February 2, 2005

Holy Cross Plays Host To Navy Friday Night at Hart Center

Feb. 2, 2005

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GAMEDAY QUICK FACTS:
DATE: Friday, February 4, 2005
TIME: 7:00 p.m. EST
LOCATION: Worcester, Mass.
ARENA: Hart Center
CAPACITY: 3,600
TEAM RECORDS:
Navy 7-13 (3-4 Patriot League)
Holy Cross 12-8 (7-0 Patriot League)

SERIES HISTORY: Holy Cross, 27-4
LAST MEETING: Holy Cross, 73-48 (January 21)
STREAK: Holy Cross, 2

BROADCAST INFORMATION:
INTERNET: www.sportsjuice.com
TALENT: Jeremy Lechan

 PROBABLE STARTERS: 
G - #10 Sarah Placek, Jr., 5-3, 9.3 ppg, 2.6 apg
G - #05 Laura Aloisi, Fr., 5-9, 3.4 ppg, 4.8 apg
G - #34 Maggie Fontana, Sr., 5-11, 9.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg
F - #33 Brittany Keil, So., 6-2, 9.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg
C - #00 Lisa Andrews, Sr., 6-3, 12.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg
RESERVES:
G - #23 Jessica Conte, Jr., 5-7, 6.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg
G - #11 Caitlin Agostinacchio, Sr., 5-9, 1.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg
G - #15 Shannon Bush, Jr., 5-11, 4.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg
C - #31 Ashley Brennan-McBride, So., 6-5, 1.8 ppg, 0.6 rpg
F - #13 Ashley McLaughlin, Fr., 6-1, 4.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg
F - #52 Kaitlin Foley, So., 6-4, 2.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg

THE SERIES: Holy Cross owns a 27-4 series advantage over Navy, and is 15-1 when playing at the Hart Center. Going into last season, Holy Cross had won 10 straight games between the two schools before Navy defeated the Crusaders 71-64 on the Hart Center floor last year.

LAST TIME: Holy Cross and Navy met up just two weeks ago at Alumni Hall in Annapolis where the Crusaders took home a 73-48 victory. Senior Maggie Fontana scored a game-high 18 points and Lisa Andrews added 16 to lead the Crusaders. Brittany Keil pulled down a team-high five rebounds, while Laura Aloisi dished out a game-high six assists. HC went into the half up 29-18 and used a 20-2 run in the second stanza to seal the win. The Crusaders had five blocks on the night and forced 25 Navy turnovers, holding the Midshipmen to just 30% from the floor. Navy was led by Nikki Curtis, who put up a 12-rebound, 10-point performance. The Midshipmen also got 12 points from Carly Meyer.

TOP SPOT: With Sunday's 71-68 win over Lehigh, Holy Cross took sole possession of first place in the Patriot League rankings with a 7-0 record. After the first round of League games last year, the Crusaders were 5-2.

ON A ROLL: Holy Cross is currently riding a seven-game winning streak, which is its longest of the year. The last time the Crusaders won seven or more games consecutively was during the 2002-03 season when they rattled off 12 straight wins during the second half of the season. HC went 24-8 that year, including a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

FONTANA NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior Maggie Fontana (Barrington, Ill.) was named the Patriot League Player of the Week on Monday, following her performances vs. Lafayette and Lehigh over the weekend. Fontana came up with game-highs of 21 points and nine rebounds to lead HC to a thrilling three-point victory over Lehigh on Sunday after scoring 14 points and grabbing six rebounds on Friday night vs. Lafayette. Fontana's 17.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg were enough to give the 5-foot-11 guard/forward her first League honor of the year.

RE-WRITING THE RECORD BOOKS: On Sunday, Maggie Fontana converted 11-of-11 foul shots, breaking the Holy Cross women's basketball single-game record. The previous best was a 10-for-10 performance by Beth Godfrey vs. Indiana on January 3, 1993. Fontana's 11 free throws also marked a new Patriot League single-game high this season.

HC IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: Holy Cross is ranked in the Top 50 nationally in four different categories. The Crusaders rank highest (26th) in assists per game at 16.7, behind national leader DePaul (20.4), one of the Crusaders opponents earlier this year. HC is also ranked 28th in free throw percentage at 74.3% (national leader Idaho State - 79.7), 42nd in three-point field goal percentage at 35.2% (national leader Southwest Missouri State - 44.8%) and 45th in steals per game at 11.0 (national leader North Carolina - 14.5).

