February 21, 2011

Crusaders Conclude Regular Season Home Affairs Against Colgate Wednesday

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Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams: Holy Cross (9-18, 5-7 PL) vs. Colgate (7-19, 2-10 PL)
Date: February 23, 2011
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.

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Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 42-3
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 62, Colgate 51 (January 26, 2011, Hamilton, N.Y.)

SERIES HISTORY AGAINST COLGATE: Wednesday's match-up will be the 46th meeting between Holy Cross and Colgate, with the Crusaders owning a dominant 42-3 advantage over the Raiders. The teams first met in Holy Cross' inaugural season of Patriot League play (1990-1991). The Crusaders were handed their first loss against Colgate during the 1993-1994 season after posting six consecutive wins to begin the series. Twenty-one consecutive victories followed for Holy Cross, including a 103-72 win at the Hart Center on Jan. 16, 2002. That victory marked the greatest amount of points a Crusader team has posted over a Patriot League opponent all-time. Holy Cross head coach Bill Gibbons is responsible for the 42-3 record while Raiders head coach, Pamela Bass, is winless in her seven meetings against the Crusaders. Holy Cross enters Wednesday night's contest on a nine-game win streak over the Raiders, dating back to the 2006-2007 season. In those nine contests, Holy Cross has outscored Colgate 625-496. The team's three losses against the Raiders have come when playing on the hardwood of Cotterell Court in Hamilton, N.Y., with the last loss against Colgate in Hamilton, N.Y. on Feb. 21, 2006, with the team falling 79-71. Holy Cross holds an unblemished 17-0 record against the Raiders at the Hart Center, which remains the only perfect home record for Holy Cross against conference foes.

CRUSADERS HIT300TH GAME MARK IN PATRIOT LEAGUE PLAY: Saturday's contest against American served as Holy Cross' 300th game in conference play. Here are a few highlights from the team's last 300 league contests:

Patriot League Inaugural Game: On Jan. 10, 1991, the Holy Cross Crusaders topped the Lafayette Leopards at the Hart Center by a 65-53 final score. The Crusaders went on to win its first Patriot League Championship, going a flawless 12-0 in league play.

Game 100: Holy Cross plays at Lehigh on Jan. 18, 1997, beating out the Mountain Hawks by a score of 75-58. The squad ended up with a No. 1 seed in the 1997 Patriot League Tournament, falling to Lafayette in the first round.

Game 200: On March 12, 2003, the Crusaders made their 200th Patriot League game a big deal, beating out Army 78-65 in the final round of the 2003 Patriot League Tournament at the Hart Center. With the win, Holy Cross appeared in its eighth NCAA tournament in 12 years of Patriot League play, facing Penn State as the No. 13 seed.

HOLY CROSS AGAINST CONFERENCE FOES: The 2010-2011 season marks the 22nd year of Patriot League competition for the Crusaders. After Saturday's loss against American at the Hart Center, Holy Cross stands at 5-7 in league play, falling to sixth place. American took control of first place in the league with a 9-3 league record, while Lehigh and Navy are now tied for second with identical 8-4 records. Army and Bucknell stand at 6-6, tying for third place. Over the last 21 seasons, the team has competed in a total of 300 league match-ups, winning 232 and dropping 68 games total for a .773 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. The squad also recorded its first losing season in Patriot League play in 2009-2010, going 5-9 and will need two more wins to avoid another losing record in Patriot League play this season. Holy Cross possesses two unblemished Patriot League seasons, going 12-0 in 1990-1991, and doing it again in 1996-1997. Head coach Bill Gibbons has been along for the entire ride and is responsible for the 232-68 league record. In all, 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 42-3 all-time record against the Raiders. The team also boasts a 45-8 record against Lafayette. Army and American have given Holy Cross the most trouble, as the two have combined for 25 of the 67 wins against the Crusaders. Lehigh has put up 12 wins against Holy Cross as well.

ROADWOES: Holy Cross finishes the regular season on the road with a rematch against reigning Patriot League champion, Lehigh on Feb. 26. In all, Holy Cross is 4-9 when playing on the road this season, matching the 2007-2008 squads' road record. Since 2000, the Crusaders have posted just three losing season records on the road, including the last three seasons. This year's Holy Cross team averages 56.0 points per road game. Home teams average 70.2 points and are knocking down 43.4 percent of their baskets, while the Crusaders shoot 34.6 percent as the visitors. On a neutral floor, as in the Cavalier Classic, Holy Cross posted 65.0 points per game and allowed an average of 82.5 points to be scored. The Crusaders are also out-rebounded by an average of eight rebounds when playing on the road as Navy out-rebounded the Crusaders 42-33 in the last road contest.

HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Holy Cross, who has played in 12 home match-ups so far, has one final home game left, hosting last-place Colgate on Wednesday. The Crusaders are 5-7 when playing on their home hardwood this season, winning against New Hampshire, Harvard, Maine, Bucknell and Lafayette, and falling to Yale, Central Connecticut, Boston College, Army, Navy, Lehigh and American. The Crusaders currently have a .748 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 333-112 advantage at home and has posted 29 winning records at home and just five losing seasons, including last year's 4-9 record. A total of 47 teams have never won at the Hart Center, including conference opponent, Colgate, who the Crusaders are 17-0 against. Combined, the Crusaders have won 156 of 198 meetings against this year's home opponents, including a 125-25 record against Patriot League foes (2-4 this season).

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 27 games played, Lepley is averaging 9.6 points and a team-best 5.6 rebounds per game. She has the best shooting percentage, 42 percent (102-for-243), amongst starters, also ranking eighth amongst Patriot League leaders. Against American the last time out, Lepley scored 11 points, hitting five of her eight field goal attempts and bringing down five rebounds. She put together a career-best 22 point outing one game before, going eight-of-14 from the field. She has 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 and were the most rebounds collected by a Crusader this season. She notched a season-high nine made field goals against the Bulldogs as well. Lepley has recorded 12 double-digit scoring outings in all; 13 points against Central Connecticut, 10 points against Maine, 10 points against Boston College, 12 points against Bryant, 13 points against East Tennessee State, 14 points against North Carolina A&T, 10 points vs. Navy, 11 points against Lafayette (2/5), 22 points against Navy (2/16) and 11 points vs. American (2/19). She has led or tied the team-high in rebounding in 11 out of the 27 games, including double-figure rebounding in three games. She has led the team in points three times. Amongst Patriot League leaders, Lepley ranks 13th in assists (2.2), 12th in steals (1.4), 11th in rebounding and 15th in scoring. She has also played in an average of 26.6 minutes per game. 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. She 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 11.7 points, adds 3.5 rebounds per game and shoots 38.8 percent from the floor (102 of 263). Seventy-seven of her field goals made (75 percent) have come as three-point shots, which now ranks second in the Holy Cross single season records list for three-pointers made. She is 10 three-point field goals made off the record Bethany O'Dell set in 2006-2007. One hundred-ninety seven of her field goal attempts have come as three-point shots as well, which ranks third in the Holy Cross single season records. Smith led the team in scoring against American on Feb. 19, tallying 16 points on six of nine shooting. Four field goals came as three-pointers while she also collected four rebounds. She has reached the 20-point mark three times this season, including a season-high 22 points against Northeastern, also notching season-bests with eight field goals made. She hit six treys in that game, which ranks third amongst the program's single-game records. Through 27 games, Smith has either led or tied for the team-high in points nine times. She has notched 15 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, 11 vs. Bucknell, 20 vs. Lafayette, 18 at Army and 16 vs. American). According to the Feb. 21 NCAA rankings, Smith sits at12th in the nation in the three-pointers made per-game category (3.0). She is first amongst league leaders in that category as well. She is sixth in three-point field goal percentage (39.1) and 10th in scoring average amidst league leaders. She now has three Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors under her belt (11/29, 12/6, 2/7), was named AT&T Crusader of the Week on Dec. 20, the Winter Homecoming Game MVP and named to the Cavalier Classic's All-Tournament Team. Smith showed off her versatility against Dartmouth as she led the team in rebounding, bringing down a season-high eight rebounds, while also collecting six steals, another season-high. She is the team-leader in assists, collecting 81 in all. In the league, she ranks within the top-10 in assists (fourth), steals (ninth) and minutes played (sixth). In those categories, Smith is averaging 3.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 31.9 minutes per game.

FREMEAU BREAKS LOOSE: SeniorWhitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) continues to be one of the team's biggest offensive threats and defensive presences so far this season, moving up to 21st in the team's all-time leading scorers list after scoring 13 points against American, bringing her career-points total to 1,054. Currently, Fremeau leads the team with a 14.4 points per game average, adds 4.4 rebounds per game and is making and taking the team's largest number of shots (158-for-378 from the floor). Fremeau extended her double-figure scoring streak to 17 games on Saturday, hitting four field goals and tying her season-high with seven assists, following her career-best 10 field goals made in 19 attempts against Bucknell. She recorded a career-high 26 point outing against Lehigh on Jan. 29, including seven three-point shots made in nine tries. Her seven three-point shots in a single game rank second in Holy Cross' single game record list, tying Bethany O'Dell's seven three-pointers made against Western Illinois in 2008. After combining for 50 points from Jan. 26-29, Fremeau was awarded Patriot League Player of the Week honors, the first of her career. She has posted a total of 23 double-digit scoring outings this season. 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, 12 vs. Army, 15 vs. Bucknell, 12 vs. Navy, 12 at American, 24 at Colgate, 26 vs. Lehigh, 12 vs. Lafayette and 17 at Army, 21 at Bucknell, 19 at Navy and 13 vs. American. She has also led or tied the team in scoring 12 times. She currently averages 16.8 points per game against Patriot League opponents, ranking first in that category. In all games, Fremeau ranks second amongst Patriot League individuals with her 14.4 scoring average. She also averages 31.2 minutes per game (eighth in the league) and is shooting 41.8 percent from the floor (ninth in the league). She has also led or tied the team-high in rebounding in five games and posted a season-high nine rebounds against Lehigh on Jan. 29. In her 113 career games played, Fremeau adds 449 rebounds and 211 assists to her 1,053 career points.

