Women's Basketball Hosts Maine on Friday Night

Jan. 1, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

The Teams: Holy Cross (4-9, 0-0 PL) vs. Maine (2-10, 0-0 AEC)
Date: January 2, 2009
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: www.sportsjuice.com, internet; Jeremy Lechan, play-by-play
WCTR Television: Kevin Shea, play-by-play; Amy O'Brien, color
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester
Live Video Streaming: Crusader All-Access
Maine Radio: WAEI 97.1 FM, Bangor, radio; WABI 910 AM, Bangor, radio; Don Shields, play-by-play
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 7-3
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 79, Maine 50 (November 18, 2007; Orono, Maine)

Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG
F 33 Whitney Fremeau 5-10 So. 7.9 5.1
C 42 Kathy Gruzynski 6-2 Sr. 2.6 2.2
G 12 Jessica Pearson 5-7 Sr. 2.9 1.2
G 14 Briana McFadden 5-10 Jr. 15.8 4.1
G 44 Bethany O'Dell 5-8 Jr. 10.8 3.9

THE SERIES WITH MAINE: The Crusaders and the Black Bears will make their 11th appearance on the hardwood with Holy Cross leading the all-time series with a 7-3 record. The Crusaders are currently on a two-game winning streak against Maine, picking up a 79-50 win at Orono last season on Nov. 18, 2007. Holy Cross also defeated the Black Bears, 72-64, at the Hart Center on Dec. 7, 2006. The last win for Maine was at the Portland (Maine) Civic Center on Jan. 2, 2006, recording a 77-67 victory.

Overall: Holy Cross leads, 7-3
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 4-0
At Hart Center: Holy Cross leads, 4-0
Bill Gibbons vs. Maine: 5-3
Cindy Blogdett vs. Holy Cross: 0-2
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, two games
In Overtime: Maine leads, 1-0

HOLY CROSS AGAINST AMERICA EAST: Holy Cross has played against seven of the nine teams that currently make up the America East Conference, competing in 72 total games to date. The Crusaders have a 50-22 (.694) record in the all-times series against America East opponents. The winningest record Holy Cross has against a conference opponent is against Boston University with an overall record of 9-2 (.818). In addition to Maine, the Crusaders faced America East's Vermont on Sat, Dec. 6, 2008 at Patrick Gymnasium in Burlington, Vt.

DUO REACHES CAREER LISTS FROM BEYOND THE ARC: Junior guard Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) is currently ranked second in Holy Cross history in three-point field goals made with 175, only four behind Jeanette Paukert (1998-2002). She is also climbing up the Patriot League career leaders list, placing ninth on the list as the only active player on the list. She joins Paukert as the second Crusader to make this list. Junior guard Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) is currently ranked fourth all-time at Holy Cross with 153 and is just 10 shy of tying Sarah Placek (2002-2006).

THE GO-TO GIRL: Briana McFadden has started out strong on offense this season, leading the Crusaders in scoring in seven of 12 games while averaging 15.8 points per game. McFadden scored a career-high 31 points against Missouri on Nov. 29 during the Double Tree White Invitational. Her season has also been highlighted by scoring 24 points against Yale and Drexel, 21 versus Boston College and 15 against St. Joseph's. McFadden etched her named into the Holy Cross history books last season as she tied the single-game record for free throw percentage (1.000, 11-for-11) and consecutive free throws made (11). Starting in all 32 games, McFadden totaled 431 points, 124 rebounds, 50 assists, 30 steals and 12 blocks. Averaging 13.5 points per game, McFadden led the Crusaders in scoring in 14 games last season, including eight Patriot League games.

FREMEAU REMAINS STRONG IN STARTING ROLE: Sophomore forward/guard Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) has made 10 starts in Holy Cross' 12 games. Fremeau's has had plenty of success so far as she has had new career-highs in minutes played (34), points (15), field goal attempts (13), rebounds (11), field goals (seven), free throws attempts (three) and three-pointers (two). Fremeau also recorded her first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds against Rhode Island on Dec. 9. In addition to her 7.9 points per game, she leads the Crusaders in rebounds with 5.1 per game. She has led the Crusaders in rebounds in four games and in scoring in one game. Her best performance on the season was against Missouri in which she finished with 15 points in 30 minutes played. Against Connecticut, she totaled nine points, six rebounds and one assist. Fremeau made her first collegiate start on Nov. 15 versus Yale and put up nine points and eight rebounds while grabbing two steals, one assist and one block in 26 minutes played. Starting against Boston College, Fremeau finished with eight points, two rebounds and one steal. Appearing in 25 games last year, Fremeau totaled 42 points, 20 rebounds, 16 assists, 11 steals and two blocks.

