Crusaders Head To No. 1 Seed American For Patriot League Semifinals

Emily Parker

Click here for the full Patriot League Semifinal Game Notes in PDF

Game Day Quick Facts
The Teams:
Holy Cross (17-13, 7-7 PL) vs. American(23-6, 14-0 PL)
Date: March 5, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Bender Arena (5,043), Washington, D.C.
Live Video Streaming: Patriot League All-Access
Holy Cross Radio: Bob Fouracre play-by-play; Click Here to Listen
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 14-12
Last Meeting: American 67, Holy Cross 47 (Washington, D.C.; February 11, 2012)

CRUSADERS MOVE ON IN 2012 PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT: Holy Cross continues play in the 2012 Patriot League Tournament on Monday, March 5, as it plays as the No. 5 seed, matching up with American, the No. 1 seed at 7:00 p.m. All rounds of the tournament will be hosted by the higher seed as American will host Monday's contest at Bender Arena in Washington, D.C. The winner of the Holy Cross-American game will move on to face the winner of the No. 2 Lehigh vs. No. 3 Navy contest in the championship game. The championship is set for Saturday, March 10 at the highest remaining seed and will tip off at 6:00 p.m.

THE SEEDINGS: Holy Cross is the No. 5 seed in the Patriot League tournament, marking the second time in three years that the Crusaders have finished as the No. 5 seed. The last time was in 2010. American has been seeded No. 1 just one other time in its Patriot League history, earning the No. 1 seed in the 2008 tournament. Throughout the program's history in the Patriot League, Holy Cross has been the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament 11 times, including seven consecutive seasons dating from 1997 until 2003. In all, the Crusaders have recorded 17 wins and two losses as the top seed. They have also been the No. 2 seed four times (9-3), No. 3 two times (4-1), No. 4 two times (0-2), No. 5 once (1-0) and No. 6 once (0-1). Holy Cross stands at 1-4 all-time in Patriot League Tournament games when it has been seeded lower than its opponent. The Crusaders enter Monday's game with a 2-4 record in their last six Tournament games, topping Army in the quarterfinals in the last game. Holy Cross also lost to American in the quarterfinals of the 2011 tournament, to Army in the quarterfinals of the 2009 tournament and lost to Bucknell in the 2008 Patriot League championship game. Holy Cross was seeded second in 2008, fourth in 2009, fifth in 2010 and sixth in 2011.

TOURNAMENT TIP-INS: The Crusaders face American in the semifinals for the first time in Patriot League Tournament history…The two have met in the postseason three prior times, twice in the quarterfinals and once in a championship game…Holy Cross suffered its first loss to American in postseason play last season, losing in the quarterfinals…Monday's semifinal round will be the second time Holy Cross has played a tournament game at Bender Arena…The Crusaders are 18-7 when playing away from home for tournament games, picking up their 18th victory at Army in the quarterfinals round of this year's tournament…American did not host a Patriot League Tournament in the old format of one team hosting the entire tournament…Holy Cross has hosted the Patriot League Tournament five times, including the 1993, 1996, 2005, 2006 and 2010 seasons...When hosting, Holy Cross has recorded 12 wins and two losses.

DON'T CALL IT AN UPSET: The Crusaders will attempt to become the fourth No. 5 seed in Patriot League Tournament history to defeat the No. 1 seed in the semifinals. The last No. 5 seed to beat a No. 1 seed was Bucknell, who sent American packing in the 2008 Patriot League Tournament. Only one team lower than the No. 3 seed has ever won a Patriot League Tournament title, as the 2008 Bucknell team, who topped the Crusaders in the championship game, became the only No. 5 seed to advance past the semifinal round.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY VS. AMERICAN: Holy Cross and American have met just three times in the 20-year history of the Patriot League tournament. The Crusaders are 2-1 in the series, topping the Eagles in the quarterfinal round of the 2006 tournament and then again in the championship round of the 2007 season before losing to the Eagles in the quarterfinals of last season's tournament. Holy Cross won the first game, 57-49 and then followed with a 56-48 victory for the 2007 Patriot League title. The Crusaders were the second seed in 2006, the third seed in 2007 and the sixth seed in 2011 while American was the seventh seed in 2006, the fourth seed in 2007 and the third seed in 2011. American is the No. 1 seed this season after putting together the first unblemished regular season record in Patriot League history (14-0). Sophomore Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) had the best effort on the team in last year's tournament meeting, scoring 10 points. Fellow Sophomore Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) averages the most amount of points when playing American, putting up an average of 9.2 points in five games played.

