December 27, 2008

Women's Basketball Set To Play In Hawk Classic

Dec. 27, 2008

Complete Release in PDF Format

TOURMENT QUICK FACTS:
The Event: Hawk Classic Tournament
Date: December 28-29, 2008
Times: Holy Cross (1-9, 0-0 PL), Drexel (4-5, 0-0 CAA), St. Joseph's (5-6, 0-0 Atlantic 10), Maine (2-8, 0-0 America East)
Place: Gallagher Center, Philadelphia, Pa.
Holy Cross Radio: (Saturday): www.sportsjuice.com, internet; Holy Cross Radio (Sunday): WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; www.worcesterpike.com, internet; Dick Lutsk, play-by-play.
Series record with Drexel: First meeting.
Series record with St. Joseph's: First meeting.

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos.  No.  Name                      Ht.     Cl.   PPG   RPG
F      33   Whitney Fremeau      5-10  So.   7.9    5.1
F      10   Alyssa May               6-0    So.   5.6    4.7
C      30  Elizabeth Campbell    6-3    So.   3.3    1.9
G      14  Briana McFadden       5-10   Jr.   15.0   3.8
G      44  Bethany O'Dell          5-8    Jr.    11.6   3.5

HOLY CROSS VERSUS COLONIAL ATHLETIC CONFERENCE: Holy Cross has played against five of the 12 teams that currently play in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Crusaders have an 18-3 (.857) record in the all-time series against the conference. The most games played against a CAA opponent are against Northeastern, in which the Crusaders lead the series, 13-2 (.867). In addition to its competition against Drexel this weekend in the tournament, Holy Cross faced the Colonial Athletic Association's Northeastern on Dec. 22.

SCOUTING DREXEL: Drexel enters this weekend's tournament with an overall record of 4-5 on the year. The Dragons picked up their fourth win of the season defeating Richmond, 73-60, on Dec. 22. Junior forward Gabriela Marginean leads the team in scoring, rebounds, and steals, averaging 26.6 points, 8.0 boards and 2.0 steals per game. Freshman forward Kamile Nacickaite adds 8.7 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game. Jasmina Rosseel has a team-best 2.6 assists per game while adding 8.3 points per game. Drexel is led by Denise Dillon, who currently stands at 76-80 in her five seasons with the Dragons. A standout player at Villanova from 1993-1996, she began her coaching career at Villanova (1997-2001), followed by an assistant position at Drexel from 2001-2003 before taking over as the head coach.

HOLY CROSS AGAINST ATLANTIC-10 CONFERENCE: Holy Cross has played against 10 of the 14 teams that currently play in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Crusaders have a 52-26 (.667) record in the all-time series against the conference. The most games played against an Atlantic 10 opponents are against Fordham, in which the Crusaders currently lead the series, 27-6 (.818). In addition to St. Joseph's this weekend, the Crusaders faced the Atlantic 10 Conference's Rhode Island on Dec. 9, dropping a 66-47 decision.

SCOUTING ST. JOSEPH'S: This weekend's tournament host team, St. Joseph's, enters the Hawk Classic with an overall record of 5-6. Last time out, the Hawks dropped a 74-67 overtime decision to Seton Hall on Dec. 22. Junior forward Brittany Ford leads the team in scoring and steals, averaging 13.2 points and 1.5 steals per game. Junior guard Mariame Djouara follows with 12.7 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per game. Mary Kate McDade has a team-best 63 assists on the season, averaging 5.7 per game. Entering her eighth season as the head coach at St. Joseph's, Cindy Griffin currently has an overall record of 181-130 (.582). Griffin started her career as the head coach at Loyola College (1998-2001) in which she finished with an overall record of 48-33 (.593).

