Holy Cross Goes For Regular Season Title On Sunday

Feb. 12, 2005

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Game #24 vs. LEHIGH
DATE: Sunday, February 13, 2005
TIME: 1:00 p.m. EST
LOCATION: Bethlehem, Pa.
ARENA: Stabler Arena
Holy Cross 15-8 (10-0 Patriot League)
Lehigh 16-7 (8-2 Patriot League)

SERIES HISTORY: Holy Cross, 30-4
LAST MEETING: Holy Cross, 71-68 (January 30) STREAK: Holy Cross - 1

TALENT: Mike Zambelli, Jim Wills
INTERNET: lehighsports.com
TALENT: Jeff Tourial

G - #10 Sarah Placek, Jr., 5-3, 9.0 ppg, 2.7 apg
G - #05 Laura Aloisi, Fr., 5-9, 3.1 ppg, 4.7 apg
G - #34 Maggie Fontana, Sr., 5-11, 10.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg
F - #33 Brittany Keil, So., 6-2, 9.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg
C - #00 Lisa Andrews, Sr., 6-3, 12.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg
G - #23 Jessica Conte, Jr., 5-7, 6.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg
G - #11 Caitlin Agostinacchio, Sr., 5-9, 1.7 ppg, 1.4 rpg
G - #15 Shannon Bush, Jr., 5-11, 4.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg
C - #31 Ashley Brennan-McBride, So., 6-5, 2.1 ppg, 0.6 rpg
F - #13 Ashley McLaughlin, Fr., 6-1, 4.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg
F - #52 Kaitlin Foley, So., 6-4, 2.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg

Tonight's game is the 35th all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Lehigh in the 30 seasons of varsity basketball at HC.

The Series: Holy Cross owns a 30-4 series advantage over Lehigh, and has won seven of the last ten contests between the two, dating back to the 2000-01 season. Six of the last ten meetings have been decided by 10 points or less, including four games that have been decided by three points or less, and one double overtime matchup. Holy Cross is 16-2 when playing in Bethlehem.

Last Time: Maggie Fontana scored a game-high 21 points to lead Holy Cross to a 71-68 victory over Lehigh just two weeks ago in a game that featured the top two teams in the League. Lehigh went into the break with a 33-32 lead after the two teams played a back-and-forth half. Lehigh led for more than 14 minutes in the second half, but could not break away from the Crusaders who stayed within six points or less the whole way. With 3:12 remaining, Sarah Placek hit a jumper that put HC back in front, and the Crusaders were able to hold on down the stretch. Jessica Conte finished with 12 points, Lisa Andrews tallied 11 points and Brittany Keil added 10 for HC. The Mountain Hawks were led by Jessica DePalo's 19 points. Sara Ellis finished with 17 and Adrienne Blount came off the bench to score 10.

Top Spot: Holy Cross is in sole possession of first place in the Patriot League after posting a 68-62 win over Lafayette on Friday. The Crusaders are 10-0 in the league, followed by Lehigh at 8-2 and Army and Colgate at 5-5.

In The Zone: Holy Cross is currently riding a 10-game winning streak, which is its longest of the year. The last time the Crusaders won 10 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.

Streak Stops at 33: Maggie Fontana's consecutive free throw streak ended Friday night at Lafayette when the 5-foot-11 guard/forward went 7-for-8 from the line on the night. Fontana's streak ends at 33 consecutive free throws over the course of seven games, crushing the previous HC women's record of 23 consecutive by Beth Godfrey during the 1992-1993 season. Around the League, 19 straight is a record for a single game and 34 straight is the record for a season.

Foul Play: With 6:14 left in Friday's game at Lafayette, and just two points away from her 1,000th career point, senior Lisa Andrews (Concord, Mass.) fouled out of the game. Andrews went into the contest 17 points away from the milestone, and had scored 15 before committing her fifth foul. Should Andrews score two or more points today, she will become the 21st player in HC women's basketball history to reach the 1,000 point plateau.

Top 10 For Fontana: Maggie Fontana broke into the Top 10 on Holy Cross' all-time rebounding list last weekend, and with her eight boards Friday night, she tied for the ninth spot with 714 rebounds. Fontana is now just a handful of caroms away from the six through eight slots (715-732) with four regular season games left. The 5-foot-11 G/F is averaging 5.2 boards per contest.

Strength In Numbers: As a team, the Crusaders rank first in eight of 19 team categories among the Patriot League statistics. HC is tops in scoring defense, scoring margin, free throw percent, field goal percent defense, three-point percent defense, assists, steals and turnover margin. The Crusaders are also ranked second in scoring offense, field goal percent and offensive rebounds, and are ranked third in blocked shots.

Tough 'D': Holy Cross is 11-0 when holding its opponents to 60 points or less this season. The Crusaders held American to 47 points on Sunday and held Navy to 57 points on Friday, marking the fourth and fifth times in the last six games that HC held its opponent to under 60 points. The Crusaders have held seven opponents to 50 points or less this season, including a three-game streak where the Purple and White held three consecutive opponents to 48 points. The Crusaders are also 13-2 when they force 20+ turnovers.

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 249-53 at the Hart Center, including an 8-3 mark at home so far this season. HC has posted a record of 46-15 (.754) at home over the course of the last four seasons.

