Women's Basketball Hosts Lehigh To Begin Patriot League Play
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (8-7, 0-0 PL) vs. Lehigh (8-7, 0-0 PL)
Date: January 12, 2013
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: Jeremy Lechan, play-by-play, Click here to listen
Live Video Streaming: Crusader Vision
Live Video Streaming: Patriot League All-Access
Unofficial Live Statistics: PrestoSports Primetime
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 37-15
Last Meeting: Lehigh 75, Holy Cross 73 (February 4, 2012; Worcester, Mass.)
Pos., No., Name, Ht., Cl.
F, 31, Raquel Scott, 6-0, Fr.
F, 32, Amy Lepley, 6-0, Sr.
F, 34, Christine Ganser, 6-1, Jr.
G, 2, Brisje Malone, 5-9, Jr.
G, 22, Alex Smith, 5-8, Jr.
CRUSADERS SET TO OPEN PATRIOT LEAGUE PLAY: Holy Cross will play its first league contest of the 2012-2013 season as it will host Lehigh at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12 at the Hart Center. Following that game, the Crusaders will entertain Navy on Wednesday, Jan 16 in Worcester, Mass., and then play their first Patriot League road contest at American on Saturday, Jan. 19 for a 2:00 p.m. tilt. The game versus Navy will be shown live on Charter TV3.
THE SERIES WITH LEHIGH: This will be the 53rd meeting between the Crusaders and the Mountain Hawks, with Holy Cross holding the 37-15 overall series lead. Going into this contest, Lehigh has won its last nine games versus the Crusaders dating back to the 2008-2009 season. The last Holy Cross victory over the Mountain Hawks came on March 9, 2008, by a score of 65-62 in overtime. For games played at the Hart Center, Holy Cross holds an 18-7 record, but has dropped its last five versus Lehigh. Holy Cross won 26 of the first 27 matchups between these two squads from 1991-2001. Last season, the Mountain Hawks defeated the Crusaders, 75-73, on Feb. 4, 2012 in Worcester, Mass.
SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 37-15
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 18-7
At the Hart center: Holy Cross leads, 18-7
Bill Gibbons vs. Lehigh: 37-15
Sue Troyan vs. Holy Cross: 14-25
Current Win Streak: Lehigh, nine games
In Overtime: Holy Cross leads, 2-1
SMITH STEPPING UP FOR CRUSADERS: Junior guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) has been a key offensive leader for the Crusaders so far in 2012-2013. She currently is the top scorer in the Patriot League with 14.6 points per game and is third in assists with 3.3. She has scored double digits in 13 of the 15 games this season, including two 20 point efforts versus UMass and Brown. Smith is third in the conference with 1.9 steals per game as she has had a pair of six-steal games this season, both tying her career high. She averages 3.1 three-pointers made per game, which ranks her first in the Patriot League, while also playing the third most minutes in the conference at 35.3. She also is tied for first on the team with an 84.2 free-throw percentage. Smith posted 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in the season opening win versus Yale, while grabbing a career-best 10 rebounds against Quinnipiac. For her stellar play a season ago, Smith was named to the first team All-Patriot League with averages of 12.5 points, 5.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
LEPLEY BACK TO LEAD HOLY CROSS: After missing the first nine games of the year due to a pre-season injury, senior forward Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) has jumped right back into the Holy Cross starting lineup and has performed well. Through six games this season, Lepley averages 11.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per contest. In her first game of the season versus Bryant, Lepley shot a perfect 7 of 7 from and field and 2 of 2 from the foul line for 16 total points. She registered her eighth career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds versus Dartmouth. In the game versus Fordham, Lepley became the 28th player in Holy Cross history to score 1,000 career points. The 2011-2012 second team All-Patriot League player averaged a team-best 13.4 and 6.4 rebounds per contest a season ago and was selected to the 2012-2013 Preseason All-Patriot League team.
1,000 POINTS MILESTONE IN REACH FOR PAIR: On Jan. 6 versus Fordham, Amy Lepley became the 28th Holy Cross women's basketball player to cross the 1,000 career points milestone. She currently has 1,016 total points during her four seasons at Holy Cross, which ranks her 25th on the all-time scoring list. Lepley also became the 75th player in the 23-year history of the Patriot League to score 1,000 points in a career. Meanwhile, Alex Smith is 36 points away from the same milestone and would be the 11th Crusader to reach the achievement during their junior season. Both Lepley and Smith have a chance to break into the top-20 on the Holy Cross all-time scoring list by season's end.
