March 16, 2012
WBI Tournament First Round
Holy Cross 63, New Hampshire 59
WNIT First Round
Villanova 58, American 39;
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - For the first time since 1991, a Patriot League women's basketball team advanced in the postseason when Holy Cross posted a 63-59 victory Thursday night over New Hampshire in the first round of the WBI Tournament.
Alex Smith led Holy Cross with 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting and 4 of 8 on 3-pointers, while Emily Parker narrowly missed a double-double with 13 points and nine boards, and Amy Lepley pitched in 10 points. Bri Malone corralled a game-high 10 rebounds and contributed eight points for the Crusaders (19-14), who will host Manhattan in the second round of the WBI Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Hart Center.
Holy Cross overcame a 24-point effort from New Hampshire's Denise Beliveau.
The Crusaders were hot early, taking a 13-3 lead at the 13:24 mark and maintaining that advantage before going into halftime up 34-23. Holy Cross shot over 40 percent in the first half, with Parker collecting nine points in the first 20 minutes.
New Hampshire replied with a 10-2 run to open the second and took a 39-38 lead with 14:06 on the clock.
Holy Cross regained the lead, and Smith nailed a 3 to put Holy Cross ahead 50-44 just past the midway point of the second frame.
The Crusaders finished off the game going 6 of 6 at the charity stripe to hold the Wildcats at bay.
Holy Cross finished the game shooting 35.9 percent (23 of 64) from the field and just under 30 percent (5 of 17) on 3-pointers, with Smith responsible for all but one of the team's treys.
The Crusaders outrebounded New Hampshire 45-36, and owned a 14-9 advantage on the offensive glass.
In other action Thursday night, American fell 58-39 at Villanova in the first round of the WNIT. The Eagles finish their season at 23-8, matching a program record for victories first reached in 1997-98.
The Eagles shot 28 percent (14 of 50) from the field in the game and just 4 of 16 on 3-point attempts. Alexis Dobbs led American with eight points, wihle Jen Dumiak and Lisa Strack pitched in seven points and eight boards each.
American led 6-5 early, but Villanova's 7-0 spurt put it ahead 12-6 with 14 minutes remaining.
Sarah Kiely's layup with seven minutes remaining brought the Eagles within 20-19, but the Wildcats had another response, this one a half-closing 12-2 run to take a 32-21 advantage into the locker room.
The Eagles were unable to recover, as Villanova expanded the lead to 48-27 with 9:33 remaining in the game. American cut the deficit to 48-34 on Geleisa George's jumper with 6:07 to go, but Villanova followed with an 8-0 run to regain a 20-plus-point lead.