TRIPS MAKES HISTORY: The Crusaders made history on Nov. 29 playing in the first triple overtime game ever in men or women's basketball at Holy Cross, beating Missouri 94-93 in the first game of the DoubleTree White Invitational. The longest game ever recorded at Holy Cross was on Jan. 9, 1964, when the men's basketball team defeated Boston University, 97-95, in four overtimes. The Crusaders have played past regulation in 25 games all-time with an overall 13-12 record (.520), including a 3-2 mark in double overtime.

O'DELL KEEPS CAREER RIGHT ON TRACK: Starting in 10 games so far this year, Bethany O'Dell has led the Crusaders in scoring three times with a season-high 23 points against Western Illinois, 15 points versus St. Peter's and 13 against Northeastern on Dec. 22. Due to injury, O'Dell missed two games: Vermont (Dec. 6) and Rhode Island (Dec. 9). She currently has 93 points on the season, bringing her career total to 853 points. O'Dell is one of the many Crusaders that have hit new career-highs this season including field goals attempted (16), three-pointers attempted (14), and three-pointers (seven). Versus Boston College, O'Dell tallied 18 points, four rebounds and four assists. Opening the season against Yale, O'Dell finished with 10 points, four rebounds, one block and one steal. O'Dell stayed strong against Harvard, leading the team in rebounds with eight and finishing with six points, three assist and one steal in 38 minutes played. O'Dell is also coming off a stellar sophomore year, starting in all 32 games, and finishing with 364 points, 146 rebounds, 80 assists, 54 steals and four blocks. O'Dell had success from long range last year, as she ranked third in the Patriot League in three-point field goal percentage (.382) and three-point field goals made (1.97 per game).

STRONG SCORING VERSUS MISSOURI: Holy Cross scored 94 points against Missouri on Nov. 29, marking the first time the Crusaders have scored more than 90 points in a game in the last three seasons. The last time Holy Cross put up at least 90 points was on Dec. 3, 2005, when it defeated Memphis, 91-66, at the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic held in Tempe, Ariz.

MAY BACK FOR MORE: Sophomore forward/guard Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.) has played in 11 games, starting six times. May recorded a new career-high, pulling down nine rebounds against Rhode Island. Her season has been highlighted by her performance against St. Peter's in which she finished with 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 25 minutes played. May played a season-high 36 minutes and had eight points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists against Missouri. Against Connecticut, May finished with nine points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal. Versus Harvard, she had eight points, seven rebounds, five assists and one steal in 25 minutes played. To start this year, May had seven rebounds, five assists, three points and one steal in 28 minutes played against Yale. Last year, she appeared in 31 games and made 14 starts. May's freshmen season was highlighted by leading Holy Cross in scoring with 11 points and pulling down seven rebounds in the Patriot League championship game versus Bucknell.

ROOKIE NOTES: Freshman guard Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) has made five starts and appeared in 11 games for the Crusaders, highlighted by her performance against Boston College, tallying seven points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 27 minutes played. Ward had a career-high five rebounds and matched her career-high in points scored (seven) against Vermont. She played a career-high 30 minutes and had two points, two assists and one rebound against Connecticut. She also had a career-high five assists against Northeastern on Dec. 22. Freshman center Marygrace Jay (Vienna, Va.) has appeared in seven games so far this year, highlighted by new career-highs in points (seven), rebounds (three) and minutes played (11) in the game against Vermont.

HOLY CROSS WELCOMES JANUARY: Holy Cross has played 86 games in the month of January in the past 10 seasons, posting an overall record of 59-27 (.686). The Crusaders played the most January games (10) during the 2002-2003 season, finishing with a 7-3 record (.700). The winningest record Holy Cross finished with was during the 2000-2001 season, in which the Crusaders posted an undefeated 7-0 record. January also marks the beginning of Patriot League play as Holy Cross currently has played 54 league games, maintaining a 49-14 record (.925). The Crusaders played seven games in three seasons (98-99, 01-02, 04-05), marking the most Patriot League games played in January. The 200-42005 season also marks the best record in league playing during the month of January, finishing with an impressive 7-0 record.

