Crusaders Bear 77-67 Loss To Lehigh

Whitney Fremeau

WORCESTER, Mass. – Senior Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) sank a career-best seven three-point shots, finishing with a career-high 26 points, but could not lead the Holy Cross women's basketball team to a win over Lehigh, as the Crusaders fell, 77-67, at the Hart Center. With the loss, the Crusaders drop to a record of 7-15 (3-4 PL) on the season, while the Mountain Hawks go to a record of 13-4 (3-4 PL). Fremeau finished with nine field goals made on 19 attempts, including a 7-for-9 three-point performance, all career-bests.   

The teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the first half, with Lehigh taking an early 8-5 advantage. The Mountain Hawks then capitalized on two costly Holy Cross turnovers, turning them into three-pointers to take a 14-5 edge at 15:26. Fremeau's back-to-back baskets could not keep Lehigh at bay, as the Mountain Hawks continued to stay hot from three-point range, earning a double-digit lead, 21-11, with 12:44 on the clock. Fremeau followed with her third three-point shot of the game at 10:38, but Lehigh continued on a 5-0 run to take back a 30-18 lead two minutes later. Four unanswered points allowed the Mountain Hawks to earn their largest lead at 6:19, staying ahead 34-18. Fremeau added five more points, including her fourth three-pointer, as the Crusaders rallied for a 10-3 run to pull within nine points, 37-28, with just under four minutes to play in the half. Holy Cross continued to inch closer by the end of the first stanza, stepping up the defense to hold Lehigh to just three more points, finishing the half down, 40-33. The Crusaders shot 42.3 percent in the half, going 15 of 37 from the floor. Lehigh shot 40.5 percent, sinking 15 of its 37 shot attempts. Fremeau led all scorers with 17 points.

After two scoreless minutes, sophomore Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) hit her first lay up of the game as Holy Cross stayed behind 40-35, breaking the scoreless streak first. A three-point play by freshman Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) and a lay up from junior Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I) off of a turnover made it a two point game, 42-40, at 16:29. Freshman Alex Smith's (Delran, N.J.) first three point shot made of the game pulled the Crusaders within one-point, 46-45, at 13:36 but Lehigh answered with a three-pointer to pull back out by four points, 49-45, one minute later. Ganser then highlighted an 8-3 run for Holy Cross, giving her team its first lead of the game, 53-52, on a three-point shot made at 8:42. Lehigh quickly recovered, outscoring the Crusaders 9-0 over the next two minutes, regaining a 61-53 advantage. The Mountain Hawks took back a double-digit lead, 63-53, and never lost the lead the rest of the way through. Holy Cross would come as close as five points, as freshman Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) added five points while Fremeau hit two more three-point shots, but no closer, falling by the final score of 77-67.

Ganser also finished in double-digits, posting 13 points and three rebounds. In the game, the Crusaders shot 41.5 percent (22-for-53) while the Mountain Hawks shot 44.6 percent (29-for-65). Holy Cross finished with a 39-33 rebounding edge, led by Fremeau's team-high nine rebounds. Lehigh was led by junior guard Emily Gratch with 21 points and seven boards.

Holy Cross returns to action for the second Patriot League go-around on Feb. 5 against Lafayette. The Leopards visit Worcester for a 1:00 p.m. game at the Hart Center. The game will serve as the team's annual "Pink Zone Day" for breast cancer awareness.