MALONE PLAYS KEY MINUTES IN BACKCOURT: Junior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) has done well this season both offensively and defensively for Holy Cross. Through 15 games, Malone is second on the team with 32.2 minutes played per contest and averages 9.5 points, 4.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. Her assists mark is first in the Patriot League. She is fourth in the conference with a 1.3 assist/turnover ratio and is sixth with 1.6 steals. In the season opener versus Yale, Malone scored a career-high 23 points. She also hit the buzzer-beating bucket to lift Holy Cross over Central Connecticut as she posted a season-best nine assists. Malone tied her season best with nine helpers versus Brown. During the 2011-12 campaign, Malone played in all 34 games in and started in all but one. She averaged 8.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in just under 30 minutes per contest.
GANSER STEPPING INTO STARTING ROLE: Junior forward Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) has filled in nicely for the Crusaders starting lineup. Through 15 games, she is fourth on the team with 9.2 points per contest and leads the squad with an average of 5.8 rebounds (11th in the Patriot League). Ganser notched her second career double-double with a 17 point and 10 rebound effort versus Fordham. She also posted a season-high 17 points and hauled in seven rebounds against Harvard and 16 points and six rebounds in the win over UMass. Ganser ranks second in the Patriot League with a .481 field-goal percentage and sixth with 2.7 offensive boards per game. In 2011-2012, she averaged 19.5 minutes of playing time and put up totals of 6.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Ganser also performed well from the charity stripe last year as she converted on 76.5 percent of her free throws, which was second best on the team.
SCOTT LEARNING QUICKLY FOR CRUSADERS: Freshman forward Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) has begun her first collegiate season as a key contributor for Holy Cross. In the first 15 games, Scott averages 6.0 points and has 5.1 rebounds per contest. Her rebounds mark ranks 12th in the Patriot League. In her first start versus New Hampshire, Scott posted 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals in 36 minutes of action. Her best game of the season came at Manhattan, as the freshman recorded the first Crusaders double-double of the season with a 10 point and 12 rebound effort with six offensive boards. She also scored 11 points in the win over Brown. Scott has started in 12 of the 15 games this season for Holy Cross.
PARKER WORKING HARD IN THE POST: Sophomore forward Emily Parker (Johnston, Iowa) has been a strong presence in the frontcourt for the Crusaders this season. So far this season, Parker is fifth on the squad with 8.3 points, tied for second with 5.5 rebounds and first with 1.0 blocks per contest. She scored a season-best 18 points versus Yale in the season opener as she grabbed seven rebounds in the game against Boston College. In the win over Manhattan, Parker tallied nine points and a season-best nine rebounds. Parker is coming off a solid freshman campaign in which she took home Patriot League All-Rookie team accolades in 2011-2012. Last year, the 6'2" Parker played the number five position on the floor for the Crusaders as she appeared in 32 contests, starting in 31 of them. A season ago, she averaged 10.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while also blocking a team-best 38 shots. Her points mark was third on the squad, while her rebound average was second.
HAMNER ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL: After missing the first six games of the season due to injury, junior guard Kelly Hamner (Manassas ,Va.) has slowly worked herself back into the Crusaders playing rotation. In the game versus Manhattan on Dec. 1, Hamner saw five minutes of action as she scored two points. On Dec. 5 against Northeastern, she played 16 minutes off the bench and scored four points to go along with career-bests four assists and six rebounds. This season, Hamner is averaging 2.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in 9.6 minutes per contest. In 2011-12, Hamner saw 16.4 minutes of playing time per game and averaged 3.0 points and 2.6 rebounds.
COOPER BACK FROM INJURY: Sophomore guard Ashley Cooper (Colts Neck, N.J.) saw her first action of the season versus Bethune-Cookman. The long-range sharpshooter connected on her first three shots from behind the arc, as she was the second leading HC scorer with 13 points in 18 minutes of action. She also drilled a pair of treys in the win over Dartmouth. Through four games, Cooper is averaging 6.5 points and is 6 of 16 (.375%) from behind the arc in 18.3 minutes per contest. Last season, Cooper averaged 3.0 points per game and hit 23 of 68 of her shots from downtown (.338%) in 13.5 minutes per contest.
HOURIGAN COMING UP BIG FOR CRUSADERS: Freshman center Molly Hourigan (Memphis, N.Y.) has seen in increase in minutes over the last five games and has shown she can be a strong presence in the paint for Holy Cross. In only 11 minutes of action versus Bethune-Cookman, Hourigan grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. During the following matchup versus Dartmouth, she scored a season-best 10 points, while she hauled in six boards in 19 minutes of action. For the season, she has posted 2.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 7.5 minutes per game. Her blocks total is ranked 10th in the Patriot League.