CRUSADERS PICKED FIRST IN PRESEASON POLL: The Holy Cross women's basketball team was picked to finish first in the 2008-2009 Patriot League preseason poll, voted upon by head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 90 total points and eight first-place votes, followed by Lehigh finishing second with 83 points and six first-place votes. American was ranked third with 75 points and two first-place votes. Coming in fourth was Army with 60 points, followed by Bucknell (53 points), Lafayette (38 points), Navy (35 points) and Colgate (14 points).

THAT'S MINE!!!: Holy Cross has forced 212 turnovers in 12 games, averaging 17.6 per game. In the Crusaders' season-opener against Yale, Holy Cross forced 24 turnovers, matching last year's season-high. Versus Northeastern on Dec. 22, the Crusaders caused 22 turnovers against the Huskies. Against Missouri on Nov. 29 and Boston College on Nov. 18, the Crusaders had 21 forced turnovers. The Crusaders caused 24 turnovers in a game three times during the 2007-2008 season: at Yale on Jan. 6, 2008, at Navy on Jan. 23, 2008 and against Colgate on Jan. 30, 2008. Overall last year, Holy Cross forced 16.9 turnovers per game.

THE LEADER OF THE PACK: Holy Cross holds the record for the most Patriot League tournament titles won, winning 11 of the 18 league titles. During its 18 seasons in the Patriot League, Holy Cross has finished the regular season in first place 11 times. The Crusaders have also been greatly recognized for their efforts by the league, having eight players named the Patriot League Player of the Year. This list includes: Mary Helen Walker (90-91), Norinne Powers (91-92, 92-93), Laurie Carson (93-94), Lauren Maney (94-95, 95-96), Kathy Courtney (96-97), Amy O'Brien (97-98, 98-99), Anna Kinne (99-00) and Briana McFadden (07-08). Holy Cross has also had two players named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year: Maggie Fontana (01-02) and Bethany O'Dell (06-07).

PEARSON MAKES STARTING LINEUP: Senior co-captain Jessica Pearson has appeared in 11 games so far this season and made her third collegiate start at Northeastern, finishing with a career-high four assists. During the Dec. 6 game at Vermont, Pearson set new career high in points scored with 11 points. During the Hawk Classic Tournament on Dec. 28-29, Pearson finished with a career-high 30 minutes played in both games of the tournament.

MCFADDEN, O'DELL EARN ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Briana McFadden and Bethany O'Dell were named to the 2008 All-DoubleTree White Invitational Team. The Crusaders finished 1-1 in the DoubleTree White Invitational, hosted by Northwestern on Nov. 29-30. Holy Cross picked up its first win of the season in a dramatic 94-93 triple overtime win against Missouri on Saturday. On Sunday, the Crusaders were downed be Western Illinois, 64-55. TAKING ON # 1: The Crusaders have faced No. 1 ranked teams five times during the regular season, all being games against Connecticut, with a 0-5 overall record. The last time Holy Cross competed against a No. 1 ranked team was against the Huskies on Dec. 3, falling 96-37.

MCFADDEN NAMED PATRIOT LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior guard Briana McFadden was named the Patriot League Player of the Week, for competition from Nov. 25-30. McFadden led the Crusaders to a triple overtime victory against Missouri scoring a career high 31 points on Nov. 29, in the Mildred & Roger L. White Invitational, hosted by Northwestern. In the third overtime period, McFadden scored all nine Holy Cross points including the game-winning basket with eight seconds remaining to give the Crusaders the 94-93 victory. In addition to her 31 points, she tallied three assists, three steals and two rebounds. On Sunday, Nov. 30, McFadden scored 20 points and had three rebounds, three assists and two steals in the 64-55 loss to Western Illinois. Earlier in the week, against St. Peter's, McFadden finished with 12 points, five assists and two rebounds.

MERRIHUE AND PEARSON NAMED CAPTAINS: Senior forward Jessica Merrihue (Holtsville, N.Y.) and senior guard Jessica Pearson (West Chester, Pa.) have been selected as the Crusaders' captains for the 2008-2009 season. Merrihue is three-year letterwinner for the Holy Cross while Pearson is a two-year letterwinner. Both players have taken over the leadership role from Laura Aloisi and Ashley McLaughlin who served as the Crusaders' captains as seniors during the 2007-2008 season.

