Women's Basketball Hosts #2 Duke At Hart Center Tonight

Jan. 16, 2006

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams:
Duke (16-0, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference)
Holy Cross (6-9, 2-1 Patriot League)
Date: January 16, 2006
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600)
Location: Worcester, Mass.
Broadcast Information:
Television: WCTR-TV3
Talent: Kevin Shea, play-by-play; Amy Davagian, color
Radio: WTAG 580 AM
Talent: Bob Fouracre, play by play; Jeremy Lechan, color
Internet: www.sportsjuice.com
Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM (Holy Cross student station)
Series History: Third Meeting; Duke leads 2-0
Last Meeting:Duke, 101-42 (Jan. 4, 2005 at Cameron Indoor Stadium)
Series Streak: Duke - 2

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos.  No.  Name               Ht.   Cl.	PPG	RPG
G     5   Laura Aloisi        5-9   So.	4.5	3.8 apg
G     10  Sarah Placek        5-3   Sr.	9.1	3.0 apg
G     33  Brittany Keil       6-2   Jr.	8.9	6.3
F     13  Ashley McLaughlin   6-1   So.	3.5	3.4
C     52  Kaitlin Foley       6-4   Jr.	14.7	6.4

Tonight's game will be the third all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Duke in the 31 year history of varsity basketball at Holy Cross.

THE SERIES: Duke leads the all-time series, 2-0. The Blue Devils and Crusaders first met up on March 13, 1999 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament when Duke earned a 79-51 victory, and again last season (101-42 Duke win). Both games were in Durham, N.C. Tonight's match-up will be the first ever between the two schools at the Hart Center.

THIS TIME OUT: Both Holy Cross and Duke are coming off hard-fought wins on Saturday, as the Crusaders hung on for a 67-63 overtime win at Bucknell and Duke battled to a 66-52 win against ACC foe Boston College. The Crusaders have won two of their last three, but have yet to string together consecutive wins this season. Four of the Crusaders' nine total losses have come against Top 25 (#7 UConn (15-2); #22 Boston College (12-5)) or Top 25-caliber (Virginia (12-3); Western Kentucky (11-5)) teams.

Duke is off to its second-best start in school history with 16 straight wins and will be playing its eighth game in 19 days. Duke is just one of four undefeated teams (Tennessee, LSU, North Carolina are the others) remaining in the country. The Blue Devils are playing in their fourth straight road game tonight - and the fifth in their last seven games - and have not played or practiced at Cameron Indoor Stadium for more than a week. They are, however, 8-0 on the road this season, and are outscoring their opponents by an average of 38.9 points.

LAST TIME OUT: Holy Cross bounced back from its setback at Army last Tuesday with a thrilling 67-63 overtime win at Bucknell on Saturday afternoon at Sojka Pavilion. The Crusaders improved to 6-9 (2-1 Patriot League), while snapping a two-game winning streak for the Bison (8-7, 2-1 Patriot League). Holy Cross senior guard Shannon Bush pumped in a game-high 19 points and junior guard Brittany Keil tied a career-high with 17 points and recorded her fourth career double-double (10 rebounds) to lead the Crusader charge.

Senior guard Sarah Placek had 11 points and junior center Kaitlin Foley chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds for the Crusaders. Sophomore guard Laura Aloisi recorded a game-high seven assists and Jessica Conte had eight points and six rebounds.

The game was deadlocked at the break (27-27) after a back-and-forth first half in which there were eight ties and 11 lead changes. Holy Cross took a three point lead (13-10) following a Placek trey with 12:01 on the clock, but Bucknell's Lauren Schober then scored seven straight points for the Bison to put the home team back on top, 17-15 with 10:03 remaining. The Crusaders fought back to take their largest lead of the half (four points) after a Keil three-ball at the 5:36 mark, but Bucknell responded again with an 8-0 run to take a 27-23 lead with 2:28 left. Keil then scored the final four points of the half to get the Crusaders back in business at 27-27. Holy Cross shot 34.4 percent in the first twenty minutes, but was able to force 11 Bison turnovers.

