March 4, 2013

The Leader In Lepley

By Caitlin Forrester
Special to GoHolyCross.com

Amy Lepley, senior captain of the Holy Cross women's basketball team, has achieved great success throughout her four years playing as a Crusader. Lepley has established herself as a tenacious player, defined by passion and determination. Lepley is known for her great leadership qualities she has developed throughout her basketball career by guiding her team both on and off the hardwood, and leading by example through her hard work and enthusiasm. Her dedication to the team as a leader on the court has resonated with success. Being a member of the Holy Cross women's basketball team has allowed Lepley to recognize and value her time spent on the Hart Center Court, guiding her to acquire life lessons along the way.

"I have learned how much basketball has helped me grow as an individual in the past four years," said Lepley. "With the adversity that my team and I have faced over the years, I know that whatever life throws at me, I can handle it."

By following her two older brothers' lead in her driveway, Lepley developed an early love for the game of basketball. Lepley's father also played basketball in college, which influenced her to learn the basics of the game including shooting and dribbling. Lepley developed these basic skills she learned from her brothers and father, and applied them to accomplish her goals. Upon recruiting Lepley, head coach Bill Gibbons knew "Holy Cross was a great fit for her and that she was going to have a terrific career here."

When first stepping onto the Hart Center Court, from the beginning of her career as a freshman, Lepley proved to be a key element to the success of the Crusaders' women's basketball program. Regardless of a knee injury during her senior year of high school Gibbons recalls "in typical Amy fashion she worked hard to come back from the devastating injury and was ready to play freshman year." As a freshman, Lepley appeared in all 31 games, making 23 starts. The league recognized her debut efforts, as she was named Patriot League Rookie of the week six times and was selected to the Patriot League All-Rookie Team. As a sophomore, Lepley started in all 30 contests and recorded 15 double-digit scoring games. Lepley was ranked 16th in the Patriot League in scoring average and 11th in the league in field goal percentage. As a junior, Lepley's hard work, skills and achievements continued to be demonstrated on the court. She started in all 34 games, recorded five 20 plus point contests and 25 double-digit scoring games. Lepley was ranked first on the team and third in the league in field goal percentage. She continued to dominate in the paint leading the team in rebounding and being ranked ninth in the Patriot League. Lepley was selected to the All-League team, All-Academic Team and All-Tournament team. Coach Gibbons describes Amy as a "Larry Bird type forward who has an instinctive basketball sense."

At the start of her senior year, she was selected to the Preseason All-Patriot League team. Despite an injury at the start of Lepley's senior year, causing her to miss nine games, she stepped back on the court in January and continued to lead the team through her achievements. In her first game of the season she went a perfect 7-for-7 from the field and 2-for-2 from the foul line for 16 points to help lead the team to a 68-66 come from behind victory versus Bryant. The senior forward recorded her eighth career double-double with a 10-point, 10 rebound effort in a victory over Dartmouth. Lepley has scored her 1,000th career point in the game versus Fordham. This is a major achievement for Lepley being the 28th Crusader who has achieved this milestone to score 1,000 career points throughout Crusader history. "This is a great milestone for her, now she is ranked as a true Crusader and exemplifies what the women's basketball program preaches," said Gibbons.

It is certain that Lepley's achievements and presence on the court throughout her four years have made her a leader of Holy Cross women's basketball. Lepley's success as well as her dedication and passion will be remembered and defines the women's basketball program. From a coaches' standpoint it is obvious that Lepley has matured as a player, a young woman and a leader.

"We can't say enough about her, she really matured as a leader, player and as a person," said Gibbons. "As a coach that gives me a lot of pride and a real sense of satisfaction."

This being Lepley's final season wearing the Crusader uniform, she has her heart set to win the Patriot League championship as a team goal and as a personal goal to value her time on the court with her teammates and coaches.

"I just want to enjoy every minute I have out there on the floor and in practice with my team," said Lepley. "Being named a senior captain was a great honor for Lepley. "For my coaches and teammates to look at me as a leader is very rewarding. My co-captain Alex Smith and I try to keep positive relationships on the team by fostering a sense of equality on the team and treating everyone the same."

As Lepley reflects on her past four years at Holy Cross, she appreciates the genuine camaraderie she has formed with her teammates and coaches."Amy will be ready for all and any challenges in her life after Holy Cross, because of her Holy Cross education and her Holy Cross women's basketball career," says Gibbons of the senior captain.

As Michael Jordan said "some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen." It can be said that Amy has made "it happen" throughout her successful basketball career here at Holy Cross, by leading her team as a true Crusader.

This story appears in the 2013 Patriot League Tournament program, which will be available for purchase at host sites for both the men and women's tournaments.