CAMPBELL LOOKING FORWARD: Sophomore forward Elizabeth Campbell (Louisville, Ky.) has returned to the Crusaders' frontcourt for the 2008-2009 season, appearing in 12 games and making four starts. Campbell played a season-high 23 minutes and grabbed six rebounds versus Drexel during the Hawk Tournament Classic on Dec. 28. Campbell played 22 minutes and tallied a season-high nine points at Rhode Island. She also finished with 16 minutes played, six points and three rebounds against Yale. Campbell also played 10 minutes against Harvard, chipping in two points, two blocks, one rebound and one assist. Following an outstanding debut season, she was named to the 2007-2008 Patriot League All-Rookie Team. Appearing in 32 games, she made 11 starts, totaling 664 minutes played, 196 points, 135 rebounds, 36 blocks and 28 steals. Leading the Crusaders in blocks, Campbell ranked fifth in the Patriot League in that category. She also led the league in field goal percentage (.472). In league play, Campbell started in eight of the 13 games she appeared in, averaging 28.8 minutes played, 8.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.5 assists per game.

NEWS ON COACH GIBBONS: Bill Gibbons is now in his 24th season as head coach of the Holy Cross women's basketball team with a overall career record of 465-238 and a 192-52 mark in the Patriot League. Last season, Gibbons led his team to its fourth consecutive appearance and 15th overall appearance in the Patriot League Championship game. Gibbons has led the Crusaders to more victories than any other coach in Holy Cross history during his 23-tenure. Gibbons also ranks second all-time at Holy Cross in coaching victories for all sports, only behind former baseball coach Jack Berry (616 wins, 1921-1960). He has won 20 or more games in 10 of his last 14 seasons. Gibbons is also ranked 26th on the active NCAA Division I win leaders. He has also been named the Patriot League Coach of the Year six times in his career. In 2007, coach Gibbons was selected to be an assistant coach at the Pan-American Games, where he helped lead the team to the gold medal.

MERRIHUE HITS NEW HEIGHTS: Senior co-captain Jessica Merrihue has appeared in 12 games this season, making four starts. Her season has been highlighted by her performance in her first collegiate start against Boston College on Nov. 18, in which she scored six points, blocked three shots and grabbed one rebound in nine minutes played. Merrihue has also added new career-highs in free throws (four), free throw attempts (five), blocks (three) and steals (three). HOME SWEET HOME: The 2008-2009 season marks the first time Holy Cross has ever hosted its first four games of the season. Prior to this season, the Crusaders had three seasons in which they hosted the first three games: 1988-1989 (1-2), 2001-2002 (1-2) and 2004-2005 (2-1). Overall, the Holy Cross women's basketball team is 317-94 (.771) at the Hart Center.

FRONT AND CENTER: Senior center Kathy Gruzynski (Elk Grove, Ill.) has come off the bench to appear in all 12 games and start four for Holy Cross. She played a season-high 21 minutes versus Boston College on Nov. 18 and tallied five points, five rebounds, three blocks and one assist in 14 minutes played versus Harvard on Nov. 20. Making 30 appearances and three starts last year, Gruzynski emerged in her role as the first Crusader off the bench. She set several career-highs with 408 minutes played, 134 points, 96 rebounds, 18 assists, 13 blocks and 10 steals. In her best performance of the 2007-2008 season, Gruzynski scored a career high 20 points and grabbed six rebounds against regular season league champion American.

LAST TIME OUT: Briana McFadden totaled 39 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and three assists during the Hawk Classic Tournament Classic on Dec. 28-29, in which Holy Cross defeated Drexel, 63-48, on Sunday and fell to St. Joseph's, 74-59 on Monday afternoon. She led the team in scoring in both games and went 19-20 (.950) from the free-throw line. Whitney Fremeau also did well throughout the tournament, finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Bethany O'Dell had 15 points, 11 rebounds and one steal. Jessica Pearson played a career-high 30 minutes in both games while Kathy Gruzynski scored a season-high 10 points. Holy Cross also outrebounded both teams in the tournament, including a season-high 47 rebounds against Saint Joseph's. The Crusaders led at halftime in a game for the first time this season with an 32-30 lead at the break against Drexel, going on to earn their second win of the season.

WELCOME BACK TO WORCESTER: Ann McInerney is in her first season as an assistant coach on the Holy Cross staff.

HOME SWEET HOME: Concluding an eight-game road trip, Holy Cross returns back to the Hart Center for its first game in Worcester since Nov. 25.

NEXT UP FOR THE `SADERS: Holy Cross travels to Dartmouth on Sunday, Jan. 4, for a game at 2:00 p.m.