Crusaders Set To Face Army In Tournament Championship
March 6, 2006
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
GAME #30 vs. #1 ARMY
PATRIOT LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
#2 Holy Cross (16-13, 10-4 Patriot League)
#1 Army (19-10, 11-3 Patriot League)
Date: March 8, 2006
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Christl Arena (5,043)
Location: West Point, N.Y.
Television: CSTV (Digital Cable - channel 318; also available on DIRECTV channel 610/Dish Network 152)
Talent: Bob Socci, play-by-play; Leah Secondo, color
Radio: WTAG 580 AM
Talent: Bob Fouracre, play by play; Jeremy Lechan, color
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester
Series History: 36th meeting; Holy Cross leads 27-8
Last Meeting: Army, 63-57 (Feb. 7, 2006 - Worcester, Mass.)
Series Streak: Army - 2
PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS: Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG G 5 Laura Aloisi 5-9 So. 6.7 4.14 apg G 23 Jessica Conte 5-8 Sr. 8.1 4.4 G 33 Brittany Keil 6-2 Jr. 10.8 6.4 F 13 Ashley McLaughlin 6-1 So. 3.6 3.7 C 52 Kaitlin Foley 6-4 Jr. 14.8 6.0
Wednesday's game will be the 36th all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Army in the 31 year history of varsity basketball at Holy Cross, and the fourth Patriot League Tournament match-up between the two schools.
THE SERIES: Holy Cross is 27-8 all-time against Army, including a 3-0 mark when playing the Black Knights in the Patriot League Tournament. Holy Cross was swept by Army in the regular season after falling, 59-56, in West Point on Jan. 10, and 63-57, in Worcester on Feb. 7. Holy Cross and Army have met three times in the post season play, with the Crusaders holding a 3-0 series advantage in those games. Two of those three contests have come in Patriot League Championship games, with Holy Cross winning both titles (2003, 1991). The two teams have never played a tournament game in West Point. Holy Cross is 32-5 all-time in the Patriot League Tournament. Wednesday's game will be the program's 13th championship game appearance in 16 years, while Army will be making its third championship appearance.
THIS TIME OUT: Holy Cross is coming off a thrilling 64-60 win over third-seeded Bucknell on Saturday afternoon, while Army defeated fifth-seeded Colgate, 73-55, in the other semifinal game. Army has won two straight and eight of its last nine games. The Cadets are 13-3 at home this season and were 7-0 at Christl Arena in conference play this year. Holy Cross is on a three-game winning streak and is 6-1 in its last seven games. The Cross is 5-7 on the road this season, and finished conference play with a 4-3 mark away from home. Five of the Crusaders' 13 total losses have come against Top 25 (#2 Duke; #7 UConn; #25 Boston College) or Top 25-caliber (Virginia; Western Kentucky) teams.
LAST TIME OUT: Sophomore point guard Laura Aloisi poured in a career-high 21 points and three other Crusaders scored in double-figures to lead the Holy Cross women's basketball team to a 64-60 win over third-seeded Bucknell on Saturday afternoon in the Patriot League semifinals at the Hart Center. The second-seeded Crusaders improved to 16-13 overall and advance to the conference championship game, while the Bison finish their season at 18-11 overall. Aloisi had 17 of her game-high 21 points in the first half and finished the game 6-for-10 from the floor, while adding three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 40 minutes of action. She was 5-for-6 from the field and 5-for-5 from the line in the first half. Junior guard Brittany Keil scored 19 points - 11 of which came in the first half - and tied for game-high honors with nine rebounds. Junior center Kaitlin Foley added 12 points, eight rebounds, and a career-high four assists, while senior guard Shannon Bush chipped in with 10 points, four assists and three boards. Holy Cross started the game 4-for-6 (66.7 percent) from the floor and jumped out to a 10-3 lead to start the game. Bucknell regrouped after a timeout and went on a 10-0 run on the strength of seven straight points by Lauren Schober to take a 13-10 lead at the 14:25 mark. But Holy Cross responded with back-to-back treys by Aloisi and Keil to go ahead 16-13 with 13:12 on the clock. Six minutes later, the Crusaders found