 2009, 57-41. Holy Cross also ended another four-game slide against the Black Knights on March 6, 2010 in the first round of the Patriot League Championship, topping Army 57-53 at the Hart Center.

HOLY CROSS AGAINST CONFERENCE FOES: The 2010-2011 season marks the 22nd year of Patriot League competition for the Crusaders. Over the last 21 seasons, the team has competed in a total of 289 league match-ups, winning 228 and dropping 61 games total for a .789 winning percentage. 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. Head coach Bill Gibbons has been along for the entire ride and is responsible for the 228-61 league record. Holy Cross has made 20 appearances in the Patriot League Tournament, boasting 11 championships and a 38-9 all-time record. 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 44-8 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.

CRUSADERS ON TELEVISION: The game against Army will be broadcast on Worcester's local WCTR-TV3 station, marking the fifth time this season a Holy Cross game has been televised. Currently, the Crusaders stand with a record of 1-3 in televised games, falling to Connecticut (CPTV), Boston College (WCTR-TV3) and  Massachusetts (CBS 3 Now) and topping Lafayette (LSN) in the last televised game. All Patriot League games are available for viewing over the internet through Patriot League All-Access. The package, done in association with CBS College Sports Online, is available for a monthly subscription. For details on how to sign up for Patriot League All-Access, visit "www.patriotleague.org."

HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Holy Cross, who has played in six home match-ups so far, returns to the Hart Center for three straight games after spending the last seven contests on the road. The Crusaders are 3-3 when playing on their home hardwood this season, winning against New Hampshire, Harvard and Maine and falling to Yale, Central Connecticut and Boston College. The Crusaders currently have a .783 home victory percentage since becoming a Division I program as the 2010-2011 season marks the 36th season of women's basketball competition at the Hart Center. The program holds an all-time 328-105 advantage at home and has posted 29 winning records at home and just five losing seasons, including last year's 4-9 record. Combined, the Crusaders have won 154 of 192 meetings against this year's home opponents, including a 123-21 record against Patriot League foes.

ALL-AROUND AMY: Sophomore starting forward Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) is continuing to show off her full strength and versatility on all sides of the basketball court this season. Through the 16 games played, Lepley is averaging 9.8 points, a team-best 5.4 rebounds per game and is shooting 41.4 percent (63-for-152) from the floor. She has already recorded two double-doubles this season, an 18-point, 11-rebound outing against Yale and 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. Lepley has recorded nine double-digit scoring outings this season; 13 points against Central Connecticut, 10 points against Maine, 10 points against Boston College, 12 points against Bryant, 13 points against East Tennessee State and 14 points against North Carolina A&T. She has led or tied the team-high in rebounding in seven out of the 16 games as well. She has led the team in points twice (against Yale and North Carolina A&T), in steals four times and in assists three times. Amongst Patriot League leaders, Lepley ranks sixth in assists (2.8), sixth in steals (1.7), 11th in rebounding and 15th in scoring. She has also played in an average of 27.1 minutes per game after playing 20 minutes in the last game against Lafayette. Against the Leopards, Lepley led the team with three assists, while collecting five points and five rebounds. 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. Lepley also claimed six Patriot League Rookie of the Week awards. 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.

SMOOTH SMITH: Freshman Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) has completely emerged into her role as a starting guard for the Crusaders. On the season, Smith ranks second on the team with 12.1 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 36.6 percent from the floor (64 of 175). Forty-nine of her field goals made have come as three-point shots, which is four away from breaking into the top-10 of the Holy Cross single season record for three-pointers made in a season. One hundred-thirty three of her field goal attempts have come as three-point shots as well, as she is sinking 36.8 percent of her three-point tries. Smith reached new heights in the game against Northeastern, as she poured in a season-best 22 points, the most points a Holy Cross player has put up this season. She also marked season-bests with eight field goals made, including six treys, which ranks third amongst the program's single-game records. She has also posted double-figures in the five of the last six games as returned to form with 17 points on six-for-11 shooting against Lafayette the last time out. Smith has either led or tied for the team lead in points in six out of the 16 games played thus far. She has notched 11 double-digit scoring affairs in all (12 vs. UConn, 16 vs. New Hampshire, 14 vs. Harvard, 15 vs. Central Connecticut, 21 vs. Maine, 14 vs. Bryant, 22 vs. Northeastern, 16 vs. East Tennessee State, 10 vs. North Carolina A&T, 10 at Dartmouth, 17 at Lafayette). According to the Jan. 9 rankings, Smith sits at 16th in the nation in three-pointers made per game (3.1). She is first amongst league leaders in that category as well. She is also 10th in three-point field goal percentage and in scoring average amidst league leaders. She also has two Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors under her belt (11/29 and 12/6), was named AT&T Crusader of the Week on Dec. 20 and named to the Cavalier Classic's All-Tournament Team. Smith showed off her versatility against Dartmouth as she led the team in rebounding for the first time this season, marking a season-high, while also collecting six steals, another season-high. She is now the team-leader in assists, collecting 48 in all. In the league, she ranks within the top-10 in assists (third), steals (fourth) and minutes played (fifth). In those categories, Smith is averaging 3.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 32.1 minutes. Her 29 total steals are a team-high.