FRESHMAN FRENZY: Holy Cross adds five new faces to this year's team with a large freshman class. Guards Lisa Mifsud (Erie, Pa.), Kate Gillespie (Washington, D.C.) and Jenn Walsh (Dallas, Texas) all were league champions for their respective high schools. Gillespie was also named Washington D.C. Gatorade girls basketball player of the year as a senior. In the front court, Raquel Scott and Molly Hourigan add size to an already tall front line. The 6'0" Scott comes from Immaculate Heart Academy, while the 6'4" Hourigan is the team's only center and is from Jordan-Elbridge. All five freshmen have seen action this season. Mifsud is averaging 3.3 points in 17.2 minutes per contest as she scored 11 points twice this season, versus Yale and Quinnipiac. Gillespie has made two starts for the Crusaders and averages 5.0 minutes per game.
OFF THE BENCH: With some early season injuries, many bench players have stepped up for the Crusaders. Senior forward Kaitlin Cole (Springfield, Pa.) has been a spark on the defensive side of the ball as she averages 1.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 9.6 minutes per game. In the Yale game, Cole posted career-highs with six rebounds and four steals, while versus Boston College, she also added a career-best three assists. She registered a career-high 28 minutes of action versus UMass to go along with four swipes. Sophomore forward Clare Sullivan (Belmont, Mass.) has averaged 8.1 minutes per contest with 3.4 points and 1.1 rebounds per game. In the game versus Central Connecticut, Sullivan scored 13 points in the first half on six-of-six shooting, which was a career-high. She also connected on her first collegiate three-pointer in the game versus the Blue Devils. Sullivan made her first career start versus Manhattan and scored six points. Senior guard Alexis Nicholas (Jamaica, N.Y.) has seen an average of 2.6 minutes of playing time this season and connected on her first collegiate three-pointer versus Brown.
BROWN RECAP: Holy Cross junior guard Alex Smith tallied a game-best 20 points, including six three-pointers, to help lead the Crusaders to an 83-66 triumph over Brown at the Hart Center on Tuesday, Jan. 8. With the win, Holy Cross concludes its non-conference schedule with an 8-7 record overall, while the Bears slip to 5-8 on the season. Brown began the contest with strong shooting from behind the arc, as it went ahead 12-2 at the 16:25 mark of the first half. The Crusaders countered and went on a 10-3 spurt to cut the deficit to 15-12 (13:54), as Smith hit a pair of threes during the run. Brown was able to push the margin to six points (18-12), as it connected on its sixth trey of the contest at the 13:24 mark. The Bears maintained the now 26-20 advantage (9:39), before a three-pointer by freshman Lisa Mifsud and a layup plus a foul shot by junior Brisje Malone knotted the score at 26-26 with 8:13 on the clock. With the score still tied (31-31) at the 5:10 mark, the Crusaders closed the half on an 8-1 run to head into the locker room with the 39-32 lead. Holy Cross kept up the pressure after the intermission as it exploded on a 9-0 rally over the first 2:34 of the second half, with Malone scoring five points to put HC on top 48-32. Brown ended the scoring drought over the next few minutes, but back-to-back threes by Smith gave the Crusaders the 55-37 lead with 14:34 on the clock. Brown cut into the deficit with a 7-0 push, to close the gap to 11 points (55-44) at 12:46, but a 10-0 scoring surge by Holy Cross over the next three minutes gave them a comfortable 65-44 lead. Freshman Raquel Scott scored four points for HC during the run. The Crusaders worked the lead to their biggest margin (23 points) on two occasions over the final nine minutes of the contest, including the 80-57 lead with 4:24 on the clock, as the Bears ended the game on a 9-3 run to result in the 83-66 final score. In addition to Smith, senior Amy Lepley posted 13 points, five rebounds and five assists. Malone finished with nine points, a game-best nine assists, and four rebounds, while Scott had 11 points. Sophomore Clare Sullivan had nine points off the bench for the Crusaders. Brown junior guard Lauren Clarke had 14 points and seven assists to lead the Bears. Both teams shot well for the game, as Holy Cross connected on 28 of its 61 shots (45.9 percent) and Brown hit 44.8 percent of its shots (26 of 58). Equally, both teams had good performances from behind the arc, as they combined for 53 attempts from downtown. Holy Cross hit 10 of its 25 three-pointers (40.0 percent), while the Bears converted on 35.7 percent of their treys (35.7 percent). The Crusaders hit 77.3 percent of their shots from the charity stripe (17 of 22). Holy Cross held advantages in rebounds (43-26), assists (24-19), points off turnovers (23-9) and fast break points (14-2).
