Patriot League Women's Basketball Weekend Preview - 12.20.13
Eight teams set for competition this weekend
Kayla Burton and Lehigh welcome Vermont, Delaware and Youngstown State to Stabler Arena this weekend for the Christmas City Classic.
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - With Christmas just around the corner, eight Patriot League women's basketball teams will suit up this weekend in the final action before the holiday. After Sunday, the schedule goes dark for several days until Dec. 28-29 with 10 tilts slated across those two 24-hour periods.
PATRIOT LEAGUE QUICK HITS
* Colgate, owner of the longest win streak in the League right now at three games, heads to Albany on Sunday for a 2 p.m. tip.
* Holy Cross senior Alex Smith became the League's all-time leader in 3-pointers in Wednesday's 84-71 win over Quinnipiac. She scored a career-high 31 points and made six treys to pass Lehigh's Alex Ross, who sank 286 3-pointers during her career from 2006-10. Smith has 288 entering the Crusaders' 7 p.m. tip on Saturday at beagle christmas cards College.
* With 446 assists, Smith is now 11 shy of jumping into the League's all-time top 10.
* Six League teams are above .500 and two others are within a game of even heading into the weekend.
* The Patriot League is ranked 13th in the latest College Basketball News conference RPI ratings released on Monday.
* American is ranked in the CollegeInsider.com Women's Mid-Major Top 25 for the second straight week. The Eagles are No. 25 as of the latest poll out late Tuesday. Army, Holy Cross and Lehigh are among others receiving votes.
* Lehigh hosts the two-day Christmas City Classic at Stabler Arena on Friday and Saturday. The Mountain Hawks welcome Vermont for a 5 p.m. tip on Friday, and then play the winner of Delaware-Youngstown State on Saturday at either 2 or 4:30 p.m. Patriot League Network will air all four games at www.patriotleague.tv.
* Lafayette plays its first game in 12 days on Friday when it visits St. Francis Brooklyn at 7 p.m.
* Entering the week, Lafayette senior center Danielle Fiacco is the NCAA's active leader in blocked shots with 313, which places her second all-time in League history.
* Loyola Maryland hosts UMBC on Saturday at noon in its first home game since playing Nov. 23 versus Pittsburgh.
* American looks to rebound from Monday's loss to Mount St. Mary's when it visits Coppin State on Saturday at 2 p.m.
* Bucknell plays its first game in two weeks when it visits Longwood on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Bison were scheduled to host UMBC on Dec. 10, but Old Man Winter played the snow card and grounded the Retrievers in Baltimore.
* Boston University plays a pair of old conference rivals in back-to-back games before New Year's. The Terriers visit New Hampshire on Sunday at 2 p.m. and will be at Vermont the following week before opening League play on Jan. 2 at Holy Cross.
* The League owns a 52-40 record in non-League play with 19 tilts remaining during the regular season.
Patriot League Notebook
ONE RECORD FALLS, ANOTHER COULD
Holy Cross senior Alex Smith set the Patriot League career record for made 3-pointers with six in the Crusaders' 84-71 defeat of Quinnipiac on Wednesday afternoon. Smith also entered the week fifth in the nation among active players in treys. Should the Holy Cross guard keep up her current pace, she'll become the first player in League history with 300 career 3-pointers within three or four games. Meanwhile, Lafayette senior center Danielle Fiacco is threatening the League's career blocks mark. With 313, the 6-foot-7 Brewster, N.Y., native is 31 away from the record and entered the week as the nation's active leader in rejections.
JOIN THE CLUB
With a career-high 25 points, American senior Alexis Dobbs broke through door to the 1,000-point club in Monday's 64-61 loss to Mount St. Mary's. The 16th player in Eagle annals and the 79th in Patriot League history to reach quadruple digits joins a list of three other active players in the League to amass at least 1,000 - Holy Cross' Alex Smith (1,311), Bucknell's Shelby Romine (1,209) and Navy's Jade Geif (1,206). Navy's Alix Membreno appears poised to be the next member of the 1,000 club with 925, while teammate Audrey Bauer is next with 885. Army's Jen Hazlett (859) and Lafayette's Danielle Fiacco (850) are the others within short striking distance of the mark.
SMITH ADDS GOOD WORKS NOMINATION
Holy Cross senior guard Alex Smith, already a Senior CLASS Award candidate with American's Alexis Dobbs, added another citation to her resume on Dec. 3 when she was named to the list of nominees for the Allstate WBCA Good Works Team. In its second year, the Allstate WBCA Good Works Team honors players at all levels of college basketball who represent the sport's finest in the areas of leadership and charitable achievements amongst their peers. A total of 84 players from all levels were nominated, and Smith is one of 52 nominees from Division I.