FREMEAU BREAKS LOOSE: Senior forward Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) continues to be one of the team's biggest offensive threats and defensive presences so far this season. Currently, Fremeau leads the team with a 12.8 points per game average, adds 4.0 rebounds per game and is making and taking the team's largest number of shots (86-for-217 from the floor). She poured in a career-high 20 points in the team's 72-60 win over Quinnipiac on Nov. 17, finishing the game making seven of her 17 field goal attempts, both season-highs. Fremeau has also attempted a season-high of 17 field goal attempts in a total of three games, making five against North Carolina A&T and six against Dartmouth. She tied her career-high with eight field goals made against Lafayette on Jan. 8, scoring 19 points to lead the team. She has posted a total of 11 double-digit scoring outings this season, including the last six games. Her double-digit outings comprise of; 13 vs. Yale, 20 at Quinnipiac, 16 vs. New Hampshire, 15 vs. Harvard, 13 vs. Maine, 16 vs. Boston College, 19 vs. Northeastern, 10 vs. East Tennessee State, 10 vs. North Carolina A&T, 15 at Dartmouth, 13 at Massachusetts, 19 at Lafayette. She has led or tied the team in scoring six times after leading the team in the last three games, averaging 15.7 points in that stretch. Fremeau currently ranks fifth amongst Patriot League individuals with her 12.8 scoring average. She also averages 30.1 minutes per game (10th in the league) and is shooting 39.6 percent from the floor (10th in the league). Her 2.8 assists per game ranks seventh in the league as she has a total of 44 assists thus far. She has also led the team in rebounding the last two games, averaging 6.0 boards and tying her season high with six rebounds in the contests against UMass and Lafayette.

THE FROSH IMPACT: Through the 16 games played so far this season, the five-member freshman class is showing why head coach Bill Gibbons has so much faith in their immediate impact on the program. So far, the newcomers have scored 419 of the team's 995 total points, are bringing down 192 out of 558 rebounds and have added 86 of the 256 assists and 68 of the 146 total steals. Together, the five are averaging 5.3 points, 2.4 rebounds per game and have made 137 of their 395 field goal attempts (34.7 percent).

WILLFUL WARD: Junior Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.), who began the season as the team's sixth-man off the bench, moved in to the starting role at guard against New Hampshire on Nov. 23. After starting nine games and coming off the bench in seven, Ward averages 6.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 33.7 percent from the floor (32-for-95) on the season, doubling her career average of 3.4 points and 1.5 rebounds. In her second consecutive start against Harvard, Ward broke out for a career-best 17-point outing, sinking seven of her 11 field goal attempts. Her seven field goals made were a career-high as she also posted six assists, a season-best. Ward now has five double-digit scoring outings in 16 games played (14 vs. Quinnipiac, 10 at Fordham, 11 vs. New Hampshire, 17 vs. Harvard and 12 vs. East Tennessee State). In the first day of action at the Cavalier Classic, Ward attempted a season and career-high with 12 field goal attempts against East Tennessee State, making four of them. She is extremely calm and collected at the free throw line this season, as she has made 42 free throws in 45 attempts (93.3 percent) including a perfect 12-for-12 performance at Quinnipiac. The 12 free throws attempted and made set a new single-game record for the program. Her free throw percentage is amidst the nation's best, as she ranks fourth amongst all NCAA leaders as of Jan. 9. She also ranks first amongst Patriot League leaders. In all, Ward has led the squad in scoring twice (Fordham, Harvard) and has led or tied the team in assists six times (Harvard, Central Connecticut, Boston College, Bryant, Northeastern and North Carolina A&T). She has a total of 41 assists this season, averaging 2.6 per game, which also ranks 10th amongst Patriot League leaders.

GOOD GRABS BY GANSER: Freshman Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) is emerging as a great force underneath the basket for the Crusaders this season as currently averages 5.9 points and 4.6 rebounds in 16 games off the bench. She also shoots 42.1 percent (24-for-57) from the floor and averages 15.6 minutes played per game. She recorded her best offensive outing of the season in the big win against Lafayette, tallying season-highs with 15 points on five of nine shooting. She also ranks second on the team with her 4.6 rebounding average, 18th in individual league standings. Ganser has a total of three double-digit outings thus far (10 vs. Central Connecticut, 12 vs. North Carolina A&T and 15 at Lafayette) and has at least one rebound in the last seven games. She brought down a season-best eight rebounds three times against Fordham, New Hampshire and Harvard. The Needham, Mass. product is also one of the team's best free-throw shooters, sinking 45 of 61 free throw attempts (73.8 percent), ranking 11th amongst league individuals.  

