Holy Cross routs Army as coach Maureen Magarity wins clash with dad

Dave and Maureen Magarity sat separated by a plexiglass partition in a postgame Zoom on Saturday, talking about how their matchups this weekend have seemed to bring a lot of people together.

What was believed to be the first Division I basketball meeting between a father and daughter as head coaches went Maureen's way Saturday, as her Holy Cross team beat Dave's Army squad 80-46 at West Point.

"I don't think either one of us thought it was going to go this way," Maureen said of the 34-point win.

It was Maureen's first victory for the Crusaders, who, like most Patriot League teams, didn't start play until January. Maureen is in her first season at Holy Cross after 10 years at New Hampshire.

Army and Navy were the two Patriot League teams that were able to play some non-conference contests, so Dave's squad had five games in before starting league play. But the Crusaders, who lost their first two games of the season to Boston University on Monday and Tuesday, were in control Saturday.

"I came in thinking, 'I hope it's a good game, but I need to win,'" Dave said of the importance of conference games. "When I looked up and we were down by as many as 30, I'm thinking to myself, 'What parallel universe am I living in? What is going on here?'

"It was a tough game; my head's still spinning. We had been playing decent basketball, so I give them all the credit in the world. Their kids stepped up, they played great. There's no question, I'm proud of her as a father and the fact that they were prepared."

Junior guard Avery LaBarbera scored 23 points to lead Holy Cross.

Army, which was without leading scorer and rebounder Kate Murray because of COVID-19 contact tracing, was led by freshman guard Kaci Helmick's 13 points. The Black Knights will have a chance to turn things around Sunday (3 p.m. ET, ESPN+) as the teams play again, this time at Holy Cross. They will also play two more times in February.

The coaches said that because of COVID-19, their entire family hasn't been able to spend much time together, although wife/mom Rita was allowed to be in attendance Saturday and wore both Army and Holy Cross colors. Maureen's former New York AAU teammate Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm tweeted about the matchup Friday, joking, "Ahhhh ... who to root for?!?"

"She actually did reach out. She's the best," Maureen said of Bird. "All of us Magaritys are just so proud of everything that Sue has accomplished. And it's funny because her dad will still email me 'congrats' or 'big win' or this or that."

The Magaritys' story has garnered national attention, which they never expected.

"This year, obviously, has been a tremendously tough year for a lot of people," Maureen said. "It's been very emotional with the pandemic. And it's been the year of the #GirlDad, with Kobe [Bryant] passing, and everything around that. There's so many different stories, everything going on in the Capitol ... maybe people needed something a little lighthearted to watch to kind of keep your mind off of all the seriousness of what's going on in the world.

"It's been an honor. Me, my dad and my whole family ... everybody's just really appreciated all the coverage."