Crusaders Prepare For Bulldogs on Friday
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (0-0, 0-0 PL) vs. Yale (0-0, 0-0 Ivy League)
Date: November 10, 2006
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
Talent: Jeremy Lechan, play-by-play
Series History: Holy Cross leads 4-3
Last Meeting: Yale, 64-51 (1993-94 Season at UConn Tournament)
Series Streak: Yale - 1
PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS: Pos. No. Name Ht. Cl. G 5 Laura Aloisi 5-9 Jr. G 14 Briana McFadden 5-10 Fr. G 44 Bethany O'Dell 5-9 Fr. G 13 Ashley McLaughlin 6-1 Jr. C 52 Kaitlin Foley 6-4 Sr.
Friday night's game is the eighth all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Yale in the 32 seasons of varsity basketball at Holy Cross.
THE SERIES: Holy Cross has a 4-3 series advantage over Yale, and is undefeated (2-0) when playing the Bulldogs at the Hart Center. The Bulldogs won 64-51 at the last meeting in the 1993-94 Connecticut Tournament. Holy Cross won the previous four games, two of which were at the Hart Center and two in New Haven, Conn. The Crusaders out-scored the Bulldogs by a 76-point margin in those four wins. The biggest difference was 26 points in the 1984-85 season when Holy Cross topped Yale, 76-57.
SEASON OPENERS: Holy Cross is 17-7 in season openers since joining Division I (20-12 overall in season openers). Tonight is the first time that Holy Cross faces Yale in its first game of the season. The last time Holy Cross lost a season-opening game was during the 2003-04 campaign when St. John's took an 87-76 decision at the Hart Center. Last year the Crusaders won their season opener at Northeastern, 76-60.
HOLY CROSS SEASON PREVIEW: The Holy Cross women's basketball team heads into the 2006-07 season looking to reaffirm its position as one of the top teams in the Patriot League. The Crusaders enter the season with a bad taste in their mouths, as the memory of their heartbreaking 69-68 loss to Army in the 2006 Patriot League Championship game remains fresh in their minds. And while some teams might be content as conference runners-up, Holy Cross is not one of them.
"The championship game at West Point was one of the best I have been a part of in my 25 years at Holy Cross," said head coach Bill Gibbons. "We played so well in that hostile environment. We played with confidence and we played to win. It was a heartbreaker to lose, but that game made us grow and mature as a team, and gives us extra special motivation to get that trophy back."
Despite losing almost 40 percent of its offense due to graduation, Holy Cross returns its top two scorers and rebounders, and six of the nine players who saw action in the regular rotation. With eight letterwinners and four starters returning from last year's squad, the Holy Cross women's basketball team is full of talent, experience and promise as it looks to capture its 11th Patriot League Championship and make its 10th postseason appearance in the last 13 years.
The 2005-06 Crusaders posted an overall record of 16-14, including a 10-4 showing in Patriot League play, marking the 14th time the program has won 10 or more games in conference play while a member of the Patriot League. Holy Cross finished the season ranked first in the league in three different team categories, including assists (15.47 assists per game), steals (10.43 steals per game), and three-point field goal percent defense (29.1 percent), and was ranked in the top 50 nationally in personal fouls per game (19th), assists (47th) and steals (50th), showing its strengths on both sides of the ball.
Holy Cross was also ranked second in the Patriot League in blocked shots (2.67 blocks per game), assist-to-turnover ratio (15.5 assists to 18.1 turnovers) and three point field goals made (5.63), a category it also ranked 79th nationally. Additionally, the Crusaders ranked third in the conference in scoring defense (63.1 opponent points per game), field goal percentage (40.0 percent) and turnover margin (+0.33).
THIS TIME OUT: Holy Cross and Yale will meet for the eighth time in the 32-year history of women's basketball. Holy Cross leads the series 4-3 with the last meeting in the 1993-94 season.
LAST TIME OUT: Freshman guard Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) led Holy Cross with 13 points in a 77-59 victory over Bishop's University in the Crusaders' lone exhibition game of the season on Sunday, Nov. 5. Freshman guard Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) was right behind McFadden with 11 points. Junior forward Ashley McLaughlin (Andover, Mass.) added 10 points while junior guard Laura Aloisi (Nashua, N.H.) had 12 assists and seven steals.
