Women's Basketball Hosts Bucknell On Saturday

Jan. 16, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (7-10, 2-0 PL) vs. Bucknell (9-6, 1-1 PL)
Date: January 17, 2009
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross Radio: www.sportsjuice.com, internet; Jeremy Lechan, play-by-play
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester
Live Video Streaming: Crusader All-Access
Bucknell Radio: WVBU 90.5 FM, Lewisburg, Pa.; Ryan Unger, play-by-play
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 33-11
Last Meeting: Bucknell 57, Holy Cross 45 (March 12, 2008, Worcester, Mass.)

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG
F 33 Whitney Fremeau 5-10 So. 7.2  5.0
C 42 Kathy Gruzynski 6-2 Sr. 4.2  2.5
G 21 Meredith Ward  5-8  Fr.  1.9  1.2
G 14 Briana McFadden 5-10 Jr.  15.7  4.8
G 44 Bethany O'Dell 5-8 Jr.  11.4  4.3

THE SERIES WITH BUCKNELL: This will be the 45th meeting between the Crusaders and the Bison on the hardwood, with Holy Cross leading the all-time series, 33-11. Bucknell won the latest contest between the two teams, winning the Patriot League Championship game, 57-45, at the Hart Center on March 12, 2008. Last year, the Crusaders won both regular season games, 48-46 on Jan. 20 at Bucknell and 73-67 on Feb. 16 in Worcester. In the first game to start the regular season, Holy Cross holds a 15-3 record, with an impressive 14-1 record at the Hart Center. In the first game on the all-time series, Holy Cross picked up a 78-59 road win on Jan. 15, 1991.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 33-11
In Worcester: Holy Cross leads, 18-5
At Hart Center: Holy Cross leads, 18-5
Bill Gibbons vs. Bucknell: 33-11
Kathy Fedorjaka vs. Holy Cross: 9-19
Current Win Streak: Bucknell, one game
In Overtime: Tied, 1-1

AFTER FIVE AND STILL ALIVE: Holy Cross is currently on a five-game winning streak, marking the longest streak since the 2004-2005 season, in which the Crusaders won 10 straight games. The 1996-1997 team posted 14 wins in a row, the longest win streak a team has recorded under the coaching of Bill Gibbons. The longest winning streak in Holy Cross women's basketball history was during the 1980-1981 season, winning 15 games in a row under former head coach Togo Palazzi. Holy Cross also currently has the best winning streak in the Patriot League.

MCFADDEN JOINS 1,000 POINT LIST: Junior guard Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) became the 25th player in Holy Cross women's basketball history to reach the 1,000 point mark during the Jan. 14 game against Army. McFadden now has 1,003 points in 82 games played. McFadden is also the eighth player to reach the list during her junior year, joining Amy O'Brien (1995-1999), Lauren Maney (1992-1996), Norinne Powers (1989-1993), Maggie Fontana (2001-2005), Cheryl Aaron (1982-1987), Kathy Courtney (1993-1997) and Katie O'Keefe (1999-2003).

SNAP THOSE STREAKS!: With Holy Cross' win over Army on Jan. 14, the Crusaders snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Black Knights, which included the Patriot League Championship game on March 8, 2006 at West Point, N.Y. The last victory recorded by Holy Cross was on Jan. 3, 2003, defeating the host Black Knights, 66-58. With the win in Worcester, Holy Cross also ended Army's five-game winning streak. At Lafayette on Jan. 10, the Crusaders ended a six-game home winning streak for the Leopards, marking the second-best winning streak in their school's history.

O'DELL SETS NEW SCHOOL RECORD: Junior guard Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) broke the Holy Cross women's basketball school record on Jan. 7 for three-point field goals made, sinking her 180th career shot from long range, surpassing Jeanette Paukert (1998-2002), who finished her career with 179. Climbing up the Patriot League career leaders list, O'Dell's current career total (185) places her seventh, 10 shy of tying Bucknell's Molly Creamer (2000-2003). The only active player on the list, she joins Paukert as the second Crusader to make this list. O'Dell is also currently ranked fourth at Holy Cross in three-point field goals attempted with 471, eight behind third ranked Alison Dietz (1994-1998).

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).

HOLY CROSS WELCOMES JANUARY: Holy Cross has played 91 games in the month of January in the past 10 seasons, posting an overall record of 64-27 (.703). 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 63 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 2004-2005 season also marks the best record in league playing during the month of January, finishing with an impressive 7-0 record.

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).

THE GO-TO GIRL: Briana McFadden continues to be strong on offense this season, leading the Crusaders in scoring in 10 of 17 games. She is the fifth Patriot League player with more than 200 points this season and currently tops the league in scoring with 15.7 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 five games in which she scored 20 points or more: 31 against Missouri, 24 points against Yale and Drexel, 22 against Maine and 21 versus Boston College. 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.

