SMITHFIELD, R.I. – In her first game of the season, Holy Cross senior forward Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) went a perfect 7-for-7 from the field for 16 points to help lead the Crusaders to a 68-66 come-from-behind victory over Bryant on Friday morning at the Chace Athletic Center. Lepley had missed the first nine games of the year due to an injury. With the win, Holy Cross evens its record at 5-5, while the Bulldogs slip to 4-5 overall.
With 2:18 left in the contest, Bryant held the 60-58 advantage. Over the next 91 seconds, there would be a pair of ties and lead changes, as the Bulldogs held the slim 66-65 lead with 47 ticks on the clock. On the next Holy Cross possession, Lepley connected on a layup to put the Crusaders ahead by one (67-66) with 0:23 on the clock.
On the ensuing possession, Bryant would put up three consecutive shots, all resulting in a miss, before Holy Cross junior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) hauled in the defensive board and connected with one foul shot on the other end, which clinched the, 68-66, triumph for HC.
The Crusaders jumped ahead 8-2 at the 17:25 mark to begin the contest after juniors Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) and Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) both hit three-pointers during the stretch. Over the next minute, Bryant countered with a 5-0 run of its own to cut the deficit to 8-7. Holy Cross worked the advantage to 14-7 (14:58) on a 6-0 rally, before the Bulldogs responded with an 8-0 surge to gain a 15-14 lead with 12:39 left in the first half. Both teams scored nine points apiece over the next six minutes, as Bryant remained ahead 24-23, before the Bulldogs went on top 30-25 at the 2:30 mark of the first stanza. The Crusaders ended the half on a 5-0 run, with Ganser scoring four points, to go into the locker room knotted at 30-30.
After the intermission, Holy Cross pushed ahead 36-33 at the 16:55 mark of the second half on the back of a Ganser layup. Over the next 3:06, Bryant would embark on a 10-0 rally to gain the 43-36 advantage. It pushed the margin to eight points (46-38) with 12:21 left in the second half. However, the Crusaders answered with a 9-1 run to tie the score at 47-47 with 8:45 left in the half. Smith had five points over the stretch to help get the Crusaders back in the game.
The two teams would go back and forth over the next 6:33, as there would be five tied scores and four lead changes, before the Bulldogs went ahead 60-58, which set the stage for the dramatic finish.
In addition to her 16 points, Lepley also hauled in four caroms. Smith tallied a team-best 17 points, to go along with six rebounds and four assists. Malone posted 15 points and a team-high five assists, while Ganser chipped in with nine points and four boards. Freshman forward Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) scored four points and led the squad with eight rebounds. Courtney Schissler scored a game-high 25 points, as she connected on five three-pointers to lead the Bulldogs.
The Crusaders shot 49.0 percent from the floor (24-of-49), while Bryant was limited to 36.7 percent shooting (22-of-60). Holy Cross hit 31.3 of its shots from behind the arc (5-of-16), while it shot 15-of-19 (78.9 percent) from the charity stripe. The Crusaders held advantages in defensive rebounds (27-19), steals (14-10), points in the paint (30-26) and second chance points (9-4).
Holy Cross will return to action after the holiday break on Friday, Dec. 28, as it will travel to Gainesville, Fla. to take on Florida at 7:00 p.m. The Crusaders will also play Bethune-Cookman during the trip on Sunday, Dec. 30 at 2:00 p.m.