Crusaders Play Host to American On Sunday Afternoon

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Feb. 5, 2005

GAMEDAY QUICK FACTS:
DATE: Sunday, February 6, 2005
TIME: 1:00 p.m. EST
LOCATION: Worcester, Mass.
ARENA: Hart Center
CAPACITY: 3,600
TEAM RECORDS:
American 9-12 (4-4 Patriot League)
Holy Cross 12-8 (7-0 Patriot League)

SERIES HISTORY: Holy Cross, 7-1
LAST MEETING: Holy Cross, 67-48 (January 23)
STREAK: Holy Cross, 1

BROADCAST INFORMATION:
RADIO: WCHC 88.1 FM - Holy Cross student station
INTERNET: www.sportsjuice.com
TALENT: Jeremy Lechan

 PROBABLE STARTERS:  G - #10 Sarah Placek, Jr., 5-3, 9.4 ppg, 2.6 apg 
G - #05 Laura Aloisi, Fr., 5-9, 3.3 ppg, 4.7 apg
G - #34 Maggie Fontana, Sr., 5-11, 9.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg
F - #33 Brittany Keil, So., 6-2, 9.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg
C - #00 Lisa Andrews, Sr., 6-3, 12.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg
RESERVES: G - #23 Jessica Conte, Jr., 5-7, 6.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg
G - #11 Caitlin Agostinacchio, Sr., 5-9, 1.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg
G - #15 Shannon Bush, Jr., 5-11, 5.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg
C - #31 Ashley Brennan-McBride, So., 6-5, 2.1 ppg, 0.6 rpg
F - #13 Ashley McLaughlin, Fr., 6-1, 4.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg
F - #52 Kaitlin Foley, So., 6-4, 3.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg

THE SERIES: Holy Cross holds a 7-1 series advantage over American, and is 3-0 when playing at the Hart Center. Going into last season, Holy Cross had won six straight games between the two schools before American defeated the Crusaders 81-65 at Bender Arena last year.

LAST TIME: Holy Cross and American met up just two weeks ago at Bender Arena in Washington, D.C. where the Crusaders took home a 67-48 victory. Senior Lisa Andrews scored a team-high 17 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds for the Crusaders. Maggie Fontana also had a big game with a 14-point, eight rebound performance. Brittany Keil added eight points and six rebounds and freshman guard Laura Aloisi recorded a game-high four assists. HC went into the half with a 30-22 advantage after a back-and forth first half, but the Crusaders pulled away in the second and were up by as much as 18 points on two different occasions. The Eagles dug themselves into a hole with a poor 9-for-23 day at the foul line. American was led by Joanna Barnes' 19 points. Abby Lipskis also reached double figures with an 11-point afternoon.

TOP SPOT: Holy Cross is in sole possession of first place in the Patriot League after posting a 71-57 win over Navy on Friday night. The Crusaders are 8-0 in the league and have a little breathing room after Lehigh's loss to Colgate on Friday. The Mountain Hawks are currently in second place with a 6-2 record.

IN THE ZONE: Holy Cross is currently riding an eight-game winning streak, which is its longest of the year. The last time the Crusaders won eight 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.

CAREER DAY FOR MCLAUGHLIN: Freshman forward Ashley McLaughlin (Andover, Mass.) recorded a career-high four blocks on Friday night against Navy. The 6-foot-2 post player swatted four Midshipmen attempts on her way to game-high honors. McLaughlin's previous high was two blocks vs. Northeastern and UMass earlier this season. McLaughlin is currently ranked eighth in the Patriot League in blocked shots (league games only).

TOP 10 FOR FONTANA: With her seven rebounds against Navy on Friday night, Maggie Fontana passed Katie O'Keefe (`03) on the all-time HC rebounding list, giving her the 10th spot with 702 boards. With six regular season games left, Fontana is just a handful of caroms away from the six through nine slots (714-732). The 5-foot-11 G/F is averaging 5.1 boards per contest.

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: As a team, the Crusaders rank first in 10 of 19 team categories among the Patriot League statistics. HC is tops in scoring offense, scoring defense, scoring margin, free throw percent, field goal percent, field goal percent defense, assists, steals, turnover margin and assist-to-turnover ratio. The Crusaders are also ranked second in five of the remaining nine categories (three-point field goal percent defense, rebounding offense, blocked shots, rebounding margin and defensive rebounds), and are ranked third in two others (rebounding defense, three-point field goals made). The only two categories HC is not ranked in the Top 3 are three-point field goal percent (5th) and offensive rebounds (4th).

TOUGH 'D': Holy Cross is 10-0 when holding its opponents to 60 points or less this season. The Crusaders held Navy to 57 points on Friday, marking the fourth time in the last five games that HC held its opponent to under 60 points. HC held Navy (1/21), American (1/23), and Lafayette (1/28) all to 48 points in consecutive games, marking the first time all season the Crusaders had 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.

HC IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: According to the latest release (Jan. 30), 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).

HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS: Holy Cross has an all-time record of 248-53 at the Hart Center, including a 7-3 mark at home so far this season. HC has posted a record of 45-15 (.750) at home over the course of the last four seasons.