themselves down by four (25-21) after a Lindsey Hollobaugh three-pointer, but fought back to take a three-point lead of their own (31-28) following a Keil long ball at the 4:33 mark. The Crusaders were able to maintain the lead into the break and went into the locker room with a 39-34 lead at the half. Holy Cross shot 43.8 percent (14-for-32) from the field in the first and made 66.7 percent (6-for-9) of its three-point attempts. Bucknell shot 42.4 percent (14-for-33) in the first and only turned the ball over three times, while scoring 10 points off of eight Crusader mishaps. The Crusaders started the second half on fire, hitting four of their first five shots to extend their lead to 12 (48-36) after a Keil triple at the 17:18 mark. A Bush free throw gave Holy Cross a 13 point lead, until Bucknell responded with a 15-3 run to get within one (52-51) with 9:58 remaining. But the Crusaders kept their composure and never relinquished the lead, as they held the Bison to just nine points in the final ten minutes of the game, while making four free throws down the stretch to seal the win. The Crusaders finished the game 43.1 percent from the floor and held Bucknell to 37.3 shooting on the afternoon. Holy Cross also won the rebounding battle, 37-29, including a 12-8 advantage on the offensive glass. Bucknell was led by Hope Foster's 19 points and nine rebounds. Hollobaugh finished with 13 points and Kesha Champion and Schober added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
NEXT TIME OUT: The winner of tonight's game will earn an automatic bid to the 2006 NCAA Tournament, beginning at various sites on March 18. The Division I Women's Basketball selection show will be broadcast live on Monday, March 13, at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN.
THE CROSS ~ THE CHAMPIONSHIP: Holy Cross is 32-5 all-time in the Patriot League Tournament and has won 10 conference titles. The program is 10-2 all-time in Patriot League Championship games.
REVERSE THE CURSE: In the 15-year history of the Patriot League, there have been seven tournament title games between the No. 1 vs. No. 2 seeds. The No. 1 seed has won the title six of those seven years. Holy Cross is 3-2 in No. 1 vs. No. 2 title games and 0-1 in No. 1 vs. No. 2 title games as the No. 2 seed.
HOLY CROSS IN THE RPI: Holy Cross' (16-13) current RPI is 152 while its strength of schedule ranks 166, according to www.collegerpi.com. Holy Cross lost four games against teams out of the RPI Top 200 (Rhode Island, Maine, Lafayette, Colgate) and three games against teams out of the RPI Top 100 (UMass and Army twice). Five of the Crusaders' 13 total losses have come against Top 25 (#2 Duke; #7 UConn; #25 Boston College) or Top 25-caliber (Virginia; Western Kentucky) teams. Army (19-10) has an RPI os 132, with a strength of schedule ranking 243rd. The Black Knights have lost four games against teams out of the RPI Top 200 (Manhattan, Cornell, Lehigh, Colgate), and two games against teams out of the RPI Top 100 (Air Force, Bucknell). Three of Army's losses have come against Top 25 (#7 UConn; #10 Baylor) or Top-25 caliber (St. John's) teams.
PROGRAM PROPS: With last Thursday's victory over American, the Crusaders picked up program's its 300th win at the Hart Center. The milestone includes victories from the program's time at the Division I, II and III levels. Holy Cross is now 301-80 (.790) 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 14-1 mark (.933) during the 1999-00 season. Last year, the Crusaders went 12-3 at the Hart Center. Holy Cross has posted a record of 59-20 (.747) at home over the course of the last six seasons, including its 9-4 mark this season. The program is 262-57 (.821) at the Hart Center since beginning Division I play in 1982.
PLACEK JOINS HOLY CROSS ELITE: Five-foot-three senior guard Sarah Placek became the 22nd player in Holy Cross women's basketball history to score 1,000 career points, after she scored six points against Lehigh on Feb. 25. Placek came into the season with 810 career points and needed just six points to reach the milestone. She scored her 999th and 1,000th points at the free throw line with 3:36 remaining in the game. Placek's achievement marks 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 is also 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.