WATCH FREE ON PATRIOT LEAGUE NETWORK
2013-14 is the first of a multi-year agreement between the Patriot League and Campus Insiders who have teamed up to create Patriot League Network (PLN), a streaming platform that will enable fans to watch League regular season and championship events for free. Five games will air on PLN over the next two days, with two on Tuesday and three more on Wednesday. All League and home non-League games not already set to air on CBS Sports Network will be available on PLN. PLN also includes on-demand video content with feature stories, highlight shows and recaps. For more, visit patriotleague.tv.
DOBBS, SMITH ARE CLASSY CANDIDATES
American's Alexis Dobbs and Holy Cross' Alex Smith were named to the list of 30 national candidates for the Senior CLASS Award in late October. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Dobbs has been the League's Scholar-Athlete of the Year in women's basketball each of the last two years, while Smith has joined her in picking up back-to-back Academic All-League citations.
EVERYBODY IN THE POOL
It's a bigger Patriot League now with a bigger League tournament. All 10 squads will qualify for the League bracket that begins with first round games on Tuesday, March 4, with the No. 7 seed hosting No. 10 and No. 8 home for No. 9. The 7/10 winner will move on to visit the second seed, and the 8/9 victor goes on to play No. 1 in the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 6, with 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5 matchups taking place as well. The semifinals are set for Monday, March 10, with the last two teams moving on to the championship game on Saturday, March 15 at 6 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. The higher seeds will host all rounds.
THE FAVORITE TO REACH FOUR
Boasting a deep, talented and experienced senior class of four, Navy was selected as the preseason favorite in voting done by the League's head coaches and sports information contacts in October. The Mids claimed 14 of 20 first-place votes and topped the polling with 157 points. Army was next with 133 points and three first-place votes, while newcomer Boston University took third (128 points, 3 votes). Holy Cross, the runner up each of the last two seasons, was fourth with 112 points, while Lehigh took fifth with 97 points. American (87 points), Bucknell (62), Loyola (54), Lafayette (37) and Colgate (33) rounded out the list of 10.
CBS SPORTS NETWORK TO AIR ARMY-NAVY
CBS Sports Network is one again the national broadcast partner of the Patriot League, and the Network will air both Army-Navy regular-season tilts in early 2014. The Mids host the first showdown on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 1:30 p.m., and the two will reconvene their rivalry on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 1:30 p.m. at West Point. Last season the academy rivals finished in a tie atop the League standings, but their head-to-head sweep of the two games gave the Black Knights the tournament's No. 1 seed. CBS Sports Network will also televise the Patriot League title game on Saturday, March 15 at 6 p.m.
AMERICAN Senior Alexis Dobbs became the 16th player in American history and the 79th in Patriot League women's basketball annals to score 1,000 points with a career-high 25 in the Eagles' 64-61 loss to Mount St. Mary's on Monday night ... Dobbs shot 10-of-14 from the floor and 5-of-8 from the 3-point line and was the only American player to hit double figures in points ... Arron Zimmerman added seven points and seven rebounds, while Jen Dumiak scored eight with seven boards ... Dobbs ignited a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer and then ended it with a jumper to put the Eagles (6-3) in front 57-53 with 4:03 remaining ... The Mount tied the game for the ninth time at 57-all with 3:26 left before Michelle Holmes put American up again with a layup 18 seconds later ... After a Mount 3-pointer, Dobbs struck again with a jumper to put American ahead 61-60 with 2:31 on the clock ... Jody Chickey's two foul shots put The Mount in front again at 62-61 with 2:13 left, and the Eagles had chances down the stretch to reclaim the lead ... Dumiak and Jordan Light each had a 3-point attempt come up empty, and two possessions ended in turnovers ... The loss snapped American's three-game win streak, and was its first loss at home ... American visits Coppin State on Saturday at 2 p.m.
ARMY The Black Knights dropped their second straight with last Friday's 59-56 loss at Ohio State ... Kelsey Minato's career-high 27 points led all players, while Olivia Schretzman chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds, and Jen Hazlett scored seven with nine boards ... Schretzman's layup put Army (7-3) in front 48-38 with 8:49 left in the game ... Ohio State scored nine straight over a three-minute span to cut the Black Knights' lead to 50-49 with 3:52 remaining ... Hazlett responded with a 3-pointer and a Minato jumper gave Army a 55-49 advantage at the 2:23 mark ... The Buckeyes went on another small run, this one a 6-0 stretch that tied the game at 55 with 79 seconds left ... After Aimee Oertner went 1-of-2 at the line, Ameryst Alston and Raven Ferguson both went perfect in two trips at the stripe in the final 31 seconds to give the Buckeyes the late win ... The teams traded the lead eight times and tied in six other instances, while Ohio State's bench outscored Army's 13-0 ... Army is off until Dec. 29 when it hosts Staten Island at 1 p.m.