TOUGH 'D': Holy Cross' 70-48 win over Lafayette on Friday night was the third straight game the Crusaders held their opponents to 48 points or less. Before Lehigh put up 68 points against HC on Sunday, the Crusaders held Navy, American, and Lafayette all to 48 points, marking the first time all season the Crusaders have held three straight opponents to under 50 points. Earlier this season, HC held Providence and Buffalo to 42 points or less in back-to-back games in November and held URI and Siena to 56 points or less in back-to-back games in December. The Crusaders are 9-0 this season when holding their opponents to 60 points or less.

HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 247-53 at the Hart Center, including a 6-3 mark at home so far this season. HC has posted a record of 44-15 at home over the course of the last four seasons.

40 AND COUNTING...:With seven regular season games left, senior Lisa Andrews (Concord, Mass.) is just 40 points away from reaching the 1,000 point plateau. Andrews is averaging 12.3 ppg and has put up 17.0 ppg in Patriot League play thus far. The 6-foot-3 center is currently tied for fourth in the League in scoring (league games only).

ACROSS THE NATION: According to the January 24 release, freshman guard Laura Aloisi (Nashua, N.H.) was ranked 42nd in the nation in assists per game, with 5.1 per outing. The 5-foot-9 Aloisi picked up five more set-ups last weekend and currently leads the team and the League with 82 assists through 17 games (4.8 apg) and 31 assists through seven league games (4.43 apg). Her 11 assist perfomance against UMass on 11/23 and her 10 helpers vs. Providence on 11/19 stand as PL-bests this season.

GIBBONS GETS NO. 405: Holy Cross head coach Bill Gibbons continues to move up the history charts, having picked up his 405th career win after a 71-68 win over Lehigh on Sunday. Gibbons is the winningest basketball coach (men's or women's) in the history of Holy Cross . The 20th year coach is also currently ranked 37th among active Division I women's basketball coaches by number of victories. Gibbons captured his 100th, 200th, and 400th career wins on his first try. It took the Worcester, Mass. native two games to notch his 300th win in 2000.

THIS TIME OUT: The Crusaders are on a seven game winning streak and are currently 12-8 (7-0 Patriot League) going into tonight's match-up with Navy. The Crusaders are 6-3 at home this year and have an 8-6 record when playing at night. HC is also 3-1 when playing on Fridays this season and is 7-2 in January thus far. Navy is currently 7-13 overall and 3-4 in conference play. The Midshipmen had lost five straight before defeating Bucknell, 53-43 on Sunday.

LAST TIME OUT: The Crusaders won their seventh straight game after a 71-68 win over Lehigh on Sunday at the Hart Center. Four Crusaders were in double figures led by senior Maggie Fontana, who scored a game-high and a season-high 21 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Junior Jessica Conte (New Canaan, Conn.) added 12 points and a team-high four steals, while senior center Lisa Andrews (Concord, Mass.) tallied 11 points, five rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal. Sophomore Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) chipped in 10 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Lehigh took a slim 33-32 lead into the half, after seven lead changes and four ties in the first 20 minutes. The Mountain Hawks then led for more than 14 minutes in the second half, before junior guard Sarah Placek (Alexandria, Va.) came up with two steals and six points in a 1:15 span, giving HC the lead for good with 3:12 remaining.

NEXT TIME OUT: The Crusaders finish up their four-game home stand on Sunday when they play host to American at 1:00 p.m.

SCOUTING THE MIDSHIPMEN: Navy comes into tonight's game having just snapped a five-game losing streak after handing Bucknell a 10-point loss (53-43) on Sunday. The Midshipmen are currently 7-13 overall and 3-4 in league play. Navy is led by 6-foot senior forward Nikki Curtis (Jacksonville, Fla.) who leads the team in both scoring (12.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.1 rpg). Foward Carly Meyer (Orlando, Fla.) is averaging 9.0 ppg and 5.1 rpg. The six-foot sophomore is also the team's second leading shot blocker with 11 rejections this season. Six-foot-two sophomore Kate Hobbs (Wexford, Pa.) leads the team in blocks (14) and is scoring 8.4 points per outing. Five-foot-seven junior guard Lauren Skrel (Walnut Creek, Calif.) leads the team in assists (96; 4.80 apg), which is good for second best in the Patriot League, behind HC's Aloisi.