NEXT TIME OUT: The Crusaders travel to Jersey City, N.J., for a 2:00 p.m. game with St. Peter's on Sunday, Nov. 12. Last year Holy Cross defeated St. Peter's 65-56 at the Hart Center on Nov. 28. The Peacocks lead the all-time series 11-9.
HOLY CROSS IN SEASON OPENERS: Holy Cross is 17-7 in season openers since joining Division I (20-12 overall in season openers). The last time Holy Cross lost a season-opening game was during the 2003-04 campaign when St. John's took an 87-76 decision at the Hart Center.
KEIL AND FOLEY NAMED PRESEASON ALL-LEAGUE: Senior guard Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) and senior center Kaitlin Foley (Albany, N.Y.) were named to the Patriot League Preseason All-League team. Keil finished her junior season with an average 11.0 points per game and led the team in rebounds (6.2 rpg). Foley returns as the team's top scorer (14.9 ppg) and added 6.1 rebounds per game.
WELCOME TO WORCESTER: Lindsay Shade is entering her first season as an assistant coach on the Holy Cross staff after spending the past two seasons as a graduate assistant at the University of Pittsburgh. Shade was a four-year letterwinner on the women's basketball team at Davidson College in North Carolina where she graduated in 2004. She led the Southern Conference in assist-to-turnover ratio as a junior and finished the season ranked second in the conference in the same category as a senior.
Last season, the six-foot-four Foley was the only player on the team to start all 30 games for the Crusaders. Foley was a first team All-Patriot League selection after finishing the season ranked second in the Patriot League in field goal percent (52.8 percent), blocks (1.10 blocks per game) and offensive rebounds, fourth in scoring (14.9 points per game) and ninth in rebounding (6.1 rebounds per game). In addition, Foley ranked 39th nationally in field-goal percentage (52.8 percent), and posted four double-doubles on the season, which tied for the fourth most in the Patriot League.
A second team All-Patriot League selection last season, the six-foot-two Keil also returns as one of the team's top players. Keil led the team and ranked seventh in the Patriot League with 6.2 rebounds per game, while averaging 11.0 points per game, which tied for 11th best in the conference. The versatile New Jersey native also finished the season ranked fifth in the Patriot League in blocked shots (0.76 blocks per game) and shot 35.0 percent from three-point range, which was good for seventh in the league, solidifying herself as a scoring and rebounding threat whether at the guard or forward position.
Keil's numbers are equally impressive off the court, as the Biology major / Bio-Chemistry minor, was named as the 2006 Patriot League Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year after posting a 3.96 cumulative grade point average. Keil became the sixth Holy Cross women's basketball player in program history to win the scholar-athlete award, and the second in as many years, as Lisa Andrews ('05) won the award in 2005.
Keil and Foley come into the season 263 and 364 points away, respectively, from being the program's 23rd and 24th 1,000-point scorers. Should Keil or Foley reach the 1,000-point plateau, it would mark the fourth consecutive season a Holy Cross women's basketball player joined the 1,000-point club (Sarah Placek in 2005-06, Lisa Andrews in 2004-05, Maggie Fontana in 2003-04). The duo would also be the seventh and eighth Holy Cross players in the last five years (Placek, Andrews and Fontana; and Katie O'Keefe, Jeanette Paukert and Amanda Abraham in 2001-02) to score 1,000 career points.
Brennan-McBride will continue to pose a threat inside with her six-foot-five frame and deceptive speed. The London, Ontario, native, who only started playing competitive basketball in the fall of 2000, will once again look to contribute inside this season. Brennan-McBride saw action in 12 games a year ago and shot 44.4 percent from the floor in limited action.
"These senior captains just exude a special chemistry and a focused and determined agenda to lead this team back to the top of the league and back to the NCAA Tournament," said Gibbons. "Brittany, Ashley and Kaitlin have grown and matured as players and as young ladies and I really feel that they are ready to end their careers on the hill with a super senior season."
NEWCOMERS: Holy Cross welcomes four newcomers this season, including local product Tayana Carper of Shrewsbury, Mass., Christy Cushnie of Vienna, Va., Briana McFadden of Wheaton, Md., and Bethany O'Dell of Lincoln, R.I.
Cushnie, McFadden and O'Dell will look to work into the backcourt rotation, while the six-foot Carper will fight for playing time in the paint.