THE FROSH IMPACT: Through the 27 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 658 of the team's 1,642 total points, are bringing down 110 out of 945 rebounds, add 161 of the 419 assists and 90 of the 222 total steals. Together, the five are averaging 4.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, while making 214 of their 614 field goal attempts (34.9 percent). In all, the freshman class has led the squad in scoring 11 times and in rebounding nine times.

MALONE MAKES IT HAPPEN: Freshman Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) is an added spark to the starting lineup for the Crusaders. Malone has earned 15 starts in the Crusaders' 27 total games, including the last five contests. As a starter, Malone averages 7.2 points per outing, hitting 34 of her 103 field goal attempts. Against American the last time out, Malone tallied eight points, two assists and three rebounds. Malone adds 6.5 points per and 2.8 rebounds through all 27 contests and led the squad in scoring for the first time against Army on Jan. 13. Her 15 points against the Black Knights registered a season-high as were her five field goals made. She led the team defensively in the next game, recording a team-best nine rebounds against Bucknell on Jan. 15. Amongst Patriot League players, Malone ranks 30th in scoring and 11th in free throw percentage (71.4). In that category, she has made 50 of her 70 attempts from the line.

WILLFUL WARD: Junior Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) has been a major factor after accepting the role as the team's sixth man this season. Starting 13 games and coming off the bench in 14, Ward averages 6.0 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 31.7 percent from the floor (44-for-139) on the season, almost doubling her career average of 3.4 points and 1.5 rebounds. In her start against Harvard, Ward broke out fora 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. Ward has five double-digit scoring outings in 27 games played (14 vs. Quinnipiac, 10 at Fordham, 11 vs. New Hampshire, 17 vs. Harvard and 12 vs. East Tennessee State). She is extremely calm and collected at the free throw line this season, as she has made 66 free throws in 79 attempts (83.5 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. She also ranks second amongst Patriot League leaders in the free throw percentage category. In all, Ward has led the squad in scoring twice and has led or tied the team in assists six times. She has a total of 63 assists this season, nine away from her career-high of 72 assists last season. In her 85 career games played, Ward has collected 356 points, 159 rebounds and 141 assists.

GOOD GRABS BY GANSER: Freshman Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) is emerging as a great force underneath the basket for the Crusaders this season as she currently averages five points and 3.8 rebounds in 27 games off the bench. She also shoots 35.4 percent (34-for-96) from the floor and averages 14.6 minutes played per game. She tallied her best defensive effort against Lafayette on Feb. 5, hitting new heights with 11 rebounds, a season and team-high. Ganser recorded her best offensive outing of the season in the win against Lafayette on Jan. 8, tallying season-highs with 15 points on five of nine shooting. She also ranks fourth on the team with her 3.9 rebounding average and has at least one rebound in the last 18 games, bringing her season total to 102 rebounds. Ganser has a total of four double-digit outings thus far (10 vs. Central Connecticut, 12 vs. North Carolina A&T, 15 at Lafayette and 13 vs. Lehigh). The Needham, Mass. product is also one of the team's best free-throw shooters, sinking 62 of 83 free throw attempts (74.7 percent), ranking sixth amongst league individuals. 

DEFENSE MAY'S WAY: Senior Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.), who is listed as a 6-0 forward/guard, ranks first on the team with 45 steals this season, tallying a career-high in steals made in a season. After recording seven steals in the last two games, including a career-best five steals at Navy, May now averages 1.7 steals per game, ranking sixth amongst Patriot League performers. She tallied another career-high with seven assists against Lafayette on Feb. 5. and has a total of 54 assists this season. She also ties the team-high in blocks, registering 12 blocks so far this season. She recorded a career-best four blocks against East Tennessee State on Dec. 28 and averages 0.4 blocks-per-game, ranking 14th amongst top league performers. Her 12 blocks are a career-high, besting her eight blocks from the 2009-2010 season. Through 27 games, May is averaging 4.0 points and 4.1 rebounds after leading the team with seven rebounds against American on Feb. 19. She scored a career-high 12 points against Boston College on Dec. 8 and posted a season-best nine rebounds against Harvard on Nov. 28. In her 80 career games played, May has recorded 447 points, 314 rebounds and 152 assists.