SERIES HISTORY AGAINST AMERICAN: Monday's match-up will be the 27th meeting between Holy Cross and American. The Eagles became the most recent member of the Patriot League during the 2001-2002 season and have been an annual competitor for Holy Cross since Jan. 26, 2002. The teams first met on Dec. 3, 2000 in the St. Joseph's Classic championship game. The Crusaders topped the Eagles, 67-62, to earn the championship title. Holy Cross then went on to win the following five meetings with its Patriot League opponent, scoring at least 60 points in every triumph. The Eagles broke the six-game slide on Feb. 20, 2004 in Washington, D.C. by a score of 81-65. The Crusaders then put together another five-game win streak, including a 57-49 victory over the Eagles in the 2006 Patriot League Tournament. The Crusaders have lost the last seven games to American, including the 67-47 loss in the last meeting. Head coach Bill Gibbons is responsible for the all-time 14-12 record while American head coach, Matt Corkery, stands at 8-1 all-time against the Crusaders, as his Eagles have taken eight of the 13 total meetings at Bender Arena, including three in a row.

HOLY CROSS AGAINST CONFERENCE FOES: The 2011-2012 season marks the 22nd year of Patriot League competition for the Crusaders. Over the last 22 seasons, the Crusaders have competed in a total of 343 league match-ups, winning 257 and dropping 87 games total for a 74.8 winning percentage, including a 7-7 record after the regular season. The squad finished the final four league games of the regular season with a 3-1 record and earned the No. 5 seed in the tournament. The squad's 7-7 record ties the record from the 2006-2007 slate, the last season the Crusaders won the Patriot League Championship. 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 257-87 league record. In all, Holy Cross has made 21 appearances in the Patriot League Tournament, boasting 11 championships and a 38-10 all-time record. The Crusaders are most successful against Colgate as they have mounted a 44-4 all-time record against the Raiders, including an unblemished 26-0 record at the Hart Center. The team also boasts a 47-8 record against Lafayette, winning the last five meetings. Army and American have given Holy Cross the most trouble, as the two have combined for 29 of the 87 wins against the Crusaders. Lehigh has put up 15 wins against Holy Cross, including nine in a row, while American won its seventh straight over the Crusaders on Feb. 11.

ROAD WARRIORS: Holy Cross finished the regular season with a 6-9 record as the travel team and is now 1-0 in tournament action on the road. The squad's 84-71 victory at Brown on Jan. 16 was its best performance on the road in the regular season as the team shot a season-best 59.3 percent from the floor and tallied a season-best 32 field goals. Altogether, the team averages 60 points per game as the road team while allowing 64.5 points. Comparatively, the Crusaders post 66.3 points per game at home while allowing their opponents to score 62.8 points per game. The Crusaders also shoot 40.2 percent on the road while they shoot over 42 percent, 42.9, at home. The team has lost at Yale, UConn, Central Connecticut, Boston College, Miami, Lehigh, Colgate, American and Army and won at New Hampshire, Harvard, Navy, Brown Lafayette, Bucknell and Army.

PATRIOT LEAGUE HONOREES: Three members of the squad were named to All-Patriot League teams for the 2011-2012 season. Sophomore Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) earned first team honors after being named to the All-Rookie squad last season. Junior Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) was named to the second team and was also named to the second annual Academic All-Patriot League team. Freshman Emily Parker (Johnston, Iowa) rounded out the awards for Holy Cross as she was named to the All-Rookie team. Holy Cross has had one freshman named to the All-Rookie team three years in a row.

Sophomore Alex Smith and junior Amy Lepley are showing the Patriot League why Holy Cross boasted a winning record after the regular season. Lepley currently leads the team with 13.1 points per game while Smith follows close behind with 12.4 points per game. Lepley ranks third in the league in scoring while Smith sits in fifth place. Army's Anna Simmers finishes her season as the league's top point producer, ranking first with 14.8 points per game. Colgate's Jhazmine Lynch ends her season in second with 13.5 points per game while Black Knight Jen Hazlett sits between Lepley and Smith in fourth with 12.9 points per game. Combined, the two have led the team in scoring in 21 of the team's 30 games, including 10 of the 14 conference games. Lepley leads the team in scoring against Patriot League opponents, averaging 13.6 points. 