SOPHOMORE STANDOUT: Sophomore point guard Laura Aloisi has been on fire on both sides of the ball lately. The Crusader floor general turned in arguably her finest performance of the season after pouring in a career-high 21 points in leading Holy Cross to its 64-60 semifinal victory over Bucknell on Saturday. Aloisi had 17 of her game-high 21 points in the first half and finished the game 6-for-10 from the floor, while adding three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 40 minutes of action. She was 5-for-6 from the field and 5-for-5 from the line in the first half. Despite having her four-game double-digit scoring streak snapped recently at Colgate (Feb. 21), Aloisi recorded eight points, a game-high five assists, three rebounds and two steals, while playing a game-high 39 minutes against the Raiders. She tied a then-career-high in minutes played (39) against American in the quarterfinals last Thursday, while totaling nine points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal in helping lead the Crusaders to victory. Aloisi has scored eight or more points in seven of the last eight games (10 vs. Army; 14 vs. Bucknell; 11 vs. Navy; 13 at American; eight at Colgate; three vs. Lehigh; nine vs. American; 21 vs. Bucknell), averaging 11.1 points during that span. She has also averaged 4.12 assists and 3.25 rebounds in the last eight games. She is leading the team in assists (116 assists) and assists per game (4.14 assists per game) again this season. The second year playmaker now has 235 career assists, after her rookie campaign in which she led the team and finished second in the Patriot League with 119 helpers. Aloisi is ranked second in the Patriot League in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.57; 116 assists, 74 turnovers), and third in both steals (2.04 steals per game), and assists (4.14 assists per game).
LEAGUE LEADERS: A number of Crusaders are ranked in the Top 3 in various categories among Patriot League leaders this season. Junior center Kaitlin Foley is second in the league in both field goal percentage (52.9 percent) and blocks (1.10), senior guard Jessica Conte is second in steals (2.17 steals per game), and sophomore guard Laura Aloisi ranks second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.57 ratio) and third in both assists (4.14 assists per game) and steals (2.04 steals per game).
SENIOR DAY: Seniors Shannon Bush (Doylestown, Pa.), Jessica Conte (New Canaan, Conn.) and Sarah Placek (Alexandria, Va.) all played in their final regular season home game on Feb. 25 against Lehigh. Over the past four years at Holy Cross, Bush, Conte and Placek have been part of two Patriot League regular season title teams (2003; 2005), two Patriot League Tournament championship teams (2003; 2005), and have earned two trips to the NCAA Tournament (2003; 2005). They have compiled a record of 73-47 (.608) over the course of the past four years.
FOLEY, KEIL NAMED ALL-LEAGUE: Holy Cross junior center Kaitlin Foley (Albany, N.Y.) and junior guard/forward Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) were named to the 2006 Patriot League All-Conference Team as announced by conference officials last Tuesday. Foley earned her first career award with her selection to the All-Patriot League First Team, while Keil's selection to the Second Team was her second career award (2004 All-Rookie Team).
MOVIN' ON UP: Senior guard Sarah Placek has taken sole possession of the 10th spot on the all-time Holy Cross women's basketball assists list after passing Hall of Famer Lauren Maney `96 and Nicole DeQuattro `90 (both had 324 assists) in the Crusaders' Feb. 18 game at American. Placek now has 327 career assists. Mary Helen Walker `91 holds the ninth spot with 340 assists. Additionally, Placek is just one steal away from occupying the 11th spot in program history for steals. Going into tonights game, Placek has 179 career steals, while Karen Grutchfield `85 is currently 11th on the all-time list with 179 steals.
FORMIDABLE FOLEY: Junior center Kaitlin Foley has been a stalwart in the paint this season for the Crusaders. She has scored in double-figures in 12 straight games and in 26 of 29 overall this season. She has averaged 16.8 points and 5.0 rebounds over the last five games. Foley leads Holy Cross in points (430), points per game (14.8 points per game), blocks (32 blocks), field goal percentage (52.9 percent), minutes played (924 minutes) and minutes per game (31.9 minutes per game). She is second on the team in rebounding (6.0 rebounds per game), and is fourth on the team in steals (41 steals). The six-foot-four center, who only averaged 10.9 minutes and 3.1 points last season, has started all 29 games for the Crusaders this year. She ranks second in the Patriot League in both field goal percentage and blocks, fourth in scoring, fifth in free throw percentage (74.3 percent), ninth in rebounding and is tied for 13th in steals (1.41 steals per game). In Patriot League contests, Foley finished the season as the League's leading scorer with 15.9 points per game and was second in field goal percentage (.542).