The second half started much the same, as there were five lead changes and four ties in the first six minutes of the half. With 14:06 left, Kesha Champion hit a jumper to give the Bison a two point lead (41-39), but Holy Cross then went on a 17-4 tear to take a 56-45 lead with 4:11 remaining. Bush had eight points during the run and Foley added six of her own.

The Bison battled back, however, and went on an 11-0 run to tie the game at 56-56 with 22 seconds remaining in regulation. Lindsey Hollobaugh nailed a three with 37 seconds left to cut the HC lead to three (56-53) and Champion drained another three to tie things up.

Bush opened the overtime period with a long ball from the right wing to give the Crusaders an early three point advantage (59-56). Two Bison free throws cut the lead to one, but a Foley hoop inside, a Conte steal and lay-in on the other end, and a Bush free throw gave the Crusaders a six point advantage with 1:34 left in the extra period. Hollobaugh converted on a traditional three point play to cut the Crusader lead in half (64-61), but Aloisi hit made good on two free throws to give Holy Cross a 66-61 edge with 28 seconds on the clock. Hope Foster scored in the paint to cut the lead again to three (66-63), but Placek hit another HC free throw with just 14 seconds left to seal the game.

Holy Cross shot 35.2 percent for the game, while the Bison made 39.7 percent of their field goals. Bucknell outrebounded Holy Cross, 46-41 for the game, but the Crusader defense forced 22 Bison mishaps.

NEXT TIME OUT: Holy Cross will be on the Hart Center floor for the next two games, as it welcomes American on Saturday, Jan. 21 and Colgate on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The Crusaders are 8-1 all-time against American, including a 4-0 mark when they play the Eagles at the Hart Center, and they are 32-2 against Colgate all-time, with a 16-0 streak at home.

TOP BILLING: Holy Cross is 0-4 when playing Top 25 teams at the Hart Center in the last six years. The last time Holy Cross hosted a top seed was on Jan. 10, 2000, when UConn visited Worcester in front of the first ever sold out crowd in women's history at the Hart Center. In the last five seasons, Holy Cross has posted a record of 0-16 against Top 25 teams, including its 0-2 mark this season (67-53 loss to #21 Boston College; 81-54 loss to #8 UConn). The Crusaders are 0-6 when playing the #1 or #2 ranked teams in the country. Four of those six losses against #1 or #2 ranked teams came against UConn, during its National Championship seasons (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004).

EXTRA! EXTRA!: Holy Cross' thrilling 67-63 overtime win at Bucknell on Saturday afternoon was the program's first overtime win since the 2003-04 season when it topped Siena, 59-58, at the Hart Center. Holy Cross is 4-1 in its last five overtime games, dating back to the 2001-02 season. The last time the Crusaders lost an overtime game was an 84-75 double OT setback at Lehigh in 2002.

HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 294-78 (.790) at the Hart Center, and is just six home wins away from its 300th victory in the 30-year old building. The program's 100th win at the Hart Center came on January 9, 1988 when the Crusaders defeated the University of New Hampshire, 86-67. It's 200th win at the Hart Center came on February 5, 1997 when the Crusaders defeated Army, 92-59. The Crusaders' best home single-season record since its 200th win was a 15-1 mark (.937) during the 1999-00 season. Last year, the Crusaders went 12-3 at the Hart Center.

Holy Cross has posted a record of 52-18 (.742) at home over the course of the last six seasons, including its 2-2 mark this season.

SCOUTING THE BLUE DEVILS: Duke comes into tonight's game after a 66-52 win at #22 Boston College on Saturday night. The Blue Devils, who are playing in their fourth straight road game, are currently ranked second in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.

On Saturday in Chestnut Hill, Monique Currie scored 14 of her 20 points in the second half and second-ranked Duke was able to shrug off a slow start to defeat the Eagles, 66-52, for their fifth conference win in as many games. The Blue Devils missed 20 of their first 25 shots and finished with their lowest scoring total this season (66 points). They beat Georgia Tech 67-59 last Wednesday.