TURNOVER TENACITY: Sophomores Alex Smith and Brisje Malone are showing off their seasoned skills, leading the team not only with their scoring capabilities, but also their ability to create shots for their teammates. The two have combined for 273 of the squad's 510 assists (53.5 percent) and account for only 191 of the total 493 turnovers. Through the 30 games, Smith leads the Patriot League with a 1.6 assist/turnover ratio (170 assists, 108 turnovers) while Malone is thurd with a 1.2 ratio (103 assists, 84 turnovers). Both tallied 11 assists in one game, Smith doing so against Harvard and Malone against Morgan State. Their output ranks in a tie for fifth in Holy Cross single-game records. Combined, the two have led the team in the assist category in 29 of the 30 total games as Smith topped the squad for the fifth straight game with five assists versus Army in the quarterfinals. As a team, Holy Cross posts a 1.03 a/t ratio, the best in the league.

SPREAD THE WEALTH: One of the biggest reasons for Holy Cross' success this season is its ability to spread out the offense. Through the 30 games, seven of the 11 players on the roster have scored in double-figures. Alex Smith and Amy Lepley lead the pack with a combined 42 double-figure outings. All five of the team's regular starters have hit the double-figure mark at least once while sophomore Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) adds six double-figure outings, including the last three contests. Freshman Ashley Cooper (Colts Neck, N.J.) became the seventh player to hit the mark with an 11-point outing against Navy on Feb. 8. Six different players have led the team in scoring this season as freshman Emily Parker (Johnston, Iowa) has now led the team in scoring in four of the last nine games. A season-high of five players reached the double-digit mark in the last game against Colgate to close out the regular season.

OFFENSE ON TOP: The Holy Cross women's basketball team has hung onto its offensive tempo all season, leading the league with a combined averaged of 63.4 points per game. When playing non-conference opponents, the Crusaders averaged 64.4 points per game and average 62.2 points per game against league foes. In all, the team has put up 1,903 points in 30 contests. The second-highest scoring team in the Patriot League through all games is Lehigh, which averages 59.3 points per game, a difference of 4.1 points per game. The squad's outburst of 82 points against Bryant was a season-high while a season-best 32 field goals were made against Brown. The team's overall field goal percentage, 41.5, is a league best as it has combined to make 713 of the 1,719 shot attempts. The team is averaging 24 field goals made per game. Against league opponents, the Crusaders hit 41.5 percent of their field goals (357 of 861). Altogether, the team is 12-4 when playing in games where it's scored over 60 points and 13-4 when shooting better than 40 percent. When scoring under 60 points, the team is 2-8.

WARD LEADS SQUAD: The lone senior on the roster, Meredith Ward, was named captain for the 2011-2012 season. Ward was also named a tri-captain for the 2010-2011 season. She is the veteran leader in the backcourt and has started at guard in all 30 games this season, averaging 30.5 minutes, 6.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Her playing time has increased dramatically during her senior season as she averaged 21.3 minutes over her first three years. Her point and rebound averages have also improved as she is averaging 2.3 more points 2.0 more rebounds than her career averages (4.1 points, 1.9 rebounds). She currently ranks 27th in scoring amongst Patriot League leaders. Ward has notched four double-digit scoring outings thus far, highlighted by her first career double-double against UMass on Nov. 22. She scored 14 points and tallied a career-best 12 rebounds, almost doubling her previous high of seven rebounds. Against Brown, Ward led the squad with 16 points, knocking down a season-high seven field goals. She followed with a career-high eight assists at Lafayette, leading the team. Her other double-figure games include Quinnipiac (15 points) and Fordham (12). Against Lehigh on Feb. 4, Ward tied the team-high with eight rebounds, recording the second game this season where she's topped out in the rebounding category. Her free throw shooting remains strong as well, as she hits 76.9 percent (30 of 39) from the line. As a junior, Ward registered a Holy Cross single-game record when she went 12-for-12 from the free throw line against Quinnipiac and finished the season as the team's top free throw performer, making 84 percent of her attempts. In her career she has scored 555 points, recorded 280 rebounds and 235 assists.