SCOUTING THE BLACK KNIGHTS: Army is entering its third Patriot League Championship game in league history. The Black Knights, who fell to Holy Cross in their two previous championship tries (1991, 2003), come into tonight's game on a two-game winning streak after running the table in the first two rounds of the Patriot League Tournament, defeating their opponents (#8 Lafayette, 74-55 and #5 Colgate, 73-55) by an average of 18.5 points. The Cadets captured the 2006 regular season title after putting together an 11-3 record in conference play. The squad then swept the league awards, winning Player of the Year (Cara Enright), Rookie of the Year (Alex McGuire), and Coach of the Year (Maggie Dixon), marking the first time ever in league history a team has won three of the four major awards. Army has won seven of its last eight games and is 13-3 at Christl Arena this season, including a perfect 7-0 mark in Patriot League play. The Black Knights are led by sophomore forward and the 2005 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Cara Enright (Norco, Calif.), who is averaging 16.6 points per game. The five-foot-10 Enright is also pulling down 4.7 rebounds per outing and leads the team in three-pointers made (35 three's) and assists (64 assists) this season. Freshman guard Alex McGuire (Gambrills, Md.) is having a stellar rookie campaign and is second on the team in scoring with 10.8 points and is also hauling in 3.4 rebounds per game. Five-foot-11 sophomore forward Stephanie Stone (Hollywood, Md.) leads the team in rebounding with 5.4 boards per game and is third on the team in scoring with 9.4 points per game. Stone is also shooting an impressive 56.7 percent from the floor this season, which leads the Patriot League. Head Coach Maggie Dixon is in her first season at the helm of the Army program. She is a 1999 graduate of San Diego State and served as an assistant coach at DePaul University in Chicago for the past five seasons. Dixon is the seventh head coach in the history of Army women's basketball. She is also the sister of the University of Pittsburgh men's basketball coach, Jamie Dixon.
NUMBERS AGAINST ARMY: Holy Cross is 6-3 against the Black Knights in the last three years, and 2-3 against Army in the last five meetings, including its two losses to the Cadets this season.
HOLY CROSS VERSUS THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Holy Cross is 176-35 (.834) in Patriot League play since its inception and is 108-10 (.915) when playing league opponents on the Hart Center floor, including its 6-1 mark this year. Under Bill Gibbons, Holy Cross is also 176-35 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.
LAST TIME OUT VERSUS ARMY: (2/7/06) Junior center Kaitlin Foley poured in a career-high 27 points and pulled down 11 rebounds on her way to her third career double-double, but it was not enough as the Holy Cross women's basketball team dropped a 63-57 heartbreaker to Army at the Hart Center. The loss was Holy Cross' second straight and as it fell to 10-12 overall (6-3 Patriot League). The Black Knights improved to 13-9 (7-2 Patriot League), while taking sole possession of second place in the conference standings at the time. Foley had 13 points in the first half and finished the game 12-for-18 from the floor. She was also 3-for-4 from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Laura Aloisi played a standout game with 10 points, five steals, five rebounds, four assists and a block. The two teams went into the break deadlocked at 29-29 after Holy Cross turned a seven point deficit (17-10) into a six point lead (27-21) with 5:44 to go thanks to a 17-4 run in which Foley contributed six points and three different Crusaders (Aloisi, Shannon Bush, Brittany Keil) drained triples. The Black Knights, however, ended the half on an 8-2 run to go into the half at 29-all. In the second, Army led by as much as 12 (54-42) with just 5:44 remaining following a Megan Evans lay-in. But the Crusaders stormed back and went on a 15-4 tear, tying the game at 57-57 with 36 seconds on the clock after two Bush free throws. A Cara Enright jumper with 21 seconds left put Army up by two (59-57) and the Crusaders had a chance to tie, but lost possession of the ball with just 11 seconds to go. The Black Knights then made four free throws down the stretch to seal the win. Freshman guard Alex McGuire led Army with 15 points and Enright added 13. Enright also tied for team-honors with six rebounds. Holy Cross shot 32.3 percent for the game, while Army made 44.4 percent of its attempts. The Crusaders forced 23 Black Knight miscues for the game, while keeping their turnover total to less than 20 (18) for the fourth straight game.