BC's Brooke Queenan converted a reverse layup with 16:20 to play to give the Eagles a 32-24 lead. But the Blue Devils battled back and put together a 7-0 run to take a 56-50 lead with 4:24 left. Lindsey Harding started the spurt with a basket and finished it off with a steal and a breakaway layup. Wanish Smith then scored off a drive to make it 61-52 Duke with 2:56 on the clock.

Harding added 18 points and Mistie Williams had 11 for the Blue Devils. Duke shot 26 percent in the first half and trailed 22-20 at the break.

The Blue Devils are led by six-foot guard Monique Currie, who is averaging 15.3 points per game and moved into third place in Duke's all-time scoring list after her 20 point outing at BC. Mistie Williams (11.6 points per game) and Lindsey Harding (11.5 points per game) are also averaging double-figures for the Blue Devils. Alison Bales leads the team in rebouding, with 6.7 boards per game and Chante Black is right behind her with 6.4 rebounds per game. Bales and Black are also the team's top shot blockers with 46 and 36 blocks, respectively, this season. Four players on the roster also have more than 50 assists thus far this year (Wanisha Smith - 67; Harding and Abby Waner - 66; Currie - 57).

Duke's offense is producing 93.1 points per game and has recorded a school record-tying six 100-point games this year. Defensively, the Blue Devils have forced 20 or more turnovers in 14 of their 16 games this season and are holding their opponents to 54.2 points per game. In addition, Duke is holding its opponents to 32.7 percent from the field, which leads the ACC and ranks among the top in the nation.

Prior to the start of the season, Duke received 30 of the 40 first place votes on its way to being picked to finish first in the ACC this year, and for the second straight season, Monique Currie was selected as the ACC Preseason Player of the Year.

HEAD COACH GAIL GOESTENKORS: Duke head coach Gail Goestenkors is in her 14th season at the helm of the Duke women's basketball program. Goestenkors is one victory away from the 350th of her career with the Blue Devils.

HOLY CROSS VERSUS THE ACC: Holy Cross is 0-2 against the ACC this season, after a 80-39 setback to Virginia and a 67-53 loss to Boston College earlier this season. Holy Cross has an all-time record of 2-11 (.152) against ACC competition. HC is 10-29* (.256) against ACC teams under Bill Gibbons.

* Boston College has an 18-8 series record over Holy Cross and Miami has an 0-1 record against Holy Cross, but both were established when BC and Miami were members of the Big East. BC is 1-0 against Holy Cross as a member of the ACC and the Crusaders and Hurricanes have yet to meet since Miami went to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

COMMON OPPONENTS: Duke and Holy Cross have played one common opponent this season; Boston College. The Blue Devils defeated the Eagles, 66-52, on Saturday while the Crusaders lost 67-53 at Boston College earlier this season.

HOLY CROSS VERSUS THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Holy Cross is 167-32 (.839) in Patriot League play since its inception and is 97-8 (.923) when playing league opponents on the Hart Center floor, including its 1-0 mark this year. Under Bill Gibbons, Holy Cross is also 167-32 all-time in Patriot League action. Last season, Holy Cross finished 12-2 in the league and 7-0 at home vs. Patriot League opponents.

The Crusaders have 11 Patriot League regular season titles and 10 Patriot League Tournament titles in the 15-year history of the League. The only other team in the League's history that has more than one championship title is Fordham, a former member, who won two. Holy Cross is also coming off its 16th 20-win season under the direction of head coach Bill Gibbons.

ON A ROLL: With its 78-39 victory against Lafayette on Jan. 7, Holy Cross won its 14th consecutive Patriot League conference opener and the 15th overall of the 16 years the Patriot League has been in existence. The last and only time Holy Cross lost a Patriot League conference opening game was against Lafayette during the 1991-92 season (78-72 Lafayette) in Pennsylvania.

KEIL STYLE: Junior guard Brittany Keil registered her fourth career double-double with a 17-point, 10-rebound outing at Bucknell on Saturday. Keil was 7-for-17 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free throw line to help lead the Crusaders to a crucial conference win. Keil also clocked a career-high 41 minutes of action against the Bison.