THE JESUIT BASKETBALL SPOTLIGHT: The matchup between Holy Cross and St. Joseph's is part of the nationwide Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project, using Jesuit basketball to raise awareness of Jesuit education. Both Holy Cross and St. Joseph's are Jesuit schools. The Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project highlights more than 90 games this season between men's and women's teams from the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities across the United States. Each of the 28 is dedicated to strong academics and teaching women and men to serve others and live a faith that does justice. The spotlight project includes awareness announcements during these designated games and during gamecasts on radio and television. Jesuit, Catholic colleges and universities in the United States have more than 200,000 students currently and more than 1.7 million living alumni. The Jesuit educational mission began in Europe approximately 500 years ago. For more information on Jesuit higher education in the United States, visit `www.ajcunet.edu'.

STRONG SCORING VERSUS MISSOURI: Holy Cross scored 94 points against Missouri on Nov. 29, marking the first time the Crusaders have scored more than 90 points in a game in the last three seasons. The last time Holy Cross put up at least 90 points was on Dec. 3, 2005, when it defeated Memphis, 91-66, at the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic held in Tempe, Ariz.

DUO REACHES CAREER LISTS FROM BEYOND THE ARC: Junior guard Bethany O'Dell (Lincoln, R.I.) is currently ranked second in Holy Cross history in three-point field goals made with 172, only seven behind Jeanette Paukert (1998-2002). She is also climbing up the Patriot League career leaders list, placing 10th on the list as the only active player on the list. She joins Paukert as the second Crusader to make this list. Junior guard Briana McFadden (Wheaton, Md.) is currently ranked seventh all-time at Holy Cross with 120 and is just two shy of tying Sarah Placek (2002-2006).

THE GO-TO GIRL: Briana McFadden has started out strong on offense this season, leading the Crusaders in scoring in five of 10 games while averaging 15.0 points per game. McFadden scored a career-high 31 points against Missouri on Nov. 29 during the Double Tree White Invitational. Her season has also been highlighted by scoring 24 points against Yale, 21 versus Boston College and 12 against St. Peter's. McFadden etched her named into the Holy Cross history books last season as she tied the single-game record for free throw percentage (1.000, 11-for-11) and consecutive free throws made (11). Starting in all 32 games, McFadden totaled 431 points, 124 rebounds, 50 assists, 30 steals and 12 blocks. Averaging 13.5 points per game, McFadden led the Crusaders in scoring in 14 games last season, including eight Patriot League games.

FREMEAU REMAINS STRONG IN STARTING ROLE: Sophomore forward/guard Whitney Fremeau (Manchester, N.H.) has made eight starts in Holy Cross' 10 games. Fremeau's has had plenty of success so far as she has had new career-highs in minutes played (34), points (15), field goal attempts (13), rebounds (11), field goals (seven), free throws attempts (three) and three-pointers (two). Fremeau also recorded her first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds against Rhode Island on Dec. 9. In addition to her 7.9 points per game, she leads the Crusaders in rebounds with 5.1 per game. She has led the Crusaders in rebounds in three games and in scoring in one game. Her best performance on the season was against Missouri in which she finished with 15 points in 30 minutes played. Against Connecticut, she totaled nine points, six rebounds and one assist. Fremeau made her first collegiate start on Nov. 15 versus Yale and put up nine points and eight rebounds while grabbing two steals, one assist and one block in 26 minutes played. Starting against Boston College, Fremeau finished with eight points, two rebounds and one steal. Appearing in 25 games last year, Fremeau totaled 42 points, 20 rebounds, 16 assists, 11 steals and two blocks.

O'DELL KEEPS CAREER RIGHT ON TRACK: Starting in eight games so far this year, Bethany O'Dell has led the Crusaders in scoring three times with a season-high 23 points against Western Illinois, 15 points versus St. Peter's and 13 against Northeastern on Dec. 22. Due to injury, O'Dell missed two games: Vermont (Dec. 6) and Rhode Island (Dec. 9). She currently has 93 points on the season, bringing her career total to 853 points. O'Dell is one of the many Crusaders that have hit new career-highs this season including field goals attempted (16), three-pointers attempted (14), and three-pointers (seven). Versus Boston College, O'Dell tallied 18 points, four rebounds and four assists. Opening the season against Yale, O'Dell finished with 10 points, four rebounds, one block and one steal. O'Dell stayed strong against Harvard, leading the team in rebounds with eight and finishing with six points, three assist and one steal in 38 minutes played. O'Dell is also coming off a stellar sophomore year, starting in all 32 games, and finishing with 364 points, 146 rebounds, 80 assists, 54 steals and four blocks. O'Dell had success from long range last year, as she ranked third in the Patriot League in three-point field goal percentage (.382) and three-point field goals made (1.97 per game).

