WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross sophomore forward Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) recorded her 13th double-double of the season with game-highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds to help lead the Crusaders to a 76-68 triumph over Lehigh in Patriot League women's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at the Hart Center. With the win, Holy Cross improves to 16-9 overall and 8-6 in the conference, while the Mountain Hawks slip to 11-13 on the season and 4-9 in the league.
In addition to Scott for the Crusaders, senior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) totaled 16 points and five assists, while fourth-year guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) tallied 15 points and five helpers. Junior forward Emily Parker (Johnston, Iowa) recorded 12 points and five rebounds, while sophomore center Molly Hourigan (Memphis, N.Y.) posted six points, six rebounds and a game-high seven blocked shots. Lehigh had four players, Elizabeth Sharlow (15), Kerry Kinek (13), Sarah Williams (11) and Kayla Burton (10), register double-digit points in the contest.
Holy Cross jumped out with the quick 7-2 advantage at the 15:53 mark of the contest. The Mountain Hawks battled back to knot the score at 7-7 (14:50), before they grabbed their first lead of the game at 14:09 (9-7). Over the next 9:06, the Holy Cross winter homecoming crowd was treated to back-and-forth action, as there were seven lead changes and a pair of tied scores, but Holy Cross would come out with the 23-21 advantage with 5:03 on the clock. The Crusaders pushed their lead to four points on two occasions over the final minutes of the half, but Lehigh was able to cut the deficit to one point (29-28) at the intermission.
The Mountain Hawks grabbed the 33-32 lead early in the second half (17:59), but an 11-4 rally by Holy Cross gave it the 43-37 advantage (14:45), as Scott scored four points during the run. Lehigh sliced the margin to 43-42 just over a minute later, but the Crusaders countered with a 9-3 spurt to gain the 52-45 lead (9:56). Holy Cross pushed its margin to double-digits at the 5:14 mark of the second half (62-52), before it grabbed its largest lead of the contest at 66-53 (4:21). The Crusaders kept the lead over 10 points, until a pair of late free throws by the Mountain Hawks made the score its final, 76-68.
Holy Cross shot well from the field, as it canned 51.8 percent of its shots (29 of 56), while it limited Lehigh to 37.1 percent from the floor (26 of 70). The Mountain Hawks shot 46.2 percent from behind the arc (6 of 13), while the Crusaders hit three of 11 from downtown (27.3 percent). Holy Cross held advantages in assists (17-12), blocked shots (10-2) and bench points (33-29), while it was outmatched in points off turnovers (22-16) and second chance points (17-10).
During the contest, Smith moved into seventh place all-time in Holy Cross history with 1,561 points in her career. Hourigan also moved into fifth place in school history with 91 career blocked shots. After the game, Scott earned the Rev. George L. O'Brien Award as the game's most valuable player, which was presented by the Holy Cross varsity club as a part of the winter homecoming festivities.
In a brief pregame ceremony, Malone, Smith and classmates Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) and Kelly Hamner (Manassas, Va.) were honored on "Senior Day" for their commitment to the women's basketball program over the past four seasons.
Hamner has appeared in 96 games with eight starts. She has scored 208 points in her career and has hauled in 181 rebounds, while amassing 57 assists and 49 steals. This season, Hamner tied her career-high with six rebounds in the win at American, while also starting in a career-best four contests. She was named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll in 2013.
Malone has appeared in 113 games with 102 starts. She has totaled 991 points and 449 rebounds in her career, while she ranks ninth in school history with 428 assists. Malone is one of only three players in Holy Cross history to have accumulated over 900 points, 400 rebounds and 400 assists in a career. This season, she set career-highs with 12 rebounds at UMass Lowell and with 12 assists versus Quinnipiac. Named to the 2013 Patriot League All-Tournament Team, Malone also claimed Crusader of the Week honors on a pair of occasions. She also earned Patriot League Academic Honor Roll laurels in 2011.
Ganser has appeared in 108 career games with 34 starts. She has accumulated 628 points, 456 rebounds and 75 assists during her four seasons at Holy Cross. Ganser is a career 41 percent shooter and is also the team's current leading rebounder. Named Crusader of the Week in 2012, she has also earned Patriot League Academic Honor Roll accolades twice. Ganser is also a member of the Holy Cross Leadership Academy.
Smith has appeared in 120 games in her career with the fourth most starts in school history at 118. Smith ranks seventh in Holy Cross history with 1,561 points, sixth with 530 assists and is Holy Cross' and the Patriot League's all-time three-pointers made record holder with 332 treys. She has also accumulated 433 rebounds and 199 steals in her career and is the only Crusader ever to record over 1,500 points, 500 assists and 400 rebounds. This season, Smith set the school record for most points scored in a half with 27, while also scoring a career-best mark of 31 points versus Quinnipiac. She was nominated as a candidate for both the Senior CLASS Award and WBCA Good Works Team this season. Named first team All-Patriot League and All-Tournament Team two times, Smith earned Patriot League All-Academic Team laurels last season, and was selected to the Patriot League All-Rookie team as a freshman. Smith is also a three-time Patriot League Player of the Week, while she was named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll in 2013. Smith is a member of the Holy Cross Leadership Academy.