HOT HANDS: Prior to last Thursday's 41.2 team field goal percentage against American in the quarterfinals, Holy Cross had converted on 50.0 percent or more of its field goal attempts in three straight games (vs. Lehigh, at Colgate and vs. American), marking the first time all season the team has done so. The Crusaders shot a season-best 60.9 percent (14-for-23) from the floor in the first half against Lehigh on Feb. 25, just two games after setting a new season high for field goal percentage in a game (53.6 percent) against American on Feb. 18. Holy Cross' previous high in a game this season was 52.3 percent against Memphis in the Wells Fargo Holiday Tournament at Arizona State on Dec. 3. The team's previous high in a half this season was 56.5 percent (13-for-23) against URI on December 7.
KEIL NAMED WINTER HOMECOMING GAME MVP: Junior swing player Brittany Keil was named the Holy Cross Club of Worcester Winter Homecoming Game Most Valuable Player following the Crusaders' Feb. 11 win over Bucknell. Keil scored a game-high 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds. The six-foot-two Keil was 7-for-12 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the free throw line, while collecting three assists and two steals in just 22 minutes of action after getting in foul trouble. Keil scored all 16 of her points in the first stanza, while propelling the Crusaders to a 32-15 halftime lead, outscoring the entire Bucknell squad on her own.
KEIL EARNS DISTRICT ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN HONORS: Junior guard/forward Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic District I University Division First Team, as announced by CoSIDA officials on Feb. 9. The six-foot-two Keil was a District I Second Team selection last season. A Biology major with a Biology/Chemistry concentration, Keil has been on the Dean's List every semester of her Holy Cross career, including two 4.0 terms. She earned a 3.94 grade-point average during the Fall 2005 semester, which tied for 11th best among Holy Cross student-athletes, and has a 3.96 cumulative grade point average. With her selection, Keil advances to the national ballot, where she will try to join former Holy Cross greats Amy O'Brien, Kathy Courtney, Ann Lambiotte and Sherry Levin as the program's fifth Academic All-American. Joining Keil on the University Division District I team were Ann Strother of Connecticut, Brooke Queenan of Boston College, Danielle Clark of New Hampshire, and Joy Gallagher of Wagner College. To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore and have a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or better.
FOLEY ENJOYS CAREER NIGHT: Junior center Kaitlin Foley poured in a career-high 27 points and tied a career-high with 11 rebounds to record her third career double-double against Army on Feb 7. Foley was 12-for-18 from the floor and 3-for-4 from the charity stripe. She also blocked two shots in her 33 minutes of action. Foley has set and passed career-highs in points six times this season (18 at Northeastern; 19 vs. Western Kentucky; 20 vs. URI; 21 vs. Colgate; 23 at Lehigh; 27 vs. Army). Her previous career-high was 12 at Army in 2004.
PRIZED POSSESSION: Holy Cross committed a season-low 10 turnovers at Lafayette on Feb. 4, and turned the ball over 18 times or less in five consecutive games (18 vs. Army; 10 at Lafayette; 13 at Navy; 11 at Lehigh; 18 vs. Colgate), marking just the second time all season the team recorded less than 20 miscues in five consecutive games. They committed 20 turnovers against Bucknell on Feb. 11 breaking the streak. The Cross started the season with five straight games under 20 mishaps (12 at Northeastern; 19 at UMass; 13 vs. Dartmouth; 12 vs. Saint Peter's; 16 at Boston College). Holy Cross ranks second in the Patriot League in assist-to-turnover ratio at an 0.84 clip (15.3 assists to 18.1 turnovers) and third in turnover margin at a +0.34 rate (18.1 turnovers to 18.5 opponent turnovers). The Crusaders are 10-5 this season when committing less than 20 turnovers and 6-8 when turning the ball over 20 or more times. In addition, Holy Cross is 10-2 when forcing 20 or more turnovers and 6-11 when forcing less than 20 turnovers.
