Feb. 29, 2012
2012 Patriot League Tournament Central
Army vs. Holy Cross Tournament Notes
WEST POINT, N.Y. - The fourth-seeded Army women's basketball team begins its quest for the 2012 Patriot League Tournament when the Black Knights host No. 5 Holy Cross on Thursday night at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now.
Date - Thursday, March 1
Tip Off - 7 p.m.
Location - West Point, N.Y.
T.V. - None
Radio - 1390-AM, 1340-AM
Web - ITT Exelis Knight Vision
(audio and video)
GameTracker - goARMYsports.com
Twitter Updates - @ArmyAthletics
Series - Holy Cross leads 31-19
1/25/12 - Worcester, Mass.
Holy Cross 62, Army 59
2/22/12 - West Point, N.Y.
Army 65, Holy Cross 62
SETTING THE TOURNAMENT STAGE
After finishing in a tie with Navy for third in the final regular-season standings, Army will play in the No. 4/5 Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal game for the fifth year in a row. The fourth-seeded Black Knights will host No. 5 Holy Cross on Thursday, March 1, at Christl Arena. The teams split the regular-season series in two games decided by a combined six points. There will have been eight days between the last meeting on Feb. 22 (Army, W, 65-62) at West Point, N.Y., and Thursday's tournament tilt. American became the first team in Patriot League history to produce a perfect 14-0 record on its way to the regular-season title. No. 2 Lehigh and No. 3 Navy will also host quarterfinal match-ups.
With the loss of four starters and three-year All-Patriot League star Erin Anthony to graduation, it was no surprise the Patriot League's head coaches and sports information directors voted Army to finish seventh in the 2011-12 preseason poll. With 26 points, the Black Knights were listed just three points above eighth-place Colgate. Three months later, Army was one of four teams to secure home court advantage for the 2012 Patriot League Tournament. The Black Knights finished the regular season in a tie with rival Navy for third in the Patriot League standings. The Mids clinched the No. 3 seed with a sweep of Army during the regular season.
ARMY IN THE PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
• Army captured its only Patriot League title in 2005-06 under the direction of late head coach Maggie Dixon, who passed away suddenly less than a month after being carried off the Christl Arena court following a 69-68 win over Holy Cross in the title game on March 8, 2006. Current head coach Dave Magarity served as Dixon's associate head coach that season.
• The Black Knights have met Holy Cross in the Patriot League Tournament six times and are 2-4 against the Crusaders in tourney games. Army has also met Lehigh six times and no other team in the league as often.
• In 21 seasons of Patriot League playoffs, Army has authored a 9-12 record in first-round games.
LAST TIME OUT: LEHIGH 56, ARMY 47
Saturday, Feb. 26, 2012 - Stabler Arena
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - In a physical battle for the second seed in the 2012 Patriot League Tournament, Lehigh captured it by scoring 20 of the final 31 points, while a 56-47 setback dropped the Black Knights into the fourth seed on Saturday night at Stabler Arena.
With the loss, Army draws fifth-seed Holy Cross in a March 1 quarterfinal game at West Point, N.Y.
A physical game throughout, the Mountain Hawks went 15-of-22 from the free throw line in the second half alone. Junior guard/forward Anna Simmers led all players with 20 points and five steals. Sophomore forward Jessica Waggoner totaled a career-high 12 points to go with five rebounds. Senior guard Meagan Docuette led Army with six rebounds, as Lehigh won the battle of the boards, 36-22.
Army shot 35 percent (17-of-48) for the game, while Lehigh shot at a 44 percent (20-of-45) clip. Emily Gratch paced the Mountain Hawks with 19 points on Senior Night.
After Army raced out to an early lead (13-2), Lehigh tied the game at 21-21 at halftime. The Mountain Hawks then outscored the Black Knights 35-26 in the second half.
INSIDE THE SERIES: ARMY VS. HOLY CROSS
• Army and Holy Cross have entertained some highly contested battles in recent years -- none bigger for the Black Knights than a thrilling 69-68 victory to capture the program's only Patriot League title at Christl Arena on March 8, 2006. Under the direction of late head coach Maggie Dixon, Army fans rushed the court to create a scene showed across the nation, one that is still recounted today. Less than a month later, Dixon died suddenly of a heart condition on April 6, 2006.