DEFENSE DETAINS LEAGUE'S SCORING EFFORTS: Holy Cross' win against Lafayette on Jan. 10 and win over Army on Jan. 14 marked the least amount of points scored by an opponent in a half in six seasons. On Nov. 29, 2002, the Crusaders held Savannah State to 11 points in the first half, going on to win, 74-39. In the Patriot League season-opener at Lafayette, the Crusaders held the host Leopards to just 12 points. At home against the Black Knights, Holy Cross only allowed Army to put 12 points on the scoreboard in the first half. The all-time school record of least amount of points allowed in a half was against was 10 points against Lafayette on Jan. 7, 1995 and Army on Jan. 20, 1996.

O'DELL KEEPS CAREER RIGHT ON TRACK: Starting in 15 games so far this year, Bethany O'Dell has led the Crusaders in scoring five times with a season-high 23 points against Western Illinois on Nov. 30, 15 points versus St. Peter's (Nov. 25), Bryant (Jan. 7) and Lafayette (Jan. 10) 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 171 points on the season, bringing her career total to 931 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), rebounds (nine) and three-pointers made (seven). Versus Boston College, O'Dell tallied 18 points, four rebounds and four assists. In 26 minutes played against Bryant, O'Dell finished with 15 points, a career-high nine rebounds, four assists and four steals. Against Maine, she finished with 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals in 37 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).

MCFADDEN ADDS NAME TO HOLY CROSS CAREER LISTS: Briana McFadden is making her mark on Holy Cross' career lists this season. She is currently ranked fourth all-time at Holy Cross for three-point field goals made with 136, 14 three-pointers shy of tying Alison Dietz (1994-1998). McFadden also holds the fifth spot on in career three-point field goals attempted with 398. McFadden is also currently ranked eighth at Holy Cross in free throw made with 314, needing 21 more shots from the charity stripe to tie Norinne Powers (1989-1993).

FREMEAU REMAINS STRONG IN STARTING ROLE: Sophomore forward/guard Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) has made 15 starts in Holy Cross' 17 games. Fremeau 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 made (two). Fremeau's best performance this season was against Rhode Island on Dec. 9 in which she recorded her first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds and played a career-high 34 minutes. Against Missouri, she finished with a career-high 15 points in 30 minutes played. In the Crusaders' win over Maine, Fremeau finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one steal in 31 minutes played. 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. Against Connecticut, she totaled nine points, six rebounds and one assist. In addition to her 7.9 points per game, she leads the Crusaders in rebounds with 5.2 per game. She has led the Crusaders in rebounds in four games and in scoring in one game. Appearing in 25 games last year, Fremeau totaled 42 points, 20 rebounds, 16 assists, 11 steals and two blocks.

FRONT AND CENTER: Senior center Kathy Gruzynski (Elk Grove, Ill.) has appeared in all 17 games and made nine starts for Holy Cross. She played her strongest game of the season against Bryant, going 7-for-10 from field goal range, totaling 14 points while pulling down seven rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes played. Against Army on Jan. 14, she finished with 12 points, two assists and one rebound in 20 minutes played. She tallied five points, five rebounds, three blocks and one assist in 14 minutes played versus Harvard on Nov. 20. In 13 minutes played at Dartmouth, Gruzynski went 4-for-4 from field goal range for eight points and pulled down three rebounds. 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.

BACK TO THE HART: Concluding an eight-game road trip, Holy Cross returned back to the Hart Center for its first game in Worcester since Nov. 25, defeating Maine, 68-63, on Jan. 2 and Bryant, 73-54 on Jan. 7. While on the road, the Crusaders picked up two wins  in both the tournaments they played in, downing Missouri, 94-93, in triple overtime at the DoubleTree White Invitational hosted by Northwestern in Evanston, Ill. and defeating Drexel, 63-58, at the Hawk Classic Tournament hosted by St. Joseph's in Philadelphia, Pa.

CAMPBELL LOOKING FORWARD: Sophomore forward Elizabeth Campbell has returned to the Crusaders' frontcourt for the 2008-2009 campaign, appearing in 16 games and making four starts. Campbell currently leads the team in blocks with 18 (1.1 per game), ranking her sixth in the Patriot League. In her most recent performance, Campbell scored all of her eight points in the final four minutes of the game against Army on Jan. 14, leading a 13-6 run to secure the win over the Black Knights. She also recorded a career-high six block and finished with season-highs in rebounds (nine) and assists (three) in 20 minutes played versus Army. In the game against Maine, she played 30 minutes and scored a career-high 16 points. Campbell played a season-high 33 minutes and grabbed six rebounds versus Drexel during the Hawk Tournament Classic on Dec. 28. At Lafayette on Jan. 10, Campbell finished with 12 points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist in 19 minutes played. In 26 minutes played at Dartmouth, she finished with eight points and season-highs in rebounds (seven) and blocks (three). Campbell played 22 minutes and tallied 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.

THAT'S MINE!!!: Holy Cross has forced 305 turnovers in 17 games, averaging 17.9 per game. Against Bryant on Wed. Jan. 7, the Crusaders forced a season-high 27 turnovers. In the Crusaders' season-opener against Yale, Holy Cross forced 24 turnovers, matching last year's season-high. The Crusaders caused 22 turnovers against Northeastern on Dec. 22 and against Maine on Jan. 2. 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.