BOSTON U. Sarah Pope scored a career-high 19 points on 6-of-12 from the 3-point line, but Boston University (3-8) dropped a 76-65 loss at Case Gym on Saturday ... It was BU's first home game since Nov. 19 ... Melissa Gallo added 12 points and Danielle Callahan chipped in 10 ... Rashidat Agboola hauled down a team-high eight rebounds ... BU led 37-31 with 5:32 left in the first but the Red Foxes whittled it down to a 38-36 game at halftime ... Marist opened the second on a 16-3 run to move in front 52-41 with 13:24 on the clock ... Hope sank one of her six 3s and Agboola added a layup for a 5-0 BU spurt that cut the deficit to single digits with under six minutes left, but Marist surged with a 12-4 run over the next five and a half minutes to eliminate any chance of a Terrier rally ... Marist won the battle inside, with a 46-29 edge on the glass and a 28-14 advantage in points in the paint ... Boston University travels to former conference foe New Hampshire on Sunday at 2 p.m.
BUCKNELL was off all of last week after it's Dec. 10 tilt versus UMBC was cancelled because of inclement weather ... The Bison are next in action on Saturday when they visit Longwood at 2 p.m.
COLGATE Lauryn Kobiela scored 15 points to pace three Raiders in double figures in Saturday's 68-61 victory at Robert Morris ... Colgate (4-5) won its third straight game for the first time since Dec. 2010, while also winning its first game of the season after trailing at halftime ... Mariah Jones chipped in 12 points, and Randyll Butler logged a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double in 28 minutes off the bench ... The Colonials took a 34-28 halftime lead thanks to six straight points over the final 2:21 of the first half ... Robert Morris led by as many as nine early in the second before Carole Harris' two free throws tied the game at 46-all midway through the second ... The Colonials edged back in front before Missy Repoli's trey with 6:25 left put the Raiders up 55-53 ... It came during the early stages of a 10-0 run for Colgate, which outscored RMU 22-10 over the game's last 8:47 ... Colgate heads to Albany on Sunday for a 2 p.m. tip.
HOLY CROSS Senior Alex Smith became the Patriot League's all-time leader in 3-pointers in Holy Cross' 84-71 victory over Quinnipiac on Wednesday, thrilling the more than 1,000 Worcester City Public School children in attendance during "Get Fit With the Crusaders Day." ... Smith sank six treys to surpass the old League career mark of 286 previously held by Lehigh's Alex Ross and accumulated from 2006-10 ... Smith now has 288 ... Smith led all scorers with a career-high 31 points to become the first League player this season to eclipse the 30-point plateau ... Brisje Malone scored 15 points with game-highs of 12 assists and nine rebounds, barely missing out on her first career triple-double ... Emily Parker (12 points), Raquel Scott (10) and Lisa Mifsud (10) added to the scoring for Holy Cross, which led 53-31 at the break and withstood at 16-4 second-half run by the Bobcats to whittle the game down to a nine-point differential ... The Crusaders shot 64 percent (18-of-28) in the first half to build their lead and finished at 49 percent (26-of-53) for the game, including 10-of-18 from the arc ... The Crusaders are back on the floor on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Boston College.
LAFAYETTE has been off since dropping a 71-61 final to Stony Brook in Easton, Pa., on Dec. 8 ... The Leopards visit St. Francis Brooklyn on Friday at 7 p.m. and then are off again before visiting California on Dec. 29 ... Senior Danielle Fiacco is the nation's active leader in blocked shots with 313 ... She's 31 shy of tying Bucknell's Hope Foster for the League record of 344.
LEHIGH The Mountain Hawks return to the floor this weekend when they host their annual Christmas City Classic ... Vermont, Youngstown State and Delaware come to Bethlehem, Pa., starting Friday ... Lehigh hosts Vermont on Friday at 5 p.m. ... Saturday's consolation game is at 2 p.m., and the championship is set for 4:30 p.m. ... The Mountain Hawks also have a Dec. 28 tilt scheduled at Columbia.
LOYOLA The Greyhounds are off until Saturday when they are home for UMBC at noon ... Loyola is at Towson on Dec. 28 before heading to Navy in the League opener on Jan. 2 ... Saturday's game at Reitz Arena will be the Hounds' first at home since Nov. 23 when they hosted Pittsburgh.
NAVY The Mids are off until Dec. 29 when they travel to Marshall ... It's their last non-League game before opening League play on Jan. 2 against Loyola.