Byline: Jim Fuller
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Despite missing as many free throws as it made and giving up offensive rebounds at the most inopportune time, the Holy Cross women's basketball team was on the verge of rallying for its first season-opening win in five years.
Twice in the final 5-1/2 minutes, Brisje Malone brought the Crusaders within two points. But when Holy Cross needed a couple of strong possessions to walk out of Payne Whitney Gym with a come-from-behind victory, the Crusaders were unable to deliver.
Yale's Megan Vasquez hit a key 3-pointer after one of the Bulldogs' 16 offensive rebounds, and Michelle Cashen finally put the game out of reach with a pair of late free throws in the a 76-71 victory over the Crusaders last night.
"I thought we might pull it out in the second half, and I said, `Boy, are we going to learn from this film, but it would be great to learn in a win,'" Holy Cross coach Bill Gibbons said. "Defensive rebounding killed us and foul shots, we missed some big foul shots. Turnovers, we have been talking about that.
"We thought we had to come down here and play tougher, and in a nutshell, they out-toughed us, and we lost," Gibbons added. "I am disappointed in some of our older guys that they let that happen, that they let us get out-toughed."
A highlight in the win was the play of freshman Emily Parker, who was slowed in the preseason because of a knee injury and was just cleared to play on Thursday.
Parker came off the bench and led the Crusaders with 17 points and seven rebounds.
"I thought I was just going to use her 10 minutes and she gets 17 points and (seven) rebounds as a freshman," Gibbons said. "There are signs, but I am just sick of losing games like this that could be W's."
The Crusaders chipped away at the lead, and despite their woes at the free-throw line, cut an 11-point Yale lead down to two on Malone's layup with 5:22 to play.