October 25, 2005

Holy Cross Women's Basketball Picked First In Preseason Poll

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Oct. 25, 2005

Center Valley, Pa. - The Holy Cross women's basketball team was picked to finish the season atop the Patriot League for the second straight year after a poll of coaches and sports information directors from around the league, which was announced by league officials today. Coaches and SIDs were not allowed to vote for their own team. In addition, junior guard/forward Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) was voted to the League preseason All-League Team.

The Crusaders received 94 total votes, including 11 first place nods. Lehigh finished with 76 votes and one first place tally, while Army was not far behind with 73 votes and three first place tallies. Bucknell earned 64 votes and one first place vote, while American (44), Navy (42), Colgate (39) and Lafayette (16) rounded out the voting.

Coming off a 20-win season and a Patriot League Championship, the Crusaders bring back both of their All-Rookie selections from a year ago, as well as some of the League's top performers. 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 has 11 Patriot League regular season title and 10 Patriot League Tournament title in the 15-year history of the League.

Head coach Bill Gibbons will look to Keil and senior guard Sarah Placek (Alexandria, Va.) for experience and leadership in the backcourt. Keil comes back as the team's top scorer and rebounder, while Placek owned respectable assist and steal averages. Keil contributed 9.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season, while leading the League in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting .420 from long range. Placek was tops for the Crusaders with 1.9 steals per outing and averaged 2.6 assists per contest.

Sophomore point guard Laura Aloisi (Nashua, N.H.) is the team's top returning playmaker, having led the team with 4.2 assists per game in her freshman campaign. Her 119 assists were second best in the League. Aloisi also proved herself on the defensive side of the ball, collecting 1.8 steals per game, as did senior guard Jessica Conte (New Canann, Conn.). Sophomore forward Ashley McLaughlin (Andover, Mass.), will also be returning to the Holy Cross line-up after a rookie season in which she averaged 4.0 points and 3.1 rebounds per game on her way to earning a spot on the Patriot League All-Rookie team.

Last season, the Crusaders posted a 12-2 record in conference play and earned a berth in its 11th NCAA Tournament after a 79-70 win over Colgate in the Patriot League Championship game. In addition, the Crusaders, who were just one of just three teams in the 64-team NCAA Tournament to post a 100.0 percent graduation rate of overall basketball student-athletes, won 20 games for the 16th time in head coach Gibbons' 20-year career.

The Crusaders start the season with road games at Northeastern (Nov. 18) and Massachusetts (Nov. 20), before their home opener against Dartmouth on Nov. 22 at 6:00 p.m.

Patriot League Preseason All-League Team
Cara Enright, Army
Lindsey Hollobaugh, Bucknell
Megan Ballard , Colgate
Brittany Keil, Holy Cross
Sara Ellis, Lehigh

Preseason Player of the Year
Sara Ellis, Lehigh