HOLY CROSS IN PATRIOT LEAGUE PLAY: Holy Cross is currently 7-0 in conference play after a 71-68 win over Lehigh on Sunday. Twentieth-year head coach Bill Gibbons has compiled a 160-29 (.846) record in Patriot League play, including HC's 7-0 mark this year. Gibbons also has six Patriot League Coach of the Year awards and has led his teams to 10 regular season titles and nine championship titles.

HC TOPS FROM LONG RANGE: Holy Cross is shooting a league-best 35.2% from behind the arc this season (all games). Sophomore Brittany Keil, and junior Jessica Conte occupy two of the top five spots in 3-point field goal pct. among Patriot League players (all games). Keil ranks first in the League, shooting an impressive 45.3% (24 for 53), followed by the fifth-place Conte at 36.2% (21 for 58). Junior guard Sarah Placek is ranked 9th (32.8%; 22 for 67).

FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE: Holy Cross is also tops from the foul line, shooting a League-best 76.6% (conference games only) and 74.3% (all games). Senior Lisa Andrews is shooting a team-best 81.4% (48-for-59) from the charity stripe, while fellow senior Maggie Fontana is converting on better than 79%, having made 53-of-67 free throws, including a new single-game school record, 11-for-11 vs. Lehigh on January 30. Through 20 games, Crusader players have made good on 234 of 315 attempts.

BLOCK PARTY: Lisa Andrews is currently ranked second (all games and conference games) among Patriot League players in blocked shots. The 6-foot-4 center has turned away a team-leading 32 shots so far this season. Andrews is averaging 1.60 blocks per game. She finished last season ranked 21st in the country with 2.5 blocks per outing.

BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: The Crusaders are 6-0 when outrebounding their opponents, and 6-8 when their opponents win the battle of the boards. The Crusaders have been outrebounded in 14 of 20 games this season, including a streak of eight straight games where HC opponents pulled down more boards.

RECORDS TO WATCH: Senior guard Maggie Fontana is moving up in a number of all-time Holy Cross statistics lists. Fontana recently passed Ann Lambiotte (`91) in scoring and is currently ranked ninth with 1,424 points. She is four steals away from breaking into the Top 3 (234), and she is just three rebounds away from moving into the Top 10 in that category (695). Fontana is also steadily climbing the all-time Patriot League charts in a number of categories. The 5-foot-11 Illinois native is currently ranked 11th in assists (395), 16th in points (1,424) and 18th in rebounds (695). With her three rejections against Lafayette on January 28, Lisa Andrews moved into the third slot in all-time blocked shots in both Patriot League and Holy Cross history. Andrews currently has 178 blocks, 16 away from former HC player Karen Juda (`96), who occupies the second spot in both Holy Cross and Patriot League history with 194 blocks.

DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Seniors Lisa Andrews and Maggie Fontana are the only two HC players who have recorded double-doubles this season. Andrews went for 17 points and 13 boards in a 67-48 win over American on January 23 and 12 points and 10 boards in a 64-56 win at Siena on December 9. Fontana tallied 10 points and 10 boards in a one-point loss to UAB on November 26.

SEASON HONORS: Senior center Lisa Andrews earned her second Patriot League Player of the Week honor on January 17 after leading the Crusaders to a 2-0 week vs. Colgate and Army in which she averaged 21.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg, and blocked three shots. Freshman guard Laura Aloisi was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors (Nov. 29) just one week after Andrews earned her first Player of the Week (Nov. 22) nod. Aloisi was recognized for her performances in the Iona (six assists, three steals), UAB (career-high 14 points), and UMass games (career-high 11 assists). Andrews tallied 19 points, four rebounds, two blocks and a steal vs. Buffalo two days after a 12-point, five rebounds, two steals and a block in the home opener against Providence.

PATRIOT LEAGUE BASKETBALL ON CSTV: The February 19 game featuring Holy Cross and Colgate, which will be played at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass., is the only Patriot League regular season women's game slated for CSTV. College Sports Television will also broadcast the March 3 PL Quarterfinals and the March 9 PL Championship game.