TRIPS MAKES HISTORY: The Crusaders made history on Nov. 29 playing in the first triple overtime game ever in men or women's basketball at Holy Cross, beating Missouri 94-93 in the first game of the DoubleTree White Invitational. The longest game ever recorded at Holy Cross was on Jan. 9, 1964, when the men's basketball team defeated Boston University, 97-95, in four overtimes. The Crusaders have played past regulation in 25 games all-time with an overall 13-12 record (.520), including a 3-2 mark in double overtime.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: After opening the 2008-2009 season with a four-game home stand at the Hart Center, the Crusaders finish an eight-game road trip, at the Hawk Classic Tournament on Dec. 28-29, hosted by St. Joseph's in Philadelphia, Pa. The Crusaders return to the Hart Center in Worcester on Friday, Jan. 2, when they host Maine at 7:00 p.m.

MAY BACK FOR MORE: Sophomore forward/guard Alyssa May (Oradell, N.J.) has played in every game for the Crusaders, starting five times. May recorded a new career-high, pulling down nine rebounds against Rhode Island. Her season has been highlighted by her performance against St. Peter's in which she finished with 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 25 minutes played. May played a season-high 36 minutes and had eight points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists against Missouri. Against Connecticut, May finished with nine points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal. Versus Harvard, she had eight points, seven rebounds, five assists and one steal in 25 minutes played. To start this year, May had seven rebounds, five assists, three points and one steal in 28 minutes played against Yale. Last year, she appeared in 31 games and made 14 starts. May's freshmen season was highlighted by leading Holy Cross in scoring with 11 points and pulling down seven rebounds in the Patriot League championship game versus Bucknell.

ROOKIE NOTES: Freshman guard Meredith Ward (Westerly, R.I.) has made five starts and appeared in 10 games for the Crusaders, highlighted by her performance against Boston College, tallying seven points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 27 minutes played. Ward had a career-high five rebounds and matched her career-high in points scored (seven) against Vermont. She played a career-high 30 minutes and had two points, two assists and one rebound against Connecticut. She also had a career-high five assists against Northeastern on Dec. 22. Freshman center Marygrace Jay (Vienna, Va.) has appeared in six games so far this year, highlighted by new career-highs in points (seven), rebounds (three) and minutes played (11) in the game against Vermont.

LONG DECEMBER: Holy Cross has played 60 games in the month of December in the past 10 seasons, posting an overall record of 27-33 (.450). Holy Cross played the most December games (nine) during the 1998-1999 season and finished with a 6-3 record. That season also marked the winningest record for the Crusaders in December in the past 10 years (.667).

CRUSADERS PICKED FIRST IN PRESEASON POLL: The Holy Cross women's basketball team was picked to finish first in the 2008-2009 Patriot League preseason poll, voted upon by head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 90 total points and eight first-place votes, followed by Lehigh finishing second with 83 points and six first-place votes. American was ranked third with 75 points and two first-place votes. Coming in fourth was Army with 60 points, followed by Bucknell (53 points), Lafayette (38 points), Navy (35 points) and Colgate (14 points).

THAT'S MINE!!!: Holy Cross has forced 177 turnovers in 10 games, averaging 17.7 per game. In the Crusaders' season-opener against Yale, Holy Cross forced 24 turnovers, matching last year's season-high. Versus Northeastern on Dec. 22, the Crusaders caused 22 turnovers against the Huskies. Against Missouri on Nov. 29 and Boston College on Nov. 18, the Crusaders had 21 forced turnovers. The Crusaders caused 24 turnovers in a game three times during the 2007-2008 season: at Yale on Jan. 6, 2008, at Navy on Jan. 23, 2008 and against Colgate on Jan. 30, 2008. Overall last year, Holy Cross forced 16.9 turnovers per game.

