November 11, 2006

Crusaders Prepare for St. Peter's on Sunday

Nov. 11, 2006

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (1-0, 0-0 PL) vs. St. Peter's (1-0, 0-0 MAAC )
Date: November 12, 2006
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Place: Yanitelli Center (3,200), Jersey City, N.J.
Broadcast Information:
Internet: www.sportsjuice.com
Talent: Jeremy Lechan, play-by-play
Series History: St. Peter's leads 11-9
Last Meeting: Holy Cross, 65-56, Nov. 28 at the Hart Center
Series Streak: Holy Cross- 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.
Tonight's game is the 21st all-time meeting between Holy Cross and Saint Peter's in the 32 seasons of varsity basketball at Holy Cross.

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.

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.

LAST YEAR: 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; assists, steals and 3-point field goal percentage defense.

THIS TIME OUT: Holy Cross and Saint Peter's will meet for the 21st time in the 32-year history of women's basketball. St. Peter's leads the series 11-9. Holy Cross won 65-56 when they met last year on Nov. 28. Center Kaitlin Foley (Albany, N.Y.) tied for game-high honors with 17 points to lead Holy Cross. Guard Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) had a 10-point, seven-rebound night.

LAST TIME OUT: Holy Cross won its 18th opener since joining Division I (21-12 overall in season openers). The Crusaders topped Yale 68-56 Friday night in their season opener at the Hart Center. 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.

NEXT TIME OUT: Holy Cross travels to Hamden, Conn. to take on Quinnipiac Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. The Crusaders have not played the Bobcats since the 1981-82 season.

PATRIOT LEAGUE PRESEASON POLL: The Crusaders tied with Bucknell for second in the Patriot League Preseason Poll after finishing the 2005-06 season second in the conference at 10-4.

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.

2006-07 CAPTAINS: The 2006-07 Holy Cross women's basketball squad will be led by senior tri-captains Ashley Brennan-McBride (London, Ontario), Kaitlin Foley (Albany, N.Y.) and Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.).

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.

SCOUTING THE PEAHENS: Coming off a fifth place finish in the MAAC and a 13-15 overall record, the Peahens have renewed the squad and are on the quest for their 10th MAAC Championship. After losing six seniors to graduation last year, the Peahens lost about 70 percent of their offense from the 2005-06 season. This year's Peahen squad is a lot younger than last year's with a group of seven incoming freshmen.

Captains Johnell Burts and Jacqui Precious will play a big role in helping the seven freshmen adjust to Division I college ball. Junior Burts will play point guard while senior Precious will see time playing the two-guard spot.

The Peahens come into this year with a lot of size and depth in the frontcourt with, returning starter, Elyse Siciliano who will have plenty of help keeping opponents out of the paint with the return of Elina Kalnina along with the presence of Petagay Douse, Marcenia Bellamy and Lauma Reke.

HOLY CROSS VERSUS THE MAAC: Saint Peter's is the only team from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference that Holy Cross plays this season. The Crusaders have an all-time record of 80-34 when playing MAAC teams.

ON THE LIST: 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.

2005-2006 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.).

NCAA TALK: At the end of the 2005-06 season center Kaitlin Foley (Albany, N.Y.) was ranked 39th nationallly with a 52.8 field goal percentage. Holy Cross tied 47th with 15.5 assists and ranked 50th with 10.4 steals.

ROOKIE APPEARANCES: Freshmen Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) and Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) made their rookie debut starting their first collegiate game and scoring seven and 11 points respectively against Yale Nov. 10. Freshman Tayana Carper (Shrewsbury, Mass.) also made her first collegiate appearance as a Crusader recording 12 minutes and scoring her first two points.

WATCHING FROM THE SIDELINE: Senior tri-captain Brittany Keil (Sparta, N.J.) had to watch her first game of the season from the bench after surgery in the offseason. She remains in question as to when she will play.

STEALING THE SHOW: Junior guard Laura Alosis (Nashua, NH) came one field goal short of breaking her career record 21 points as she led the team with 20 points in the season opener Nov. 10. She went eight for 12 from the field, had four rebounds and three steals. Senior center Kaitlin Foley (Albany, N.Y.) led the team with six rebounds and had 13 points.

GETTING THE TIME: Sophomore forward Kathy Gruzynski (Elk Grove, Ill.) played a career-high 22 minutes in the season opener and put up nine points, six rebounds and one steal for the Crusaders.

ON THE ROAD: The Crusaders will stay on the road for their next five games. Holy Cross will be back at the Hart Center Friday, December 1 to face Boston College at 7:00 p.m.