HELPING HANDS: Holy Cross ranks first amongst Patriot League teams in the assists category. Through 27 games, Holy Cross averages 15.5 assists per outing (419 total) as Alex Smith leads the way with 86 assists, leading the team in the category in nine of the last 14 games. The squad tied a season-high with 26 dishes against Lafayette on Feb. 5, which they also did against Maine on Dec. 4. The 26 assists are the highest total assists made by a Patriot League team in conference play so far this season. The team also ranks third in assist/turnover ratio, averaging 15.5 assists to 18.6 turnovers (0.8 ratio). Amy Lepley, Whitney Fremeau and Alyssa May have all recorded seven assists, a single game-high for the Crusaders. In all, the Crusaders have recorded more assists than their opponents in 14 games.

BIG W: The Feb. 5 win over Lafayette turned in to one of the best team performances put in by the Crusaders all season, and maybe in years. The squad hit a season-best 52.5 percent, making 31 field goals in 59 attempts. Not only did Holy Cross outscore Lafayette by 37 points, it brought down 20 more rebounds (50-30) and dished out 17 more assists (26-9). The last time Holy Cross won by at least a 37-point margin was in 2006, when Holy Cross beat out the Leopards 78-39 at the Hart Center. The Crusaders then followed with a seven-point win over Army, beating the Black Knights on their home court for the first time in over six meetings. The team also out-rebounded the Black Knights, 42-31, for the first time in four seasons.

HEAD COACH BILLGIBBONS: 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 495-284 record as head coach (.635 winning percentage), including a 9-18 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 25 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 490 wins, Gibbons is the second-winningest coach in Holy Cross Athletics history, behind legendary baseball coach Jack Barry, who totaled 616 wins from 1921-1960.

FREMEAU, MAYANDWARD NAMED 2010-2011 TEAMCAPTAINS: Whitney Fremeau, Alyssa May and Meredith Ward 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. 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 27 games of action, the captains have put up 658 points, 305 rebounds and 182 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. 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. 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. 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 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 Feb. 14. Currently, the Crusaders rank 40th in assists per game (15.5), 98th in assist/turnover ratio (0.82) and 222nd in scoring offense (60.6). Alex Smith remains a top the nation's three-point performers as she ranks 12th in three-point shots made per game (3.0) and 73rd in three-point percentage (39.1). Lastly, Whitney Fremeau ranks 152nd on the national scene with her 41.8 field goal percentage.

NEXTUP FOR THE CRUSADERS: Holy Cross wraps up the regular season with a final trip to Bethlehem, Pa. to face the second-place Lehigh Mountain Hawks. The Crusaders visit the reigning Patriot League champs for a 7:30 p.m. game at Stabler Arena, looking to break Lehigh's seven-game win streak. 

SCOUTING COLGATE:
7-19 (2-10 Patriot League)

HEAD COACH: Colgate head coach Pamela Bass is in her fourth season at the helm of the Raiders women's basketball program. Bass took over the reins at Colgate in the spring of 2007 and owns a 23-92 career record with the Raiders, including the 7-19 record in the 2010-2011 season. In her career, Bass has coached her teams to 31 wins and 113 losses, serving one season as the head coach of Longwood in 2006-2007. She is also winless against Holy Cross, falling in all seven meetings against the Crusaders.

2010-2011 SQUAD: This year's Colgate team enters Wednesday's game with a 7-19 record, 2-10 in the Patriot League, placing eighth in conference standings. The squad most recently lost to Bucknell on the road, falling 79-64. The Raiders are on a five game slide, last winning by a score of  59-55 on Jan. 29 at Navy. The Raiders are 2-11 when playing on the road, including a 1-5 record when playing conference opponents. The team's other road win was at Wagner on Nov. 23. The Raiders finished their non-conference slate with a 5-9 record as well. The team returns eight letterwinners, including four of the five starters from last season. Senior guard Taylor Wjenert leads the team offensively with 12.5 points per game, while shooting 37.5 percent (118 of 315) from the floor and adding 5.7 rebounds per contests. Sophomore guard Jhazmine Lynch follows with 11.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Senior forward Krista Moser is the team's top defender, bringing down an average of 6.9 rebounds per game. Colgate finished 10-19 overall in 2009-2010, including a 5-8 mark in Patriot League contests, taking sixth place.