MCFADDEN, O'DELL EARN ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Briana McFadden and Bethany O'Dell were named to the 2008 All-DoubleTree White Invitational Team. The Crusaders finished 1-1 in the DoubleTree White Invitational, hosted by Northwestern on Nov. 29-30. Holy Cross picked up its first win of the season in a dramatic 94-93 triple overtime win against Missouri on Saturday. On Sunday, the Crusaders were downed be Western Illinois, 64-55. TAKING ON # 1: The Crusaders have faced No. 1 ranked teams five times during the regular season, all being games against Connecticut, with a 0-5 overall record. The last time Holy Cross competed against a No. 1 ranked team was against the Huskies on Dec. 3, falling 96-37.

HOME SWEET HOME: The 2008-2009 season marks the first time Holy Cross has ever hosted its first four games of the season. Prior to this season, the Crusaders had three seasons in which they hosted the first three games: 1988-1989 (1-2), 2001-2002 (1-2) and 2004-2005 (2-1). Overall, the Holy Cross women's basketball team is 317-94 (.771) at the Hart Center.

MCFADDEN NAMED PATRIOT LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior guard Briana McFadden was named the Patriot League Player of the Week, for competition from Nov. 25-30. McFadden led the Crusaders to a triple overtime victory against Missouri scoring a career high 31 points on Nov. 29, in the Mildred & Roger L. White Invitational, hosted by Northwestern. In the third overtime period, McFadden scored all nine Holy Cross points including the game-winning basket with eight seconds remaining to give the Crusaders the 94-93 victory. In addition to her 31 points, she tallied three assists, three steals and two rebounds. On Sunday, Nov. 30, McFadden scored 20 points and had three rebounds, three assists and two steals in the 64-55 loss to Western Illinois. Earlier in the week, against St. Peter's, McFadden finished with 12 points, five assists and two rebounds.

MERRIHUE AND PEARSON NAMED CAPTAINS: Senior forward Jessica Merrihue (Holtsville, N.Y.) and senior guard Jessica Pearson (West Chester, Pa.) have been selected as the Crusaders' captains for the 2008-2009 season. Merrihue is three-year letterwinner for the Holy Cross while Pearson is a two-year letterwinner. Both players have taken over the leadership role from Laura Aloisi and Ashley McLaughlin who served as the Crusaders' captains as seniors during the 2007-2008 season.

CAMPBELL LOOKING FORWARD: Sophomore forward Elizabeth Campbell (Louisville, Ky.) has returned to the Crusaders' frontcourt for the 2008-2009 season, appearing in 10 games and making four starts. Campbell played a season-high 22 minutes and tallied a season-high nine points at Rhode Island. She also finished with 16 minutes played, six points and three rebounds against Yale. Campbell also played 10 minutes against Harvard, chipping in two points, two blocks, one rebound and one assist. Following an outstanding debut season, she was named to the 2007-2008 Patriot League All-Rookie Team. Appearing in 32 games, she made 11 starts, totaling 664 minutes played, 196 points, 135 rebounds, 36 blocks and 28 steals. Leading the Crusaders in blocks, Campbell ranked fifth in the Patriot League in that category. She also led the league in field goal percentage (.472). In league play, Campbell started in eight of the 13 games she appeared in, averaging 28.8 minutes played, 8.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.5 assists per game.

NEWS ON COACH GIBBONS: Bill Gibbons is now in his 24th season as head coach of the Holy Cross women's basketball team with a overall career record of 464-237 and a 192-52 mark in the Patriot League. Last season, Gibbons led his team to its fourth consecutive appearance and 15th overall appearance in the Patriot League Championship game. Gibbons has led the Crusaders to more victories than any other coach in Holy Cross history during his 23-tenure. Gibbons also ranks second all-time at Holy Cross in coaching victories for all sports, only behind former baseball coach Jack Berry (616 wins, 1921-1960). He has won 20 or more games in 10 of his last 14 seasons. Gibbons is also ranked 26th on the active NCAA Division I win leaders. He has also been named the Patriot League Coach of the Year six times in his career. In 2007, coach Gibbons was selected to be an assistant coach at the Pan-American Games, where he helped lead the team to the gold medal.

