WASHINGTON, D.C. – Holy Cross sophomore forward Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) tallied her sixth double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and also scored the game-winning basket with 14 seconds left in the game, to help lead the Crusaders to a 63-60 victory over American in Patriot League women's basketball action on Sunday afternoon at Bender Arena.
With the win, the Crusaders improve to 10-3 overall and move to 2-0 in the conference, while the Eagles slip to 8-5 on the season and 1-1 in the league. It is the best start for Holy Cross since the 1996-1997 season and also the earliest in a calendar year since 1984-1985 that the Crusaders have reached 10 wins.
The two squads battled back-and-forth over the final eight minutes of the contest, as the score was knotted at 49-49. Over the next 7:22, there were a total of seven lead changes and three tied scores with no team holding more than a three-point lead.
With 55 seconds on the clock, American had the 59-58 lead. Holy Cross junior forward Emily Parker (Johnston, Iowa) was fouled and hit both free-throws to give the Crusaders the 60-59 edge. On the next possession, the Eagles' Arron Zimmerman was one of two from the charity stripe, which tied the game at 60-60. With 18 seconds on the clock, Parker missed her shot attempt, but hauled in the offensive board to keep the possession alive. She then fired a pass to Scott under the basket, who converted the layup to put the Crusaders on top 62-60 with 00:14 on the clock. The Eagles tried to win the game on their final possession, but a missed three-pointer with one second left and a free throw on the other end by sophomore Kate Gillespie (Washington, D.C.) preserved the Holy Cross victory.
Both teams battled back and forth to begin the first half, as American claimed the early 10-6 lead (15:13). The Crusaders were able to tie the score at 13-13 (12:09), but the Eagles scored six straight points to gain the 19-13 advantage with 8:41 left in the first half. American held the six-point lead (25-19) at the final media timeout of the first half (3:52), but the Crusaders' offense picked up over the final minutes of play. The post play of Parker and Scott helped the Crusaders get back into the contest, as the pair combined for the final 10 points of the half for Holy Cross. The 10-3 scoring run to conclude the stanza gave the Crusaders the 29-28 edge at the intermission.
The Crusaders used an early spurt to gain the 33-28 lead to start the second half (19:00). Holy Cross kept the five-point advantage (40-35) with 15:54 on the clock, but American used an 11-2 rally to earn the 46-42 lead (10:12). The Crusaders answered with five straight points to get the lead back (47-46), but a conventional three-pointer by Michelle Holmes put the Eagles on top, 49-47. A jumper by Holy Cross freshman Madelyn Ganser (Needham, Mass.) knotted the score at 49-49, which set the stage for the dramatic finish.
In addition to Scott for the Crusaders, Parker totaled a team and season-best 17 points to go along with eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Lisa Mifsud (Erie, Pa.) had nine points and three assists, while senior guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) tallied eight points and a team-high six assists. Senior guard Kelly Hamner (Manassas, Va.) tied a career-best with six rebounds, while senior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) totaled seven points and nine boards. American was led by Zimmerman, who had 18 points.
Holy Cross shot 49.1 percent from the field (26 of 53), while American connected on 25 of its 64 shots from the floor (39.1 percent). The Crusaders canned four of nine from behind the arc (44.4 percent), while the Eagles hit 33.3 percent from downtown (5 of 15). Holy Cross drained 53.8 percent of its free throws (7 of 13), while American went five of 15 from the charity stripe (33.3 percent). The Crusaders held advantages in rebounding (44-32), points in the paint (36-26), assists (17-14) and defensive rebounds (33-20).
Holy Cross returns to action on Wednesday, Jan. 8, when it will travel to Hamilton, N.Y. to take on Colgate at 7:00 p.m.