Keil is second on the team in rebounding this season (6.3 rebounds per game) and is tied for fourth on the team in scoring (8.9 points per game). In the Patriot League opener against Lafayette, Keil ripped down a game-high nine rebounds and added seven points and two assists in 25 minutes of action. Against Boston University, Keil had a stellar all-around game with 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal. At UConn, Keil totaled 11 points, five rebounds and three assists after a 13-point, five-rebound night against URI and a 16-point, 12-rebound outing against Memphis at the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic.

Keil recorded three double-doubles in the first seven games of the season. In addition to her 16 points and 12 boards against Memphis, she posted her first career double-double at Northeastern (16 points, 11 rebounds), and registered the second double-double of her career after an 11-point, 10-rebound performance against Dartmouth.

BUSH LEADS HC CHARGE: Senior guard Shannon Bush pumped in a game-high 19 points on a 7-for-12 performance from the floor to lead Holy Cross to a 67-63 overtime victory at Bucknell on Saturday. Bush was 4-for-7 from behind the arc and scored four points in the extra period to help seal the victory for the Crusaders. Bush also had five assists, three rebounds and two steals against the Bison.

Bush is currently second on the team in scoring this season with an 11.7 points per game average. The Pennsylvania native played well at nationally-ranked UConn after totaling 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals. She recorded 17 points against URI, had 14 points at BC, and turned in fine all-around performance with 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals in 24 minutes of action against Saint Peter's. She is also averaging 3.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.3 steals.

Bush scored a career-high 20 points in the second game of the season at UMass, where she was 6-for-14 from the floor and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

DOUBLE DUTY: Junior center Kaitlin Foley narrowly missed her third career double-double and her second straight with a 10-point, eight rebound effort at Bucknell on Saturday. Foley was most recently coming off her second career double-double after totaling 14 points and 10 rebounds at Army last Tuesday. Foley had the double-double in the first half, after scoring 12 of Holy Cross' 27 points and grabbing 10 of the Crusaders' 17 rebounds. Foley finished the game 6-for-10 from the field and 2-for-3 from the free throw line in 35 minutes of action.

Foley leads the team in scoring (14.7 points per game) and is fourth in the Patriot League in that same category. She is also ranked second in the conference in field goal percentage (52.7 percent), third in blocks (0.73 blocks per game), sixth in free throw percentage (75.8 percent), and is seventh in rebounding (6.4 rebounds per game).

PLACEK STEPS UP: Senior guard Sarah Placek has scored 10 or more points in each of the last three games and in four of her last five outings. The five-foot-three spark plug has averaged 12.4 points per game over the last five games and is currently third on the team in scoring with a 9.1 points per game average. She is also tied for second on the team in assists with 45.

COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Sarah Placek came into the season with 810 career points and she is now just 53 points away from being the program's 22nd 1,000 point scorer. Should Placek reach the 1,000 point plateau, it would mark the third consecutive season a Holy Cross women's basketball player joined the 1,000 point club (Lisa Andrews in 2004-05, Maggie Fontana in 2003-04). Placek would also be the sixth Holy Cross player in the last four years (Andrews in 2004-05, Fontana in 2003-04, and Katie O'Keefe, Jeanette Paukert and Amanda Abraham in 2001-02) to score 1,000 career points.

With 12 regular season games remaining, Placek needs to average 4.4 points per game to reach the 1,000 point mark before postseason play begins. She is currently averaging 9.1 points per game.

In her three years in a Holy Cross uniform, the five-foot-three guard has never finished a season with an average below 8.5 points per game. Her sophomore season, she averaged a career-best 10.5 points per game. Placek's career high in a single game is 23 points (Dec. 7, 2004 at Rhode Island).

PUNCH ME IN: Four Crusaders set or tied season and/or career highs in minutes played Saturday at Bucknell. Brittany Keil played a career-high 41 minutes, Kaitlin Foley played a career-high 40 minutes, Laura Aloisi played a career-high 39 minutes, and Shannon Bush played a season-high 37 minutes.