• Holy Cross dominated the series from its start in 1990-91, winning 27 of its first 33 meetings with Army. The Black Knights won a 59-56 battle to kick off the 2005-06 series and have won 13 of the last 17 games. The last seven meetings have been decided by an average of 4.9 points.
• Thursday night pits two of the Patriot League's winningest coaches against one another. Although only in his sixth season as Army's mentor, head coach Dave Magarity has spent 29 years as a collegiate head coach (men's and women's). Holy Cross' Bill Gibbons has spent all 27 seasons with the Crusaders. Both men reached milestone victories this season, as Magarity earned his 400th win at St. Francis (N.Y.) on Nov. 16 and Gibbons reached win No. 500 earlier in the year. Magarity's next victory will be his 100th on the Army sidelines.
ARMY PLACES THREE ON ALL-LEAGUE TEAMS
When the All-Patriot League Teams were announced via teleconference on Tuesday morning, Army was well represented with three first-time honorees. The Patriot League's leading scorer heading into the 2012 tournament, junior guard/forward Anna Simmers became the seventh player in Army history to garner first team laurels. Sophomore guard/forward Jen Hazlett, who ranks in the league's top five in scoring, rebounding and three-point percentage, represented Army on the second team. Freshman forward Olivia Schretzman, a two-time Anaconda Patriot League Rookie of the Week, became the 11th Black Knight to land All-Rookie Team honors.
Army's three all-league citations are the most by the program since the 2007-08 season when Alex McGuire '09 (first team), Cara Enright '08 (second team) and Erin Anthony '11 (rookie team) were honored.
It's been the story of Army's season thus far and the first two Army-Holy Cross meetings of the year were no exception. The Black Knights have played in 14 games decided by four points or less and are 6-8 in those contests. Eight of Army's 14 regular-season league games have been decided by four points or less -- at Bucknell (W, 67-64), vs. Lafayette (W, 44-43), at Navy (L, 58-56), vs. American (L, 40-39), at Holy Cross (L, 62-59), vs. Lehigh (W, 66-64), vs. Bucknell (W, 60-56) and most recently vs. Holy Cross (W, 65-62). The Black Knights were 1-5 in games decided by four points or less to start the season, but have since rebounded to win five of their last eight "close encounters." Army has yet to play an overtime game in 2011-12.
SCOUTING HOLY CROSS
Holy Cross escaped with a 74-72 win over Colgate in last Saturday's regular-season finale in Worcester, Mass. The Crusaders have won three of their last four contests with the only loss coming to Army (65-62) on Feb. 22 at Christl Arena. The Crusaders lead the league in scoring (63.6 ppg) and feature two of the top offensive threats in the conference in junior forward Amy Lepley, a second team All-Patriot League selection, and sophomore guard Alex Smith, a first team All-Patriot League performer. Lepley is third in the Patriot League with a 49.8 field goal percentage, while Smith leads the league in assists (5.7 apg) and three-point field goals made (2.6). Lepley (13.2 ppg) and Smith (12.6 ppg) rank third and fifth in the league in scoring, respectively. Holy Cross also features one of the top rookies in the league in Emily Parker, a member of the Patriot League All-Rookie Team. The 6-2 forward ranks 10th in the league averaging 5.8 rebounds per game. The Crusaders are under the direction of 27th-year head coach Bill Gibbons, who authored his 500th career win earlier this season. Gibbons has led Holy Cross to 11 Patriot League titles. The Crusaders' last captured the crown in 2007.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Some say timing is everything and the Army women's basketball team's success this season seems to mirror that mantra. The Black Knights are 8-1 when playing on a Wednesday, which is six more wins than on any other day of the week. Army is also sporting an 11-6 record in night games as opposed to 3-9 when playing during the day. Army has played on a Thursday only once this season, which was a 55-51 win over visiting Hawai'i on Dec. 1 at Christl Arena.
TOURNAMENT TICKET TIME
Tickets for Army's quarterfinal round of the 2012 Patriot League Tournament this Thursday night at 7 p.m. are on sale now through the Army Ticket Office. Fans can purchase online at www.goARMYsports.com, by calling 1-877-TIX-ARMY or in-person at the Holleder Center box office. Tickets are $6 for adults, and $3 for students/senior citizens/youth. Doors for the event will open up 90 minutes prior to tip-off.