HOLY CROSS PICKED TO WIN PATRIOT LEAGUE TITLE:Ten-time Patriot League regular-season champion Holy Cross was picked to win the 2004-2005 Patriot League regular-season title in a pre-season vote of the League's head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders tied last season's regular season champion Colgate with five first place votes, but amassed 84 total points, edging the Raiders by two (coaches and SIDs were not allowed to vote for their own team). American finished third with 72 points, followed by Lehigh (68), Bucknell (55), Army (36), Navy (27), and Lafayette (19). In other voting, Colgate senior Emily Braseth and Lehigh senior Jessica DePalo were chosen as the Pre-Season Co-Players of the Year. They are joined on the Pre-Season All-League team by Holy Cross senior guard Maggie Fontana, Bucknell sophomore guard Lindsey Hollobaugh and American senior forward Chanel Hunt. Braseth and DePalo were First Team selections last season, while Fontana and Hunt were second-team picks. Hollobaugh earned Rookie of the Year honors.

2003-2004 HONORS: Joining Fontana on the All-Patriot League Second Team was center Lisa Andrews. Andrews led the League in blocks (69), and was ranked 21st in the country with 2.5 blocks per game. She also finished the season ranked 28th in the country in field goal pct. (.541). Brittany Keil also earned League accolades last season. The 6-foot-2 guard was named to the Patriot League All-Rookie Team after a strong freshman campaign. Keil played in all 28 Crusader games, and started 15. She averaged 4.7 ppg and 3.6 rpg, to go along with 28 steals and 21 blocks.

2004-05 CAPTAINS: Seniors Caitlin Agostinacchio, Lisa Andrews, and Maggie Fontana are the 2004-2005 Holy Cross captains. Agostinacchio, who also plays volleyball for HC, recorded 396 kills this season, giving her 1,063 for her career, which is a school-best. She also tallied 250 digs (908 career). Andrews averaged 14.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, and 2.5 bpg last season, earning Second Team All-Patriot League honors. Her 2.5 blocks per game was good for 21st nationally. She was also ranked 28th in the nation in field goal percentage (.541). Fontana also earned Second Team All-Patriot League honors last year. She finished last season ranked in the PL Top 10 in seven different categories, and also scored her 1,000th career point against Furman on December 29.

HEAD COACH Bill Gibbons: Bill Gibbons is entering his 20th season as head coach of the Holy Cross Women's Basketball program. The name Gibbons has become a fixture in the world of women's basketball. He has led the Crusaders to nine Patriot League Championships in the last 14 years. He has also made 10 postseason appearances (nine NCAA Tournaments and one WNIT) in his 19 years as head coach. With fifteen 20-win seasons under his belt, Gibbons has cemented himself and the women's basketball program as one of the best in the Northeast. Gibbons currently has a record of 405-180 in his 20th year as head coach. The sixth coach of the women's program at Holy Cross, he has enjoyed the longest tenure in this position. With his 358th victory, he surpassed George Blaney (357) to become the school's all-time winningest coach in basketball history. In 2003, Gibbons was inducted into the New England College Basketball Hall of Fame at the University of Rhode Island.

 GIBBONS ALL-TIME: 
CAREER RECORD: 405-180
PATRIOT LEAGUE RECORD: 160-29
YEARS: 20
RECORD AT SCHOOL: Same

WHERE TO FIND HOLY CROSS BASKETBALL:
ON THE RADIO: WTAG 580 AM will broadcast live on February 23 at Bucknell, and February 26 at Army. In addition, WCHC 88.1 FM, the Holy Cross student station will also be covering a number games this year.

ON THE INTERNET: Tonight's game will be broadcast live on www.sportsjuice.com.In addition, all games broadcast by WTAG 580 AM except the February 11 & 13 games at Lafayette and Lehigh can also be heard live on www.sportsjuice.com. Each game will also be linked from the Holy Cross website. Other information on Holy Cross basketball and all 26 other varsity sports is also available through the new Holy Cross Athletics website at: www.goholycross.com

ON TELEVISION: Tune in to WCTR TV-3 Wednesday nights at 10:30 p.m. and Thursday nights at 8:00 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 2004-2005 Patriot League Championship and a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

MEDIA POLICIES:
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) 793-2583 or via email at bmallagh@holycross.edu. Arrangements for interviews should be made atleast 24 hours in advance.

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.