QUICK HITTERS: Brittany Keil tied a career-high with 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season at Bucknell ... Kaitlin Foley picked up a career-high six steals at Bucknell ... Foley also recorded the second double-double of her career (14 points, 10 rebounds) at Army ... Laura Aloisi had a season-high five steals at Army ... Ashley McLaughlin tied a career-high with six rebounds at Army ... Sarah Placek tied a season-high with 14 points, grabbed a season-high six rebounds and had a season-high five assists against Lafayette ... Jessica Conte scored a career-high 20 points at Maine ... Shannon Bush was named to the 2005 Marriott Cavalier Classic All-Tournament Team ... Kaitlin Foley had a career-high 20 points, played a career-high 38 minutes and tied for career highs in assists and steals vs. URI ... Jessica Conte had a season-high seven rebounds and five steals vs. URI ... Brittany Keil pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds and tied season-highs with 16 points and five assists against Memphis ... Jessica Pearson shot 1.000 percent from the floor against Memphis and scored a career-high nine points (3-for-3), inlcuding two triples in a career-high 12 minutes of action ... Jessica Merrihue scored the first points of her career against Memphis after draining a long ball in six minutes of action ... Ashley McLaughlin had season-highs in points (seven) and assists (two), and tied a career-high with three steals against Memphis.

CONTE GOES FOR CAREER HIGH: Senior guard Jessica Conte pumped in a career-high 20 points at Maine on Jan. 2. Conte was 7-for-12 from the floor, including two three-pointers, and 4-for-6 from the free throw line. Just two games prior, Conte had tied her previous best of 18 points against Boston University on Dec. 28. In the BU game, Conte was 4-for-5 from long range and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. She is currently tied for fourth on the team in scoring with an 8.9 points per game average and is third on the team in three-pointers made (19), just five treys behind team leader, Shannon Bush (24 made).

Conte had a perfect shooting night at Boston College, going 3-for-3 from the floor, including a 2-for-2 night from behind the arc and a 1-for-1 showing at the free throw line for nine points, after a 3-for-6 night (nine points) against Saint Peter's. Conte scored perhaps the most important hoop of the night against the Peahens, when she nailed a three-ball to cut the Saint Peter's lead to one (41-40) with just over 11 minutes remaining. Conte's three-ball then triggered what would be a 14-0 Crusader run, which essentially gave Holy Cross the lead for good.

Conte has scored nine or more points in eight out of 15 games this season and leads the team in steals (31 steals). Additionally, she is fourth on the team in rebounding (3.7 rebounds per game), and is third in the league in steals (2.07 spg).

MINI MILESTONES: Senior Shannon Bush and junior Brittany Keil both recently hit the 500th career point mark. Bush reached passed the 500 point mark on Dec. 28 against BU, while Keil scored her 500th at UConn on Dec. 19. Additionally, seniors Jessica Conte and Sarah Placek recently played in their 100th career game. Conte hit the milestone against BU, while Placek checked into her 100th career game against Virginia on Dec. 29.

BUSH NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Just one day after senior Shannon Bush set a career-high with seven rebounds against Boston University, the five-foot-11 guard grabbed eight boards against Virginia, setting a new career mark. For her efforts at the Marriot Cavalier Classic, Bush was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Bush was one of just two Crusaders to reach double figures against Virginia, totaling 10 points, a career-high eight rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes of action. One day earlier against Boston University, Bush recorded 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.

FOLEY HELD UNDER 10: Junior center Kaitlin Foley was held to seven points against Virginia, marking the first game all season long that she has been held under 10 points. Foley was 2-for-3 from the floor and 3-for-3 from the free throw line in 25 minutes of action. Going into the UVA game, Foley was averaging 17.6 points per game over the previous five outings (19 vs. BU; 12 at UConn; 20 vs. URI; 18 vs. Memphis; 19 vs. WKU).

HIGHS AND LOWS: Holy Cross' 39 point victory (78-39) over Lafayette was its biggest of the season since its 25 point victory (91-66) over Memphis on Dec. 3. The Crusaders' 19 point lead at halftime (33-14) of the Lafayette game was also a season high, passing their 18 point halftime lead (42-24) against Memphis. In addition, Holy Cross held Lafayette to the lowest opponent halftime field goal percentage (20.0 percent) of the season, as the Leopards managed just five field goals (5-for-25) in the first twenty minutes.