FOLEY NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior center Kaitlin Foley earned her first career Patriot League Player of the Week award on Jan. 30 after leading Holy Cross to two wins in the week ending on Jan. 29. Foley poured in a game-high and a career-high 23 points on 9-of-11 (81.8 percent) shooting from the floor helping The Cross to a six point victory at Lehigh on Jan. 28, after coming off a game-high and a then-career high 21 points and a game-high eight rebounds in the Crusaders' 13 point win over Colgate on Jan. 24. Foley was 9-for-13 from the floor and 3-for-3 from the free throw line to lead the Crusaders. Foley was 18-for-24 (75.0 percent) from the floor and 8-for-9 from the charity stripe, averaging 22.0 points each game. Foley had a 10-point, eight-rebound effort at Bucknell on Jan. 14, after coming off her second career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds at Army on Jan. 10. 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.
KEIL STYLE: Junior guard Brittany Keil scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 36 minutes of action in helping lead Holy Cross to its thrilling four-point victory over Bucknell on Saturday in semifinal action. Keil had poured in a career-high 20 points after going 7-for-10 from the field and 5-for-5 from the free throw line in HC's win over American in the quarterfinal round last Thursday. Keil also grabbed a team-high eight boards and added three steals, after totaling 10 points, five assists, three rebounds and a game-high three blocks on last Saturday against Lehigh. Keil is averaging 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in this year's tournament. Keil leads the team in rebounding this season (6.4 rebounds per game) and is seventh in the league in that same category. In addition, she is second on the team in scoring (10.8 points per game) and is fifth in the league in blocked shots (0.75 blocks per game). Keil has a team-leading six double-doubles, which stands as second most in the conference this season.
MINI MILESTONES: Sophomore guard Laura Aloisi recorded her 100th assist of the season on Feb. 18 at American, marking the second consecutive season she has dished out 100 or more assists. As a freshman, Aloisi registered 119 assists on the year. Aloisi is currently ranked 20th on the all-time Holy Cross assists list (235 career assists). Senior guard Shannon Bush played in her 100th career game at Lehigh on Jan. 28, just one game after fellow senior Sarah Placek started in her 100th career game against Colgate on Jan. 24. Placek played in her 100th career game on Dec. 29 against Virginia and has started 100 out of the 107 career games she has played in. Meanwhile, senior Jessica Conte played in her 100th career game on Dec. 28 against Boston University. Conte and Bush have 21 and 15 career starts, respectively. Earlier in the season, Conte, Bush and junior Brittany Keil all hit the 500th career point mark. Conte passed the 500 point plateau with her 12 point outing at Northeastern in the first game of the season, while Bush passed the 500 point mark on Dec. 28 against BU, and Keil scored her 500th at UConn on Dec. 19.
BUSH LEADS HC CHARGE: Senior guard Shannon Bush scored 10 points, had four assists and grabbed three rebounds in the Crusaders' semifinal win on Saturday, after dishing out a career-high eight assists and totaling five points, four rebounds and four steals against American in the quarterfinal round two days earlier. Going into the Patriot League Tournament, Bush had averaged 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in her two prior outings. Bush is currently third on the team in scoring this season with a 10.3 points per game average, which is 15th-best in the league. She is also averaging 3.8 rebounds, 2.86 assists, and 1.5 steals. Bush tied teammate Kaitlin Foley for game-high honors with 18 points at Colgate on Feb. 21. She had 10 points in the first stanza and finished the game 6-for-12 from the field, including a 3-for-7 performance from long range. She also grabbed five rebounds and recorded two assists and two steals in 29 minutes of action. The five-foot-11 guard recorded a game-high and a career-high seven assists at American on Feb. 18, while grabbing seven rebounds. In HC's 15 point win over Bucknell on Feb. 11, Bush pulled down seven rebounds and recorded three steals, two assists and two points.
SENIOR LEADERSHIP: Jessica Conte narrowly missed scoring in double-figures for the fourth straight game with her nine-point outing last Thursday against American. Despite having her double-digit streak broken, however, Conte came up with a game-high six steals, to go along with six rebounds and two assists in HC's quarterfinal victory. Conte scored 11 points against Lehigh and was 6-for-9 from the floor and 3-for-4 from three-point range as she totaled 15 points at Colgate. She was coming off a tremendous all-around game at American with 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals in 27 minutes of action on Feb. 18. Conte leads the team in steals (63 steals), is tied for second on the team in three-pointers made (33 three's), third in rebounding (4.4 rebounds per game), and is fourth on the team in scoring with an 8.1 points per game average.
