WORCESTER, Mass. – Senior guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) helped lead Holy Cross to an 84-71 victory over Quinnipiac in non-conference women's basketball action at the Hart Center on Wednesday morning. Smith led the Crusaders with a career-high 31 points, while also contributing six rebounds and three assists. Smith tallied 27 first half points, which set the record for most points in a half in Holy Cross history. She had a total of six three-pointers increasing her career total to 288, which broke the Patriot League all-time record of 286 treys. With the win, Holy Cross improves to 7-1 on the season, while Quinnipiac slips to 5-6 overall.
The Crusaders were also led by senior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) who was one rebound shy of a triple-double, but tallied her second double-double of the season. She contributed with 15 points and game-highs of 12 assists (career-high) and nine rebounds for the Crusaders. Junior forward Emily Parker (Johnston, Iowa) added 12 points and four rebounds, while sophomores Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) and Lisa Mifsud (Erie, Pa.) both tallied 10 points in the victory.
The Crusaders jumped ahead right out of the gate with a 10-0 run in the first two minutes of the half. Smith sparked the fast start with two quick three pointers, which set the tone for the rest of the half. Quinnipiac crept back into the game cutting the deficit to five (16-11) with 12:51 left on the clock following a three pointer from Jasmine Martin. The Crusaders began to pull ahead once again and increased the lead to 17 points with 9:33 left in the half following three pointers from Malone and Mifsud. Freshman Madelyn Ganser (Needham, Mass.) added two free throws with 2:48 on the clock to put the Crusaders up by 19 (43-24). With one second remaining in the half, Malone canned a layup and got fouled for the old-fashioned three-point play. Malone's free throw with one second remaining put the Crusaders up 53-31 going into the intermission. Smith led the offense with 27 first half points, as she went six of eight from three point range.
Holy Cross maintained its 21-point lead five minutes into the second half, but Quinnipiac went on a 16-4 run from 15:17 to 10:56 and cut the Crusader lead to only nine points. The Crusaders managed to stop the Quinnipiac run, as the two teams exchanged baskets for the remainder of the half. Holy Cross outscored Quinnipiac 14-12 in the final 5:28 of the half. Mifsud added a late three to put the Crusaders back up by 15 with 0:22 remaining. Over the final five minutes of the contest, the Crusaders went 10 of 10 from the charity stripe to close out the game. Holy Cross' first half lead of 21 points proved to be the decisive factor in the game, as Quinnipiac outscored the Crusaders 40-33 in the second half.
Holy Cross connected on 26 of its 53 shots from the field (49.1 percent), while it limited Quinnipiac to 35 percent shooting on the game (21 of 60). The Crusaders shot 55.6 percent from beyond the arc (10 of 18). Quinnipiac matched the Crusaders with 10 three-point field goals, but was 35.7 percent from beyond the arc (10 of 28). The Crusaders shot 88 percent from the free throw line (22 of 25). The Crusaders held advantages in assists (20-14), rebounds (41-33), and points in the paint (28-16).
The contest marked the third annual "Get Fit with the Crusaders Day," in which over 1,000 Worcester Public School students attended the game to cheer for Holy Cross and to learn about nutrition and physical activity.
Holy Cross returns to action on Saturday, Dec. 21, when it will travel to Boston College for a 5:00 p.m. contest.