Holy Cross was held to a season-low 39 total points and a season-low 18 points in a half against Virginia on Dec. 29 in the title game of the Marriott Cavalier Classic. The Crusaders' previous low point total was 41 against Western Kentucky (20 in a half vs. WKU) on Dec. 2 at the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic. In addition, Holy Cross' 41 point loss (80-39) to the Cavaliers was the team's biggest margin of defeat this season. Further, the Crusaders turned the ball over 33 times against Virginia, which is also a season high.

LIGHTS OUT: Holy Cross set a number of season records with their 91 point outing against Memphis earlier this season. The Purple and White scored a season-high 49 points in one half (previous high was 39 points against Saint Peter's) and forced a season-high 27 turnovers (previous high was 21 against Northeastern). Through 13 games, Holy Cross is 3-0 when forcing 20+ miscues.

FOLEY POSTS ANOTHER CAREER HIGH: Junior center Kaitlin Foley hit for another career-high when she pumped in a team-high and career-high 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor against URI on Dec. 7. Foley has set and surpassed career highs in points three times this season (18 at Northeastern, 19 vs. Western Kentucky, 20 vs. URI). Foley recorded her first career double-double with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds at UMass earlier this season.

FOLEY EARNS ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Junior center Kaitlin Foley earned a spot on the Wells Fargo/Arizona State Holiday Classic All Tournament Team after her performances that weekend, in which she averaged 18.5 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game, while shooting .739 (17-for-23) from the floor.

In the first round against Western Kentucky, Foley pumped in a team-high and a then-career high 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting, surpassing her previous career high of 18 points set earlier this season at Northeastern. Then in the consolation game, the Albany native scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed five rebounds in 26 minutes of action in Holy Cross' 91-66 blowout win over Memphis.

PICKING UP WHERE SHE LEFT OFF: Sophomore point guard Laura Aloisi (Nashua, N.H.) is once again leading the team in assists (53 assists) and assists per game (3.8 apg) this season. The second year playmaker now has 172 career assists, after her rookie campaign in which she led the team and finished second in the Patriot League with 119 helpers.

Aloisi is second in the Patriot League in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.71; 53 assists, 31 turnovers), ranks third in assists (3.79 apg) and ninth in blocked shots (0.43 bpg).

GRUZ GETS HER FEET WET: Freshman forward Kathy Gruzynski (Elk Grove, Ill.) continues to contribute in the paint for the Crusaders. The six-foot-two post player scored four points, had two assists, a rebounds and a steal in nine minutes in her Patriot League debut against Lafayette. Gruzynski also scored four points and grabbed three rebounds in a career-high 11 minutes of action against Memphis at the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic. Gruzynski scored a career-high five points against Dartmouth in nine minutes of action earlier this season, and pulled down a career-high five rebounds in nine minutes of action at UMass.

HEATHLY PROPORTIONS: As a team, Holy Cross ranks third in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.76), averaging 14.9 assists per game and 19.7 turnovers per game. Guards Laura Aloisi, Shannon Bush and Sarah Placek are ranked second, fourth, and seventh, respectively, in the Patriot League in assist-to-turnover ratio. Aloisi has a 1.71 ratio (53 assists to 31 turnovers), Bush has a 1.10 ratio (45 assists to 41 turnovers), and Placek has a 1.02 mark (45 assists to 44 turnovers).

BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: Holy Cross outrebounded Lafayette, 45-31 last Saturday and is now 2-2 when outrebounding its opponents. The Crusaders bounced back after being outrebounded 92-52 in their previous two outings (45-22 vs. Maine; 47-30 vs. Virginia). HC has been outrebounded 649-532 overall this season, including a 253-175 disadvantage on the offensive glass. The Crusaders are 4-7 on the year when outrebounded.

STREAK ENDS: Brittany Keil was 12-for-12 (1.000 percent) from the free throw line going into the Memphis game, but made just 6-of-9 foul shots against the Tigers, ending her bid to reach Maggie Fontana `05, who set a program record with 26 consecutive free throws (across five games). For the season, Keil is now 19-for-23 from the line (82.6 percent), which is third best in the Patriot League.