SMOOTH SMITH: Sophomore guard Alex Smith was named to the first team All-Patriot League as she continues to grow in her sophomore season. Also this season, Smith was named to the Miami Classic All-Tournament team and Patriot League Player of the Week on Dec. 12. Her numbers are impressive, as she has led the team in scoring in 11 games, putting up an average of 12.4 points per game. Highlighting her scoring efforts was a 26-point outburst versus Army on Jan. 25. Smith reached new heights as she sank a career-best nine field goals, five coming from three-point range. She has scored in double-figures in 15 of the last 22 games and has 20 double-digit outings on the season. Her other double-figure games include a team-high 17 points vs. Colgate, 13 points at Army, 10 points at American, 12 points vs. Navy, 18 points vs. Lehigh, 14 points vs. Bucknell, 15 points at Brown, 11 points at Lehigh, 10 points vs. Dartmouth, 19 points vs. Morgan State, 11 points at Miami, 11 points vs. Bryant, 17 points at Boston College, 22 points at Harvard, 20 points vs. Northeastern, 15 points at Central Connecticut, 14 points versus UMass, 14 points versus Quinnipiac and 11 points at Yale. Smith topped out in the assists category against Harvard, collecting 11 to notch a career-high and record her first-ever double-double. She has 170 total assists on the season, notching a career-high and ranking in a tie for fifth on the Holy Cross single-season records list. She leads the team and Patriot League with 5.7 assists per game and has led the team in the assists category in the last 11 games. She is once again a three-point threat, sinking a season-high of five three-point shots in one game four times so far (vs. Northeastern, Boston College, Morgan State and Army). She has hit multiple three-pointers in 24 of the 30 contests. Smith averages 2.5 three-pointers made per game, leading the league. She has 46 career games where she's made at least two three-pointers. As a freshman, Smith ranked second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.1 point per game. She also ranked first on the team in minutes played per game (32.0) and assists (98). She finished the season with 82 three-pointers made, ranking second-highest in the Holy Cross single-season records. In her career, Smith has recorded 694 points, 207 rebounds and 266 assists.

LEAPS FOR LEPLEY: Junior forward Amy Lepley returns for her third-straight season as one of the team's starting forwards and earned a spot on the second team All-Patriot League for her efforts. She is at full strength as she currently ranks first on the team and third in the Patriot League in scoring average, putting up 13.1 points per game. Lepley's numbers continue to impress as she has notched a team-high 22 double-figure outings this season, highlighted by a season and career-high 22 point outburst against Lehigh on Feb. 4, duplicating her performance from Jan. 7. She registered her fourth 20-point effort of the season, sinking a career-best 10 field goals in 16 attempts. She added 20 more points to her season total at Bucknell on Feb. 18, scoring almost half of the team's points to register her fifth 20-point effort and earned Patriot League Player of the Week honors for her performance. Lepley has hit double figures in 11 of the last 14 games and has led the team in scoring 12 times on the season. She has also recorded double-figures against Army (10), Colgate (10), Lafayette (11), Navy (10), at Lafayette (21), at Colgate (19), Bucknell (12), Brown (14), Dartmouth (13) Morgan State (19), Bryant (18) Boston College (11), UMass (15), Harvard (15), Fordham (14), Quinnipiac (13) and Yale (12). Lepley is the team's best shooter, making 49.9 percent of her field goal attempts (167 of 335). Her field goal percentage ranks third amongst league players. She is a true double-threat as she leads the team and ranks ninth in the league in rebounding, averaging a career-best 6.3 rebounds per game. She has led the team in rebounding in six of the 14 league contests, including a career and team-best 14 rebounds at Colgate. Against the Raiders, Lepley secured her fifth career double-double, scoring 19 points and tallying the 14 rebounds. She followed with her sixth career double-double in the final game of the regular season against Colgate, scoring 10 points and leading the squad with 12 boards. Originally playing as a guard in high school, the converted forward led the team in rebounding (5.6 per game) and blocks (13) in 2010-2011. In her career she has scored 890 points, recorded 482 rebounds and 180 assists.