THE LEADER OF THE PACK: Holy Cross holds the record for the most Patriot League tournament titles won, winning 11 of the 18 league titles. During its 18 seasons in the Patriot League, Holy Cross has finished the regular season in first place 11 times. The Crusaders have also been greatly recognized for their efforts by the league, having eight players named the Patriot League Player of the Year. This list includes: Mary Helen Walker (90-91), Norinne Powers (91-92, 92-93), Laurie Carson (93-94), Lauren Maney (94-95, 95-96), Kathy Courtney (96-97), Amy O'Brien (97-98, 98-99), Anna Kinne (99-00) and Briana McFadden (07-08). Holy Cross has also had two players named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year: Maggie Fontana (01-02) and Bethany O'Dell (06-07).

MERRIHUE HITS NEW HEIGHTS: Senior co-captain Jessica Merrihue has appeared in 10 games this season, making four starts. Her season has been highlighted by her performance in her first collegiate start against Boston College on Nov. 18, in which she scored six points, blocked three shots and grabbed one rebound in nine minutes played. Merrihue has also added new career-highs in free throws (four), free throw attempts (five), blocks (three) and steals (three).

FRONT AND CENTER: Senior center Kathy Gruzynski (Elk Grove, Ill.) has come off the bench to appear in all nine games and start twice for Holy Cross. She played a season-high 21 minutes versus Boston College on Nov. 18 and tallied five points, five rebounds, three blocks and one assist in 14 minutes played versus Harvard on Nov. 20. Making 30 appearances and three starts last year, Gruzynski emerged in her role as the first Crusader off the bench. She set several career-highs with 408 minutes played, 134 points, 96 rebounds, 18 assists, 13 blocks and 10 steals. In her best performance of the 2007-2008 season, Gruzynski scored a career high 20 points and grabbed six rebounds against regular season league champion American.

PEARSON MAKES STARTING LINEUP: Senior co-captain Jessica Pearson has appeared in eight games so far this season and made her third collegiate start at Northeastern, finishing with a career-high four assists. During the Dec. 6 game at Vermont, Pearson set new career highs with 11 points scored and 25 minutes played.

LAST TIME OUT: Northeastern's sophomore guard Jasmine Crew totaled 18 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals to lead the Huskies to a 66-47 victory over the Holy Cross women's basketball team at Solomon Court on Dec. 22. Junior forward Kim Carr recorded a double-double for Northeastern, scoring 11 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Northeastern went on a quick 16-5 run in the opening five minutes as Crew scored nine points. Holy Cross retaliated with a 9-0 run to get within three of the Huskies (16-13) as junior guard Briana McFadden hit two shots from three-point range. The Huskies held onto the lead for the rest of the half, closing out the first half ahead of the Crusaders by 13 points, 39-26. Holy Cross got within 11 points of the Huskies (44-33) in the first five minutes of the second half, following a shot from long range by Bethany O'Dell. With 1:20 left in the game, Northeastern grabbed its largest lead of the game, 66-44, as Dani Iervollino hit a shot from beyond the arc. Northeastern finished ahead of the Crusaders 19, 66-47. O'Dell led the team in scoring with 13 points while grabbing three rebounds and three steals. McFadden finished with eight points, six rebounds and two steals while Jessica Merrihue had six points, three rebounds, two steals and one block.

WELCOME BACK TO WORCESTER: Ann McInerney is in her first season as an assistant coach on the Holy Cross staff.

NEXT UP FOR THE `SADERS: Holy Cross returns to the Hart Center for its first game of 2009, hosting Maine on Friday, Jan. 2 at 7:00 p.m.