GETTING TO THE LINE: Two of the top six free throw shooters in the League are Holy Cross Crusaders. Senior guard Shannon Bush ranks second in the league in free throw percentage (84.6 percent; 33-for-39), and Kaitlin Foley is sixth (75.8 percent; 47-for-62). As a team, Holy Cross ranks third in the conference in free throw percentage (68.2 percent).

TOUGH `D': The Crusaders are ranked in the top 3 in the Patriot League in a number of defensive categories this season. They lead the League in three-point field goal percentage defense (26.6 percent), and are second in blocks (2.27 blocks per game), and steals (10.27 steals per game). Holy Cross held Memphis to 34.3 percent from the floor, Saint Peter's to 27.5 percent from the floor and Lafayette to a season-low 27.3 percent from the floor.

CRUSADERS PICKED TO REPEAT: Holy Cross was recently picked first in the Patriot League preseason poll for the second consecutive season. The Crusaders received 94 total votes, inlcuding 11 first place nods. Holy Cross is coming off its 16th 20-win season under the direction of head coach Bill Gibbons and its 10th Patriot League Tournament Title.

KEIL NAMED PRESEASON ALL-LEAGUE: Junior guard/forward Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) was named to the Patriot League Preseason All-League Team. Keil returns to the Holy Cross line-up as the team's top scorer (9.6 ppg) and rebounder (5.3 rpg). She is also the team's top three-point (.420 percent) and free throw (.810 percent) shooter from a year ago.

WELCOME TO WORCESTER: Morgan Valley is in her first season as assistant coach on the Holy Cross staff. Valley graduated from Connecticut in May and won three national titles with the Huskies under head coach Geno Auriemma.

2005-06 CAPTAINS: Senior guards Shannon Bush (Doylestown, Pa.), Jessica Conte (New Canaan, Conn.) and Sarah Placek (Alexandria, Va.), have been named team captains for the 2005-06 season.

SIXTEEN 20-WIN SEASONS: The Holy Cross women's basketball program has totaled 18 twenty-win seasons its 31 years of existence, and has amassed 16 twenty-win seasons while a NCAA Divsion I member. The past 16 twenty-win seasons have also come under the direction of head coach Bill Gibbons. Gibbons has led the Crusaders to more victories than any other coach in Holy Cross history during his 20-year tenure. He has won 20 or more games in 10 of the last 11 seasons and in 16 seasons overall.

400-CLUB: Bill Gibbons currently ranks 34th on the list of winningest active Division I coaches (by percent) and 36th by number of wins, according to the 2005 NCAA Women's Basketball Record Book. He is the winningest head basketball coach in Holy Cross history and is the second-winningest coach - of any sport - in school history, behind former baseball coach Jack Barry, who totaled 616 wins from 1921-1960.

HEAD COACH Bill Gibbons: Bill Gibbons is in his 21st season at the helm of the Holy Cross women's basketball program. He has led the Crusaders to 10 Patriot League Championships in the last 15 years and has also led the team to 12 postseason appearances (11 NCAA Tournaments and one WNIT) in his 20 years as head coach. With sixteen 20-win seasons under his belt, Gibbons has cemented himself and the women's basketball program as one of the best in the Northeast.

The sixth coach of the women's program at Holy Cross, Gibbons has enjoyed the longest tenure in this position. He has led Holy Cross women's basketball to more victories than any other coach, and is the winningest coach in Holy Cross basketball history. With his 358th victory, he surpassed George Blaney, who had the most wins (357) in the Crusader men's basketball program, and now with more than 400 wins under his belt, Gibbons is the second-winningest coach in Holy Cross Athletics history, behind former baseball coach Jack Barry. In 2003, Gibbons was inducted into the New England College Basketball Hall of Fame at the University of Rhode Island. He currently ranks 34th on the list of winningest active Division I coaches (by percent) and 36th by number of wins, according to the 2005 NCAA Women's Basketball Record Book.