"I really like this freshman class," said Gibbons. "I like their energy, I like their desire to contribute, and I like their spunk to fight that they are ready to bring to the court everyday."
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: After a 3-24 season Yale expects to show a quick turnaround to improve in 2006-07 with 11 returning veterans from last year's squad and five newcomers to accompany head coach Chris Gobrecht's proven track record.
The Bulldogs return four starters including junior point guard Stephanie Marciano with two years of starting experience under her belt and sophomore guard Jamie Van Horne who is one of the most dangerous three-point threats in the Ivy League.
Senior captain Chinenye Okafor led the Bulldogs in the frontcourt scoring 10.0 points per game and earned an honorable mention All-Ivy selection last season.
Junior post player Sara McCollum returns after being the only player to start all 27 games last year and is Yale's top rebounder, averaging 6.7 boards per contest last season. Senior center Erica Davis finished second on the team in scoring (9.1 ppg) and third in rebounding (5.2). She enters her senior season just 175 points away from becoming the 15th player in Yale history with 1,000 for her career.
HOLY CROSS VERSUS THE IVY LEAGUE: Yale and Dartmouth are the only Ivy League teams Holy Cross is scheduled to face this season, but the Crusaders could potentially meet up with Harvard in the second round of the TD Banknorth Classic on Nov. 18.
The last time Holy Cross played a team from the Ivy League was last season when it lost to Dartmouth, 63-74 on Nov. 22.
Holy Cross has an all-time record of 12-8 against Ivy League competition. HC is 5-2 against Ivy League teams under Bill Gibbons. Gibbons has never faced Columbia, Cornell, Penn or Princeton in his 22 year career. As a program, Holy Cross has never faced Columbia, Cornell, Penn or Princeton.
SIXTEEN 20-WIN SEASONS: The Holy Cross women's basketball program has totaled 18 twenty-win seasons in its 32 years of existence, and has amassed 16 twenty-win seasons while a NCAA Divsion I member. The past 16 twenty-win seasons have also come under the direction of head coach Bill Gibbons. Gibbons has led the Crusaders to more victories than any other coach in Holy Cross history during his 21-year tenure. He has won 20 or more games in 10 of the last 12 seasons and in 16 seasons overall.
400-CLUB: Bill Gibbons currently ranks 37th on the list of winningest active Division I coaches (by percent), according to the 2006 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.
HEAD COACH Bill Gibbons: Bill Gibbons is now in his 22nd season at the helm 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 10 Patriot League Championships in the last 16 years. He has also made 11 postseason appearances (10 NCAA Tournaments and one WNIT) in his 21 years as head coach. With sixteen 20-win seasons under his belt, Gibbons has cemented himself and the women's basketball program as one of the best in the East.
The sixth coach of the women's program at Holy Cross, Gibbons has enjoyed the longest tenure in this position. He has led the Holy Cross women's basketball program to more victories than any other coach, and is the winningest coach in Holy Cross basketball history. With his 358th victory, he surpassed George Blaney (357 wins as head coach of the Holy Cross men's basketball program), who had hired him to be his assistant coach in 1981. Now with more than 400 wins under his belt, Gibbons is the second-winningest coach in Holy Cross Athletics history, behind legendary baseball coach Jack Barry, who totaled 616 wins from 1921-1960.
In 2006, Gibbons was named as a Russell Athletic/WBCA Victory Club Award recipient. The Russell Athletic/WBCA Victory Club Award is presented to each WBCA member head coach who achieves career wins of 200, 300, 400, 500 or more, in 100 victory increments. Gibbons made his way onto the prestigious list with a 70-53 win over Army on January 12, 2005. Entering the 2006-2007 season, Gibbons ranks 37th on the list of winningest active Division I coaches (by percent) and 36th by number of wins.
In 2003, he was inducted into the New England College Basketball Hall of Fame at the University of Rhode Island.
The six-time Patriot League Coach of the Year has maintained the winning tradition which he inherited 21 years ago. The undaunted leader has produced teams that have tangled competitively with some of the nation's best. In recent years, Gibbons' squads have been tested by Connecticut, Louisiana Tech, Rutgers, Duke, DePaul, Arizona, Auburn, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Penn State, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Tulane, Virginia and Wisconsin. He has included Top 25 teams in the Crusaders' competitive schedule each year and has subsequently built the program's reputation nationally. Attracting outstanding student-athletes throughout the country, Gibbons and his staff have vastly improved the College's recruiting efforts during his tenure.