PICK-ME-UP PARKER: Freshman forward Emily Parker got her Holy Cross career off to a great start, posting a double-double in her first game in a Crusaders uniform. Her 17-point, 10-rebound performance at Yale marked the first time in 15 years of Holy Cross basketball that a freshman posted such high numbers in her first-ever performance. The feat landed her Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors on Nov. 15. She picked up a total of four Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors this season and was recently named to the Patriot League All-Rookie team. Parker has recorded double-figure outings in 11 of the last 15 games, including a game-high 16 points at Army on Feb. 22. She registered a season and team-high 20-points against Quinnipiac and has led the team in scoring seven times this season. Her other double-figure outing include 14 points vs. Colgate, 15 points vs. Lafayette, 15 points vs. Lehigh, 19 points at Colgate, 15 points vs. Army, 10 points at Lafayette, 10 points at Brown, 15 points vs. American, 12 points at Navy, 10 points at UNH, 13 points against Northeastern and 11 points over Bryant. She averages a total of 10.2 points per game, ranking third on the team and 13th in the Patriot League. She continues to be one of the team's top rebounders as she earned her second double-double with 12 rebounds along with the 12 points at Navy, leading the team in rebounding. She averages 5.8 boards per game, second highest on the team, and has led the squad in rebounding in eight games this season, including her 11 rebounds at Bucknell on Feb. 18. She is the team's top shot-blocker as she notched a season-high four blocks against the Midshipmen on Jan. 11. She has posted a total of 35 blocks on the season, an average of 1.3 blocks per game, ranking seventh amongst Patriot League players. She has registered 11 games with multiple blocks, the most by any other Crusader this season.

COMEBACK MALONE: Sophomore guard Brisje Malone, who did not start the two exhibition games for Holy Cross this fall, has come back to earn the third starting guard spot in 29 of the 30 games this season. Malone is aiding the team's top offense as she has tallied 14 double-digit scoring affairs and averages 8.8 points per game, ranking fourth on the team 18th in the league. She has hit a season-high of 15 points three times, coming at home versus Lafayette on Feb. 15, at Lafayette on Jan. 18 and at UNH. Against the Leopards on Feb. 15, Malone hit a career-best eight free throws, sinking all eight of her attempts from the line. Her overall free throw percentage, 73.4, ranks second on the team. She has also scored double-figures against Colgate (10), Bucknell (10), American (12), Dartmouth (11), Morgan State (10), Bryant (14), Boston College (10), Northeastern (11), UMass (10), Harvard (13), Central Connecticut (11) and Yale (13). Malone hits her stride in the clutch, scoring 149 of her 264 total points in the second half of games (56 percent). Malone notched two season-highs in the game against Morgan State, tallying eight rebounds and 11 assists. She became the second player on the team to notch a points, assist double-double this season, as her 11 assists were a career-best. Her versatility stretches to the defensive side of the ball as she ranks fourth on the team with 4.2 rebounds per game, leading the team in rebounding in two games so far (UNH, Miami). She tied her season-high with eight rebounds at Colgate. She is also second on the team and third in the league with 3.6 assists per game. As a freshman, she averaged 26.1 minutes and 7.1 points per game. In her career she has scored 456 points, brought down 202 rebounds and dished out 160 assists.  

GAINS FOR GANSER: Sophomore Christine Ganser, who has been a solid presence off the bench for Holy Cross this season, broke out for a career-best 21-point, four steal performance in the team's win over Dartmouth. She has shined in the team's last three games, posting 13 points and 11 rebounds off the bench at Army, scoring 15 points in the team's final regular season win over Colgate and then leading the squad with 17 points on 6-for-6 shooting against the Black Knights in the quarterfinals. She tallied her first career double-double against the Black Knights. Her 11 rebounds tied her career-high as she also recorded a career-best two blocks. Ganser is a big addition for the Crusaders' defense as she posts 4.6 rebounds per game, third on the team and 18th amongst league foes. She has had at least two rebounds in 15 of the last 17 contests. She also makes a team-best 76.0 percent of her free throws (76 of 100), ranking seventh amongst league players. Ganser played in all 30 games as a freshman, averaging 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds.

HELPING HANDS: For the second season in a row, the Holy Cross women's basketball team is leading the Patriot League in assists. The squad has combined for 510 assists on the season, an average of 17 assists per game. Lehigh ranks second in the league with 13.2 assists per game, a difference of four assists per game. Sophomore Alex Smith is once again the team's leader in the assists category, as she averages 5.7 assists per game, also leading the Patriot League. Holy Cross' 27 assists over Bryant tallied a league-high on the season. Sophomore Brisje Malone adds 3.6 assists per game, third in the league and second on the team.