26 AND COUNTING...:With six regular season games left, senior Lisa Andrews (Concord, Mass.) is just 26 points away from reaching the 1,000 point plateau. Andrews is averaging 12.4 ppg and has put up 16.6 ppg in Patriot League play thus far. The 6-foot-3 center currently ranks third in the League in scoring (league games only).

FONTANA EARNS PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS: Senior Maggie Fontana (Barrington, Ill.) was named the Patriot League Player of the Week last 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.

GIBBONS GETS NO. 406: Holy Cross head coach Bill Gibbons continues to move up the history charts, having picked up his 406th career win on Friday after a 71-57 win over Navy. 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 an eight game winning streak and are currently 13-8 (8-0 Patriot League) going into today's match-up with American. The Crusaders are 7-3 at home this year (5-0 vs. PL teams) and have an 4-2 record when they play during the day. HC is also 3-2 when playing on Sundays this season and is 8-2 in January thus far. American is currently 9-12 overall and one of three teams at 4-4 in conference play. The Eagles are coming off a big 51-47 road win over Army on Friday.

LAST TIME OUT: The Crusaders won their eighth straight game after a 71-57 decision over Navy on Friday at the Hart Center. Three Crusaders were in double figures led by senior Lisa Andrews, who scored a team-high 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Junior Sarah Placek added 12 points, three assists and three steals, and Shannon Bush tallied 11 points and five rebounds. Ashley McLaughlin blocked a game-high four shots, while fellow freshman Laura Aloisi dished out a team-high four assists. HC led from start to finish, going into the half with a 34-15 advantage. The Crusaders held Navy to just six baskets the first twenty minutes, as the Mids shot 20% from the floor. The Crusaders were 48% from the floor for the game, including a 13-for-19 performance from the free throw line.

NEXT TIME OUT: The Crusaders have a two-game road swing next weekend when they visit Lafayette on Friday night and make the short trip to Lehigh on Sunday in two key PL battles.

SCOUTING THE EAGLES: American comes into today's game on a high note after defeating a talented Army team on the road. The Eagles are currently 9-12 overall and 4-4 in league play. AU is led by 5-foot-10 senior guard Joanna Barnes (Washington, D.C.) who leads the team in scoring with a 14.8 ppg clip. Barnes also put up a game-high 19 points against the Crusaders two weeks ago. Joined alongside Barnes is 6-foot senior foward Chanel Hunt (Raleigh, N.C.) who is averaging 11.3 ppg. Hunt lost her starting job following the HC game a few weeks ago, but is back to her old self after pouring in 19 points at Army on Friday. The Eagles leading rebounder is 5-foot-9 senior Jenyce Woodruff (Wexford, Pa.) who is pulling down 7.1 boards per game, and who grabbed 12 boards vs. HC last time out.

HOLY CROSS IN PATRIOT LEAGUE PLAY: Holy Cross is currently 8-0 in conference play after a 71-57 win over Navy on Sunday. Twentieth-year head coach Bill Gibbons has compiled a 161-29 (.847) record in Patriot League play, including HC's 8-0 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 34.9% from behind the arc this season (all games). Sophomore Brittany Keil, and junior Jessica Conte occupy two of the top four spots in 3-point field goal pct. among Patriot League players (all games). Keil ranks first in the League, shooting an impressive 44.4% (24 for 54), followed by the fourth-place Conte at 35.6% (21 for 59). Junior guard Sarah Placek is ranked 9th (34.3%; 24 for 70).

FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE: Holy Cross is also tops from the foul line, shooting a League-best 75.4% (conference games only) and 74.0% (all games). Lisa Andrews has a team-best 82.5% rate at the line (52-for-63), while fellow senior Maggie Fontana is converting on better than 79%, having made 54-of-68 free throws. Through 20 games, Crusader players have made good on 247 of 334 attempts.

BLOCK PARTY: Lisa Andrews is currently tied for first (conference games only) and ranked second (all games) among Patriot League players in blocked shots. The 6-foot-4 center has turned away a team-leading 33 shots so far this season. Andrews is averaging 1.57 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 7-0 when outrebounding their opponents, and 6-8 when their opponents win the battle of the boards. The Crusaders have been outrebounded in 14 of 21 games this season, including a streak of eight straight games where HC opponents pulled down more boards.

RE-WRITING THE RECORD BOOKS: On Sunday, January 30, 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.

RECORDS TO WATCH: Senior guard Maggie Fontana is moving up in a number of all-time Holy Cross statistics lists. Fontana is currently ranked ninth in scoring with 1,433 points. She is three steals away from breaking into the Top 3 (235), and she is ranked ninth in rebounds (702). 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 (396), 15th in rebounds (702), and 16th in points (1,433). 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 179 blocks, 15 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.

ALOISI, ANDREWS HONORED: 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. Laura Aloisi was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week on Nov. 29 after her performances in the Iona (six assists, three steals), UAB (career-high 14 points), and UMass games (career-high 11 assists). Andrews' first POW nod was on Nov. 22 after she 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 CROWN: 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 406-180 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: 406-180
PATRIOT LEAGUE RECORD: 161-29
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.