During Gibbons' 20-year reign, three players have earned Patriot League Female Scholar Athlete of the Year honors: Amy O'Brien `98, Kathy Courtney `97 and Ann Lambiotte `91, and four players have earned Patriot League Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors: Lambiotte (1991), Courtney (1997), O'Brien (1998, 1999) and Lisa Andrews (2005). His teams have consistently ranked among the best at Holy Cross for overall team GPA, while maintaining their success on the court as well. Last season, Holy Cross was one of just three schools in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field with a graduation rate of 100 percent. The Crusader program has produced four Academic All-Americans and more than 10 Academic All-District picks.

2004-2005 HONORS: Four players from the Holy Cross women's basketball team were named to the 2005 Patriot League All-Conference Team at the end of last season. Since graduated seniors Lisa Andrews (Concord, Mass.) and Maggie Fontana (Barrington, Ill.) earned First Team All-League accolades, and current sophomores Laura Aloisi (Nashua, N.H.) and Ashley McLaughlin (Andover, Mass.) were selected to the All-Rookie Team.

HC SIGNS FOUR TO NATIONAL LETTERS OF INTENT: Head coach Bill Gibbons announced that four student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to attend Holy Cross in the fall of 2006. Tayana Carper (Shrewsbury, Mass.) of Shrewsbury High School, Christy Cushnie (Vienna, Va.) of James Madison High School, Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) of Good Counsel High School, and Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) of Lincoln High School, will all be donning the purple and white next season.

WHERE TO FIND HOLY CROSS BASKETBALL
ON TELEVISION: WCTR-TV3 will broadcast the January 16 game against Duke and the January 24 game against Colgate live from the Hart Center this season. Available in more than 20 communities in Central Massachusetts, WCTR-TV3 reaches more than 129,000 homes in the area.

ON THE INTERNET: Any information on Holy Cross basketball or the 26 other varsity sports at HC is also available through the Holy Cross Athletics website at: www.goholycross.com.

THE HOLY CROSS WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SHOW: Tune in to WCTR TV-3 Wednesday nights at 8:30 p.m. and Friday nights at 10:30 p.m. for the Holy Cross Women's Basketball Show with Head Coach Bill Gibbons. Each week, WCTR TV-3 Sports Director Kevin Shea will sit down with Gibbons and members of this year's coaching staff and team and talk about all things Holy Cross basketball, and the Crusaders quest for the 2005-2006 Patriot League Championship and a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

MEDIA POLICIES
INFORMATION AND CREDENTIALS: Media personnel wishing to cover Holy Cross home games should contact Brianne Mallaghan in the Holy Cross Athletic Media Relations Office at 508-792-2780 or via email at bmallagh@holycross.edu at least one week in advance. Working press and photo passes will be left at the will-call window located near the main entrance of the Hart Recreation Center.

INTERVIEWS: Interviews with Head Coach Bill Gibbons, his staff and Holy Cross players can be set up by contacting Brianne Mallaghan in the Holy Cross Athletic Media Relations Office at (508) 793-2780 or via email at bmallagh@holycross.edu. Arrangements for interviews should be made atleast 24 hours in advance. Coach Gibbons is generally available each weekday morning during the season, as well as before and after practices. Player interviews will be arranged subject to the individual student-athlete's academic responsibilities.

PRESS SERVICES: Game notes and programs are available in the press room one hour before each game. Halftime and final statistics and a running play-by-play will be available about 15 minutes following the game.

POSTGAME PROCEDURES: The Holy Cross women's basketball locker room is closed to the media. Members of the media should submit player interview requests to Brianne Mallaghan, the Holy Cross women's basketball contact, by the five-minute mark of the second half. Players and Coaches will be available for postgame interviews following a 10-minute cooling off period after the game.

RADIO AND TRANSMITTING: Holy Cross has installed phone lines which can be rented by a visiting radio station. The cost for rental is $75.00 for commercial stations and $50.00 for student stations.

HOLY CROSS ON THE INTERNET: For the most updated information on the Crusaders, check out the Holy Cross website. The site contains statistics for every Crusader basketball game, as well as cumulative stats, rosters, schedules, weekly notes and photo archives. Log on to www.goholycross.com.