As the women's collegiate game has changed throughout the country in recent years, so has women's hoops on Mount St. James. Now one of the premiere teams on campus, the Crusader basketball team has drawn record crowds at the Hart Center, including the 4,000 fans who attended the contest against the Connecticut Huskies in January 2000, the first sellout at the Hart Center for women's basketball. The Crusaders also drew more than 3,000 fans to the Hart Center when they competed against National runner-up, Duke, last January.
2004-2005 HONORS: Two players from the Holy Cross women's basketball team were named to the 2006 Patriot League All-Conference Team at the end of last season. Current senior Kaitlin Foley (Albany, N.Y.) earned first team All-League and senior Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) was selected to the second team.
The women's basketball team was acknowledged by The New England Basketball Hall of Fame in September as they announced a new award that recognizes New England college basketball programs, which encourage classroom achievement, athletic success, and post-graduate career success.
Further, five players on the team were named to the 2006 Patriot League Academic Honor Roll last season. Since-graduated Sarah Placek (Alexandria, Va.) and Shannon Bush (Doylestown, Pa.) as well as current seniors guard Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) and center Kaitlin Foley (Albany, N.Y.), and sophomore forward Jessica Merrihue (Holtsville, N.Y.).
HOME IS WHERE THE HART IS:Holy Cross has an all-time record of 300-80 at the Hart Center. It hosted its largest crowd was on January 20, 2000, with more than 4,000 fans with standing room only. It was the first sellout for women's basketball in school history.
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.
Last year, the Crusaders posted their 300th win at the Hart Center when they defeated Bucknell, 64-60 in the Patriot League Tournament. Holy Cross went 9-4 at home and 7-0 when playing Patriot League opponents on the Hart Center floor last year.
WHERE TO FIND HOLY CROSS BASKETBALL
ON TELEVISION: The women's squad will be featured on ESPNU when they play at Bucknell on February 9 in a 4:30 p.m. contest. Holy Cross will also be shown on WCTR when it faces Boston College on December 1 (7:00 p.m.) and Army on January 10 (7:00 p.m.). WCTR-TV3 is available in more than 43 communities in Central Massachusetts and reaches more than 175,000 homes in the area.
ON THE RADIO: Tonight's game will be broadcasted on WCUW 91.3 FM. Jeremy Lechan will call the play-by-play action. 25 games will be broadcast through WCUW 91.3 or WTAG 580 AM.
ON THE INTERNET:Tonight's game can be heard on www.sportsjuice.com. Jeremy Lechan will call all of the play-by-play action. In addition, each game will 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 8:30 p.m. and Friday nights at 10:30 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 2006-2007 Patriot League Championship and a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
INFORMATION AND CREDENTIALS: Media personnel wishing to cover Holy Cross home games should contact Megan Cross in the Holy Cross Athletic Media Relations Office at 508-792-2780 or via email at email@example.com at least one week in advance. Working press and photo passes will be left at the will-call window located near the main entrance of the Hart Recreation Center.
INTERVIEWS: Interviews with head coach Bill Gibbons, his staff and Holy Cross players can be set up by contacting Megan Cross in the Holy Cross Athletic Media Relations Office at (508) 793-2780 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Arrangements for interviews should be made at least 24 hours in advance. Coach Gibbons is generally available each weekday morning during the season, as well as before and after practices. Player interviews will be arranged subject to the individual student-athlete's academic responsibilities.
PRESS SERVICES: Game notes and programs are available in the press room one hour before each game. Halftime and final statistics and a running play-by-play will be available about 15 minutes following the game.
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 Megan Cross, 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.
RADIO AND TRANSMITTING: Holy Cross has installed phone lines which can be rented by a visiting radio station. The cost for rental is $75.00 for commercial stations and $50.00 for student stations.
HOLY CROSS ON THE INTERNET: For the most updated information on the Crusaders, check out the Holy Cross website. The site contains statistics for every Crusader basketball game, as well as cumulative stats, rosters, schedules, weekly notes and photo archives. Log on to www.goholycross.com.