SCORING TRENDS: During the 2012-2013 season, Holy Cross has boasted strong records based on scoring trends. In games where its opponents score less than 60 points, Holy Cross is a perfect 5-0. Also, the Crusaders are 7-3 when they score 60 points or more this season. Lastly, when the Crusaders enter the second half with the lead, they have an overall record of 6-1.
HELP ME HELP YOU: Last season, Holy Cross was ranked ninth in the country and first in the Patriot League with 16.9 assists per contest and that largely had to do with junior guards Alex Smith and Brisje Malone. In 2012-2013, the pair has combined for 120 of Holy Cross' 232 assists with a combined average of 8.0 per game. Malone is first in the Patriot League with 4.4 assists per game, while Smith is just behind her in third place with 3.6 helpers per contest. In the game versus Central Connecticut, the pair combined for 14 assists on the team's 22 made field goals.
"SMITH"-SONIAN LEAVING MARK IN RECORD BOOK: Alex Smith is marking her name all over the Holy Cross career record books with her phenomenal play. The junior is now second on the list with 214 three-pointers made, trailing only Bethany O'Dell, who had 277. Her three-pointers converted mark is sixth best in Patriot League history. She is also third with 568 three-pointers attempted, trailing Briana McFadden (579) and O'Dell (700). Smith ranks 11th in career assists with 339 and would move into the top-10 with two more assists. She is currently fifth on the list with a .377 three-point percentage. In 2011-2012, Smith set Holy Cross records for most minutes played in a season (1199), most games started and played (34) and most three-pointers attempted (229).
HOLY CROSS' HIGH OCTANE OFFENSE: The Crusaders are coming off one of their best offensive seasons in recent years, as the team led the Patriot League in many shooting categories. This season, Holy Cross has continued its offensive success as it ranks second in the Patriot League with 62.1 points per game and first with a .421 field-goal percentage. In the season opener versus Yale, the Crusaders scored 87 points, which were the most points scored in an opening game since the 1988-1989 season. In the game versus Brown, the Crusaders scored 83 points as they shot 46 percent from the floor.
CRUSADERS PICKED THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL: Holy Cross was picked to finish third in the 2012-2013 Patriot League preseason poll, receiving 70 points and one first place vote. Navy was chosen to finish first, receiving eight first-place votes as junior Jade Geif was voted preseason Patriot League Player of the Year. The Mids earned a league-high 89 points and was followed by American, who received six first place votes and 85 points. Army was picked fourth with 66 points and one first place vote, while Lehigh (58 points) and Lafayette (30 points) were selected fifth and sixth, respectively. Bucknell and Colgate tied for seventh in the poll with 25 points each.
LEPLEY AND SMITH NAMED 2012-2013 TEAM CAPTAINS: The two leading scorers for the Crusaders last year, Amy Lepley and Alex Smith were named captains for the 2012-2013 season. Smith is coming off first-team All-Patriot League honors last year as she started in all 34 games. She averaged 12.5 points, 5.5 assists and 2.1 steals per contest. Her assist mark was tops in the Patriot League, while her points average was fifth. Lepley was named to the second-team All-Patriot League a season ago as she led the Crusaders with 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest. Her points-per-game average was third in the Patriot League, while her field goal percentage of 0.499 was also third-best. In addition, both players were also selected to the 2012-2013 preseason All-Patriot League.
CAPTAINS NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE TEAM: After coming off great campaigns a season ago, Lepley and Smith were chosen to the preseason All-Patriot League team in a vote by conference sports information directors and head coaches. The duo joins the team with Army senior forward Anna Simmers, and two juniors, American's Alexis Dobbs and Navy's Jade Geif. Lepley and Smith were key contributors to last-year's Patriot League runner-up finish as they started in all 34 games for the Crusaders. Also, the pair was selected to the Patriot League All-Tournament team last year.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: The Crusaders are approaching this season with the theme of "unfinished business," as it is looking to capture the Patriot League crown for the 12th time in the program's history. Last season, the Crusaders made it to the Patriot League championship game for the first time since 2008, after knocking off top-seeded American in the semifinals. However, the team fell to Navy in the title game, 57-48, one win shy of going to the NCAA Tournament. The goal is to get back into the Patriot League Championship game and claim their first NCAA tournament automatic bid since the 2006-2007 season.
HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: The Crusaders are currently ranked in the top 150 in the NCAA Division I leaders in five statistical categories. In addition, Alex Smith and Brisje Malone are in the top 150 in the nation in three individual statistics as well. The rankings through games on Jan 6:
|Three-Pointers Made||20||Alex Smith||2.9|
|Three-Point Percentage||62||Alex Smith||37.6|
|Personal Fouls||67||Holy Cross||14.9|
|Field-Goal Percentage||72||Holy Cross||41.8|
HOME SWEET HOME: Holy Cross boasts a very strong record when playing at the Hart Center. In the 37 years of the women's program, the Crusaders have an all-time record winning percentage of 0.742 when playing their games at home (346-120). Since Holy Cross went to Division I during the 1982-83 season, they hold an even better 0.764 winning percentage with a record of 307-95 at the Hart Center.
CRUSADERS HAVE 11 PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT CROWNS: Five years ago, the Crusaders captured their 11th Patriot League Tournament Crown with a 56-48 victory over American on March 7, 2007. Holy Cross has won half of the 22 Patriot League Championships since the conference's inception during the 1990-91 season. The Crusaders' previous tournament titles came in 2005, 2003, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1993 and 1991. Holy Cross has also appeared in the championship game 11 times over the past 15 years. Overall the Crusaders have made a conference-record 16 appearances in the Patriot League championship game.
GIBBONS AT THE HELM FOR 28TH SEASON: Bill Gibbons is in his 28th season at the helm of the Holy Cross women's basketball program and 32nd year as a member of the Holy Cross basketball family in 2012-2013. He has compiled a 523-308 record as head coach (.629 winning percentage), including a 19-15 record at the helm last season. He ranks 20th on the active Division I win leaders list after winning his 500th game on December 3, 2011. 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 11 Patriot League Championships in the last 22 years. He has also made 13 postseason appearances (11 NCAA Tournaments, one WNIT and one WBI) in his 27 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 515 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.
ON THE RADIO: Eleven of the Crusaders' basketball contests during the 2012-2013 season will be carried by Emmanuel Radio, WNEB 1230 AM in Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 26th season calling the play-by-play for Crusader basketball on the radio. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their ninth year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. All games aired on Emmanuel Radio can also be heard live over the internet at 'www.1230radio.com'. Most games not carried on Emmanuel Radio will be streamed by Stretch Internet free of charge, with links to the broadcasts available at 'www.GoHolyCross.com'. WCHC 88.1 FM, the Holy Cross student station, will also carry a number of games this year.
ON TELEVISION: Holy Cross will have at least four games shown on live television during the 2012-2013 season. The Crusaders had seven television appearances last year, while appearing on television five times in 2010-11 and six times in 2009-10. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2012-2013 season:
Date, Opponent, Television Outlet
Dec. 8, at Quinnipiac, New England Sports Network (NESN)
Jan. 16, vs. Navy, Charter TV3
Feb. 10, at Lehigh, CBS Sports Network
Feb. 27, vs. Army, Charter TV3
CRUSADER VISION: Live video streaming of most 2012-2013 Holy Cross home non-conference games will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision. The package, done in association with Stretch Internet, is available for $8.95 per game. Season packages are also available for men's basketball only ($29.95) or all Holy Cross sports ($99.95). For details on how to view games through Crusader Vision, visit 'www.GoHolyCross.com'.
ON THE INTERNET: Information on Crusader basketball and all 26 other varsity sports is available through the Holy Cross Athletics home page at "www.GoHolyCross.com". In addition, links to Holy Cross basketball audio broadcasts and live video streaming can be found on the home page. Updates on Holy Cross Athletics can also be found at "www.facebook.com/HolyCrossAthletics" and "www.twitter.com/GoHolyCross".
EMAIL ALERTS: Get all the latest news and results on the Holy Cross women's basketball team sent directly to your e-mail. To sign up for e-mail alerts, visit 'www.GoHolyCross.com/list-signup'.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAIN HAWKS: Lehigh has an 8-7 overall record this season and is currently riding a three game winning streak with victories over Mt. St. Mary's on Jan. 2 (66-57), NJIT on Jan. 5 (46-45) and Columbia on Jan. 8 (58-33). Freshman forward Kerry Kinek leads the team with 11.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Kelly Peterson ranks second on the squad with 9.3 points per game, while fourth-year guard Marybeth Egan is first on the team with 2.5 assists. Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan enters her 18th season at the helm of the Mountain Hawks and has an overall record of 280-229. During her stint at Lehigh, she has guided the team to three Patriot League Championships and a trio of NCAA tournament berths.