STARTERS SHINE: The starting five for Holy Cross this season have earned their roles for a reason. Through the 30 games, Crusader starters have posted 1,507 of the team's 1,903 points (79 percent). They have combined for 4,483 of the 6,025 minutes played (74 percent) and are shooting a combined 42.4 percent from the floor (572 of 1,348). They have also sported 697 rebounds, 436 assists and 176 steals. Against Fordham, the team's starters scored 37 of the team's 43 points. In the game against Harvard, the starters boasted 71 of 73 points. Forty-five of the team's 53 points were scored by the starting five at CCSU and 59 of the team's 61 points versus UNH were put up by starters. Fifty of the squad's 60 points were scored by starters in the Patriot League opener at Lehigh while 46 of the 55 points were posted by starters at Navy. The starting five posted 68 of the Crusaders' 73 points in the outing versus Lehigh on Feb. 4, while 39 of the 47 points scored at American were by the top five on Feb. 11.

DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS: Another goal of the 2011-2012 season is to step up on all aspects of the defense. One of the main ways the team has accomplished its goal is to win the rebounding battle. The team has outrebounded 16 of 30 opponents thus far (Colgate, Lehigh, Bucknell twice, Lafayette, Brown, American, Navy, Morgan State, Yale, Fordham, UMass, UNH, Northeastern, Boston College and Bryant) and boasts an 11-5 record when outrebounding its opponent. When outrebounded, the team drops to a 6-8 record. Highlighting the teams rebounding efforts was a 52-33 margin against Bryant, a difference of 19 boards, a +13 difference at Navy (46-33) and a 43-29 advantage against American (+14). The 52 rebounds against Bryant were a single-game high. In all, Holy Cross posts 11 more rebounds than its opponents, a 1,126-1,115 difference. The Crusaders have also stepped up their defense on another level, obtaining more blocks than opponents in 12 of the 30 games (2-1 at Army, 6-2 at Bucknell, 3-1 vs. Lehigh, 2-1 vs. Bucknell, 2-1 at Lafayette, 5-3 at Brown, 3-0 versus American, 4-2 at Navy, 4-1 versus Quinnipiac, 3-1 at Harvard, 3-2 at UNH, 4-1 versus Bryant). Emily Parker has collected 35 of the team's 68 blocks. The team posted a season-high six blocks at Bucknell on Feb. 18. The last Holy Cross team to outrebound all of its opponents during a season was in 2002-2003. That season, the squad put up 1,216 rebounds compared to 1,124 rebounds by their opponents. The team finished with a 24-8 overall record and won the 2003 Patriot League Championship.

HOLY CROSS AMONGST THE NATION'S BEST: Holy Cross has gained recognition with many of the nation's top teams and players after the 22nd round of the NCAA Division I rankings was released on March 2. Currently, the Crusaders rank 11th in assists per game (17.0), 20th in assist/turnover ratio (1.03), 68th in field goal percentage (41.5) and 141st in scoring offense (63.4). Alex Smith ranks within the top-50 in the nation with her 5.7 assists per game (19th). Smith also ranks in the top-50 with her 2.6 three-pointers made per game, currently ranking 34th. She ranks within the top-100 in assist/turnover ratio, sitting in 76th (1.57). Amy Lepley ranks 48th nationally with her 49.9 field goal percentage.

HEAD COACH BILL GIBBONS:27th Season: Holy Cross head coach Bill Gibbons began the season with 496 career wins and now boasts a career record of 514-299 as head coach (63.2 winning percentage), including a 17-13 record at the helm this season. He became the 24th active Division I coach to have 500 career wins on Dec. 3 at New Hampshire. He is in his 27th season at the helm of the Holy Cross women's basketball program and 31st as a member of the Holy Cross basketball family in 2011-2012. He has led the Crusaders to nine Patriot League Championships in the last 16 years. He has also made 12 postseason appearances (11 NCAA Tournaments and one WNIT) in his 26 years as head coach. He holds sixteen 20-win seasons under his belt and is the sixth coach of the women's program at Holy Cross, enjoying 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 500 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.

SCOUTING AMERICAN: American enters the game with an overall record of 23-6 on the season, winners of 15 games in a row. The Eagles are the first Patriot League team in history to go 14-0 in the regular season and moved past Lafayette by a score of 59-54 in a quarterfinal game of this year's tournament. Senior Lisa Strack, named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, leads the team offensively and defensively with an average of 11.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Sophomore Alexis Dobbs, the Patriot League Scholar Athlete of the Year, adds 11.3 points per game. American is led by head coach Matt Corkery, who is in his fourth season at the helm of the Eagles program. He was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year and owns a 63-31 record after three years of coaching in D.C.