'Saders tip Rams to end streak.


Byline: Jay Gearan

WORCESTER - Finally, a game-ending buzzer that brought smiles, hugs and cheers on Mount St. James.

After eight straight losses, two in overtime - a total of 40 days without a win - the Holy Cross women's basketball team defeated Rhode Island, 80-71, at the Hart Center last night.

Senior captains Briana McFadden (27 points) and Bethany O'Dell (24) led the way.

"This win was so huge for us," said O'Dell, who hit six of seven 3-pointers. "We've had so many close, tough losses, and it's not easy going to practice after each loss. But this is a great way to enter the Patriot League games as we get ready for Lafayette on Saturday."

McFadden's biggest 3-pointer came with 3:13 left as the Rams were closing the gap. Her shot from the left wing gave the Crusaders a 68-59 lead, and they kept the margin comfortable to the end.

"This is exciting getting this win," added McFadden, who was 5 for 7 from beyond the arc. "I just felt very confident with my shot tonight."

The Crusaders, who had last won the day after Thanksgiving at Maine, are 4-11. Rhode Island dropped to 7-8.

"We had a good week of practice and had a great defensive game plan against a good URI team," Holy Cross coach Bill Gibbons said. "That's the Holy Cross team we know and love. Now we go into the Patriot League with some momentum. O'Dell and McFadden really stepped up as captains."

The Crusaders battled back from an early seven-point deficit and led, 42-31, at halftime.

URI rallied to start the second half, scoring seven straight points and pulling to within...

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