Gibbons Gets No. 408: Holy Cross head coach Bill Gibbons continues to move up the history charts, having picked up his 408th career win on Friday after a 68-62 win over Lafayette. 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 10 game winning streak and are currently 15-8 (10-0 Patriot League) going into today's match-up with Lehigh. The Crusaders are 6-4 on the road this year (4-0 vs. PL teams) and have a 5-2 record when they play during the day. HC is also 4-2 when playing on Sundays this season and is 3-0 in February thus far. Lehigh is currently 16-7 overall and 8-2 in conference play, good for a second place standing in League play. The Mountain Hawks are coming off a 72-53 win over Army on Friday.

Last Time Out: The Crusaders defeated Lafayette, 68-62 Friday night at Kirby Fieldhouse. Maggie Fontana tied for game high honors with 18 points and eight rebounds. Lisa Andrews added 15 points and three rebounds and Brittany Keil chipped in 12 points and three rebounds. The Crusaders went into the half up 36-21 after using a 16-4 run early to go up 24-9 with less than 10 minutes to play in the first. The Leopards chipped away at the lead in the second, however, and cut the lead to just seven points with 9:36 remaining. After five straight points by Ashley McLaughlin on a three-point play and a strong bucket inside, the Crusaders went back up by 13 with 7:19 to go, and were able to hold on down the stretch. Sarah Placek finished with seven points, a game-high five assists and two steals, while McLaughlin chipped in six points on the night.

Next Time Out: The Crusaders return home for a 2:00 match-up with Colgate at the Hart Center on February 19. That game will be broadcast live on CSTV.

Scouting The Mountain Hawks: Lehigh comes into this afternoon's game on a two-game winning streak including Friday's 72-53 win over Army. The Mountain Hawks are currently 16-7 overall and occupy second place in the league standings with an 8-2 conference record. Lehigh is led by the League's top scorer (all games) and Preseason Co-Player of the Year pick Jessica DePalo (Rumson, N.J.). The 6-foot-1 senior F/C is averaging almost18 points per game and is pulling down 5.1 rebounds each outing. DePalo is also the team's leading shot blocker with 29 rejections on the season. DePalo's support staff consists of 2003-04 PL All-Rookie Team selection Sara Ellis (Bellefontaine, Ohio) who is putting up 15.3 ppg and has 78 assists on the season. The Mountain Hawks also feature 5-foot-9 senior guard Mary Hynoski (Elysburg, Pa.), who leads the team in rebounding with 7.5 rpg to go along with her 8.6 ppg. In addition, Chantal St. Laurent leads the team in assists with 86 set-ups.

Holy Cross in Patriot League Play: Holy Cross is currently 10-0 in conference play after a 68-62 win over Lafayette on Friday. Twentieth-year head coach Bill Gibbons has compiled a 163-29 (.848) record in Patriot League play, including HC's 10-0 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.

Getting To The Line: The Crusaders are tops among PL teams (all games and conference games) in team free throw percent, and boast a 10-2 record when they record more free throw attempts than their opponents. The Crusaders' 20 made free throws last Sunday vs. American tied a season high (Buffalo) for The Cross. As a team, HC also shot 87% (20-for-23) from the line against AU which was its second best perfomance (93.8%; 15-for-16 vs. Boston College) this season.

Sharpshooters: Sophomore Brittany Keil ranks first in the League shooting 44.1% (26 for 59) from behind the arc. Junior Jessica Conte ranks sixth at 35.3% (24 for 68), and junior guard Sarah Placek is ranked 12th (32.0%; 24 for 75).

From the Charity Stripe: Holy Cross ranked first from the foul line, shooting a League-best 76.6% (conference games only) and 74.7% (all games). Maggie Fontana has a team-best 82.1% rate at the line (69-for-84), while fellow senior Lisa Andrews is converting on better than 81%, having made 58-of-71 free throws. Brittany Keil is also shooting an impressive 81% when she gets to the line. Through 23 games, Crusader players have made good on 283 of 379 attempts.

Block Party: Lisa Andrews is currently ranked second in blocked shots in overall games among PL players. She is also tied for second in PL games in the same category. The 6-foot-4 center has turned away a team-leading 36 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 are 8-8 when their opponents win the battle of the boards. The Crusaders have been outrebounded in 16 of 23 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 1,464 points. She is currently tied for third in steals with 241, and she is tied for ninth in rebounds (714). 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 (398), 15th in rebounds (714), and 15th in points (1,464). 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 182 blocks, 12 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 Trouble: 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.

2004-2005 Weekly Honors: Maggie Fontana earned her first Player of the Week award on January 31 after putting up 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds against Lafayette and Lehigh. Lisa Andrews earned her second Patriot League Player of the Week honor on January 17 after she averaged 21.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg, and blocked three shots against Army and Colgate. 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. 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).

Patriot League Women's Basketball on CSTV: Next week's game (Feb. 19) 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 Secons 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 was a First Team All-Patriot League selection in volleyball this year, while Andrews and Fontana were both Second Team All-Patriot League picks in basketball last season.

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 408-180 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.

 Career Record: 408-180 
Patriot League Record: 163-29
Years: 20
Record at School: Same

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.

WTAG 580 AM will broadcast live on February 23 at Bucknell, and February 26 at Army.

All games broadcast by WTAG 580 AM except today's game at 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.

The Holy Cross Women's Basketball Show
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.