O'DELL NAMED PATRIOT LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Bethany O'Dell has been named the women's basketball Baden Patriot League Player of the Week, for competition from Jan. 6-11. O'Dell averaged 15.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.5 assists in two games last week. This is the second player of the week honor O'Dell has received in her career. In Holy Cross' final non-conference game against Bryant on Wednesday, Jan. 7, O'Dell scored 15 points and broke the school record for career three point field goals made, sinking her 180th shot to surpass the previous record of 179. O'Dell is currently ranked eighth in the Patriot League in career three-pointers made, bringing her career total to 182 following this week's competition. She also pulled down a career-high nine rebounds in the 73-54 win over the Bulldogs. O'Dell scored a team-high 15 points in the Crusaders' Patriot League season-opener against Lafayette on Saturday, Jan. 10. Of her 15 points scored in the 60-45 win over the Leopards, O'Dell scored 12 points in the second half.

PEARSON MAKES STARTING LINEUP: Senior co-captain guard Jessica Pearson (West Chester, Pa.) has appeared in 16 games so far this season, making eight starts. Against Lafayette in the league season-opener, Pearson played a career-high 32 minutes and pulled down a career-high eight rebounds while adding six points, two steals and two assists. In her start at Dartmouth on Jan. 4, she finished with 27 minutes played, eight points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal. At Northeastern, Pearson finished 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 30 minutes played in both games of the tournament.

MERRIHUE HITS NEW HEIGHTS: Senior co-captain Jessica Merrihue (Holtsville, N.Y.) has appeared in 17 games this season, making four starts. Against Bryant, she finished with seven points and two assists in 18 minutes played. In her first collegiate start against Boston College on Nov. 18, she scored six points, blocked three shots and grabbed one rebound in nine minutes played. Merrihue has also added new career-highs in minutes played (18), rebounds (five), free throws (four), free throw attempts (five), blocks (three) and steals (three).

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 470-238 (.664) and a 194-52 (.789) 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 year-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.

ARMY RECAP: Briana McFadden scored her 1,000 point as she scored 13 points to lead the Holy Cross women's basketball team to a 57-41 win over Army in Patriot League play at the Hart Center on Wednesday, Jan. 14. The win for Holy Cross snaps a seven-game losing streak against Army. McFadden is the 25th player in Holy Cross women's basketball history to reach the 1,000 point mark and only the eighth player to do it as a junior. After holding a slight 7-4 lead, Holy Cross went on a 9-0 run, led by McFadden with four points. Scoreless for almost 10 minutes, the Black Knights cut their deficit to 12 points (18-6), but Holy Cross had the upper hand in the final scoring of the half, leading with a 9-6 run to close out the half ahead by 15 points, 27-12. The Crusaders grabbed their largest lead just over five minutes into the second half, pushing ahead by 19 points (39-20) as McFadden hit two shots from the free throw line. With 5:11 left to play in the game, Army fought back to get within nine points (44-35) of Holy Cross, with Megan Ennenga scoring four points and Alex McGuire sinking a three-pointer. Elizabeth Campbell scored all of her eight points of the game in a 13-6 run by Holy Cross to close out the game, securing a 57-41 victory. Holy Cross' defense smothered the Black Knights' offensive attempts throughout the game, holding Army to shooting 20.0% (13-65) from the floor while the Crusaders finished 21-for-46 (45.7%). Holy Cross also detained the Black Knights from outside the arc, allowing just two of 12 attempts. In addition to her 13 points, McFadden finished with eight rebounds, four assists and three steals while Bethany O'Dell had 11 points, five rebounds, two steals and two assists. Campbell led the team in rebounds with nine and in blocks with six while grabbing three steals. Erin Anthony had 12 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and one steal for Army.

CUSHNIE CONTRIBUTES TO BENCH PERFORMANCE: Junior guard Christy Cushnie (Vienna, Va.) has made her minutes off the bench count for the Crusaders, appearing in 16 games and averaging 11.9 minutes on the floor. Cushnie played a season-high 27 minutes off the bench against Army on Jan. 14, finishing with six points, six rebounds, a season-high three assists and one steal. Versus Maine on Jan. 2, she grabbed a career-high three steals and pulled down three rebounds.

ROOKIE NOTES: Freshman guard Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) has made five starts and appeared in 16 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 10 games so far this year, highlighted by new career-highs in points (seven), rebounds (three) and minutes played (11) in the game against Vermont.

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.

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.

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.

MERRIHUE AND PEARSON NAMED CAPTAINS: Senior forward Jessica Merrihue and senior guard Jessica Pearson 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.

WELCOME BACK TO WORCESTER: Ann McInerney is in her first season as an assistant coach on the Holy Cross staff. A Worcester native, coach McInerney graduated from Assumption College where she was the all-time leading scorer at the completion of her career. She was named the 1989 Northeast-10 Player of the Year and is also a member of the Assumption College Athletic Hall of Fame.

NEXT UP FOR THE `SADERS: Holy Cross concludes its three-game homestand, hosting Navy on Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 7:00 p.m.