DEFENSE MAY'S WAY: Senior Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.), who is listed as a 6-0 forward/guard, leads the team with nine blocks so far this season. She recorded a career-best four blocks against East Tennessee State on Dec. 28 and ranks 12th amongst Patriot League players with 0.6 blocks-per-game. Her nine blocks are now a career-high, besting her eight blocks from the 2009-2010 season. A starting senior, May is also averaging 4.6 points and 3.7 rebounds, third-highest on the team. She scored a career-high 12 points against Boston College on Dec. 8 and has also recorded a career-high two three-point shots made in seven contests this season. She is quick with her hands too as she averages 1.5 steals per game (ninth amongst top league performers), collecting a total of 24 steals thus far.

I'LL TAKE THAT: The Holy Cross squad averages 9.1 steals per game through 16 games this season. That average ranks first amongst Patriot League teams as they have totaled 146 steals in all. American comes in second, averaging 0.9 less (8.2 per game). Alex Smith is the team's top thief, recording 29 steals in all. She notched a single game-high with six steals against Dartmouth. The team as a whole topped out with 16 steals against New Hampshire on Nov. 23.

HELPING HANDS: Holy Cross also ranks first amongst Patriot League teams in the assists category. Through 16 games, Holy Cross averages 16.0 assists per game (256 total) as Alex Smith leads the way with 48 assists, leading the team in the category over the last three games. The team ranks second in assist/turnover ratio, averaging 16.0 assists to 19.1 turnovers (0.8 ratio). The team recorded a season-best 26 assists versus Maine on Dec. 4 and also had 24 assists against Harvard on Nov. 28. Amy Lepley and Whitney Fremeau have both recorded seven assists, a single game-high for the Crusaders. Lepely recorded seven assists against New Hampshire while Fremeau recorded her seven in the season-opener against Yale. Alex Smith has led

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 481-257 record as head coach (.651 winning percentage), including a 4-11 record at the helm this season. He ranks 28th on the active Division I win leaders list as well. 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. 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.

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: Whitney Fremeau, Alyssa May and MeredithWard were named captains for the 2010-2011 season. Fremeau topped the team in rebounding last year, 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 is 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 16 games of action, the captains have put up 388 points, 172 rebounds and 114 assists.

WELCOME 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.

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.

HOLY CROSS AMONGST THE NATION'S BEST: Holy Cross has gained recognition with many of the nation's top teams and players after the sixth round of the NCAA Division I rankings was released on Jan. 9. Currently, the Crusaders rank 36th in assists per game (16.0), 83rd in assist/turnover ratio (0.84) and 201st in scoring offense (62.2). Alex Smith remains a top the nation's three-point performers as she ranks 16th in three-point shots made per game (3.1) and 110th in three-point percentage (36.8). Lastly, Meredith Ward ranks fourth on the national scene with her 93.3 free throw percentage.

NEXTUP FOR THE CRUSADERS: Holy Cross continues its three-game home stand against Patriot League opponent Bucknell on Saturday, Jan. 15. The Bison visit Worcester for a 3:00 p.m. game at the Hart Center after hosting American on Wednesday, Jan. 12. Bucknell is currently 3-10 on the season after losing its first conference match-up to Navy, 62-56.

SCOUTING ARMY:
7-8 (1-0 Patriot League)
HEAD COACH: Army's head coach Dave Magarity is in his 28th season as a collegiate head coach and his fifth season at Army. Magarity took the reins at West Point over the 2006-2007 season and owns a 79-56 record with the Black Knights, including his 7-8 record in the 2010-2011 season. Magarity is also just eight wins shy of his 400th career victory as his career record stands at 392-390. Magarity has also found great success against the Crusaders, registering a 10-2 record in the 11 match-ups.

2010-2011 SQUAD: This year's Army team enters Wednesday's game with a 7-8 record, 1-0 in the Patriot League. The team earned its first conference win against Colgate, 54-40, on Jan. 7 after going 6-8 in non-league play. They picked up wins against Medaille (60-45), St. Francis, (N.Y.) (57-34), Penn (53-44), Loyola (60-52), Bryant (66-55) and Yale (63-56). The Black Knights have found trouble on the road, as they are 1-7 in away contests. Army is also on a three-game win streak heading into Wednesday's contest, topping Bryant, Colgate and Yale in its last three games. The team returns 11 letterwinners, including all five starters from last season. Senior forward Erin Anthony leads the team offensively and defensively with 14.7 points and 11.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 49.5 percent (90 of 182) from the floor. Fellow senior forward Laura Baranek follows with 9.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Army finished 11-18 overall in 2009-2010, including a 5-9 mark in Patriot League contests.