Holy Cross’ Women’s Basketball Encounters Unprecedented Defensive Struggles

Ben Lepper ’25

Staff Writer

Image courtesy of
Game Recap

After winning 16 of their first 19 games, the Holy Cross women’s basketball team has dropped the last two. Against Lehigh on January 25th, Holy Cross played as they normally would; with the type of physicality that has made them the class of the Patriot League statistically on the defensive side of the ball through the first 21 games of the season (allowing only 54.3 points per game). They beat Lehigh in the offensive rebound battle by six, and they played with their normally solid offensive style of ball that relies on the contributions of most everyone, rather than just a few potent scorers. In the words of legendary basketball coach Larry Brown, “they play unselfish, they play together, and they play hard.” Unfortunately for Holy Cross, who previously hadn’t lost in about a month, when they stepped foot into Stabler arena in Pennsylvania, they looked cross court at a Lehigh team that was ready to execute their best basketball of the season. 

Though their 10-11 start to the season suggests otherwise, Lehigh is an offensive juggernaut that leads the Patriot League in scoring by a significant margin, boasting the two top scorers in the Patriot League—Frannie Hottinger and Mackenzie Kramer. Lehigh almost fully lives and dies depending upon their offensive output, and Holy Cross caught them on the wrong day. Hottinger put up 30 points, and Kramer put up 21. As a team, Lehigh punctuated on a stellar 11-24 three point opportunities. Even so, the game showed a lot about Holy Cross. Their unwillingness to quit created a brutal battle of 18 lead changes throughout the game, and with 1:31 left to go in an OT thriller, Bronagh Power-Cassidy hit a three pointer that put Holy Cross up 74-73. However, to the Crusaders’ dismay, Kramer hit a step back three with 9.3 seconds left to hand Holy Cross the loss, which put a fitting end to a contest in which the Crusaders had been hurt by the three ball all game.

What was more painful was the Crusader’s 74-66 loss against Army West Point this past Saturday in the Hart Center. There was no incredible three point display against the Crusaders as Army only went 5-19 on three point field goals, and though three-point sniper Cara McCormack had a rough game (1-9 from three), she was far from what cost the Crusaders the game. The team just flat out had a bad game defensively. They gave up an uncharacteristic amount of close range buckets, and allowed a team that scores 60.9 points per game to score 74. Maybe it was the hangover from the Lehigh loss three days before that made Holy Cross a little bit sluggish, or maybe they were a bit antsy on the defensive side of the ball. Whatever the case may be, it wasn’t the same Crusader team that fans had become accustomed to seeing. 

Getting back on track may supply the Crusaders with a little added juice going into their next contest, though I don’t think that they will need any more inspiration on Saturday in Annapolis at 12:30 PM when the tip goes up against Navy, who upset Holy Cross last year in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League tournament on a miraculous, fading bank shot from the right corner that fell through the net as time and the season expired on the stunned top seeded Crusaders. You can catch the upcoming Holy Cross/Navy game on ESPN+.

Categories: Sports

Tagged as:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s