TOP BILLING: Before its 48-point loss to #2 Duke, 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 (84-36 loss to #2 Duke; 81-54 loss to #9 UConn). The Crusaders are 0-7 when playing the #1 or #2 ranked teams in the country. Four of those seven 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 Jan. 14 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.
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.
QUICK HITTERS: Laura Aloisi scored a career-high and a game-high 21 points against Bucknell in the Patriot League Semifinals ... Brittany Keil scored a career-high 20 points against American in the Patriot League quarterfinals ... Shannon Bush dished out a career-high eight assists against American in the Patriot League quarterfinals ... Sarah Placek moved into the Top 10 on the Holy Cross women's basketball career assists list with her two helpers at American on Feb. 18 ... Aloisi reached the 100 assist mark for the second consecutive season ... Jessica Conte ripped down a career-high nine rebounds against Navy ... Ashley McLaughlin scored a season-high 11 points against Navy ... Brittany Keil was named the Holy Cross Club of Worcester Winter Homecoming Game Most Valuable Player of the Holy Cross/Bucknell game ... Kaitlin Foley scored a career-high 27 points and recorded her third career double-double (11 rebounds) against Army (Feb. 7) ... Keil recorded her sixth career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds at Lafayette ... Kathy Gruzynski had a career-high two blocks against Colgate ... Keil recorded her fifth career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds against American ... Foley picked up a career-high six steals at Bucknell ... Foley recorded the second double-double of her career (14 points, 10 rebounds) at Army ... Placek tied a season-high with 14 points, grabbed a season-high six rebounds and had a season-high five assists against Lafayette ... Conte scored a career-high 20 points at Maine ... Bush was named to the 2005 Marriott Cavalier Classic All-Tournament Team ... Keil pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds against Memphis ... Jessica Pearson shot 1.000 percent from the floor against Memphis and scored a career-high nine points (3-for-3), including 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.
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 Marriott 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 on Dec. 29, 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). Since the UVa game, Foley has been held under 10 points on just two other occasions; her three point outing against #2 Duke on Jan. 16 and her eight point day against American on Jan. 21.
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 Bucknell to the lowest opponent halftime field goal percentage (18.8 percent) of the season on Feb. 11, as the Bison managed just six field goals (6-for-32) in the first twenty minutes.
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 29 games, Holy Cross is 10-2 when forcing 20+ miscues.
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.
HEALTHY PROPORTIONS: As a team, Holy Cross ranks second in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.84), averaging 15.3 assists per game and 18.1 turnovers per game. Guard Laura Aloisi ranks second in the Patriot League in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 1.57 ratio (116 assists to 74 turnovers).
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 43-for-54 from the line (79.6 percent), which is second on the team behind Shannon Bush (56-for-69; 81.2 percent).
GETTING TO THE LINE: Junior center Kaitlin Foley is the lone Holy Cross Crusader ranked as one of the Top 10 free throw shooters in the Patriot League. The six-foot-four Foley ranks fifth, making 74.3 percent of her attempts. As a team, Holy Cross ranks fourth in the conference in free throw percentage (68.1 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 conference in both three-point field goal percentage defense (29.0 percent) and steals (10.52 steals per game), are second in blocked shots (2.69 blocks per game), and are third in scoring defense (62.9 opp. points per game). Holy Cross held Memphis to 34.3 percent from the floor, Saint Peter's to 27.5 percent from the floor, Lafayette (Jan. 7) to 27.3 percent from the floor, and Bucknell (Feb. 11) to a season-low 23.1 percent from the floor.
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: Holy Cross has been outrebounded in 21 out of 29 games this season, and is in last place in the conference with a -5.9 rebounding margin this year. The Crusaders are 6-2 when outrebounding opponents and are below the .500 mark (10-11) when their opponents grab more caroms. Holy Cross has been outrebounded 1187-1015 overall this season, including a 421-322 disadvantage on the offensive glass.
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.