Corning is the only player on the team who was at Fordham before coach Stephanie Gaitley turned the team around. (Photo by Ally White/The Ram)
Abigail Corning is a second-year captain and guard for Fordham’s women’s basketball team. A native of Wethersfield, Conn., Corning is one half of the Rams’ veteran backcourt and has appeared in every game since the start of her sophomore year. During last year’s historic season, Corning was the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 7.1 per game. This season, she hopes to lead the team back to postseason play.
The Fordham Ram: How did you decide to come to Fordham? What was the recruiting process like for you?
Abigail Corning: It had a lot to do with academics first and then athletics. I wanted to go to a good school because I didn’t foresee myself playing basketball, especially for long, after college. Also, the location to my house in Connecticut was a factor. A two-hour radius was definitely beneficial to me. My family has always been at my games and to be able to see them at home games was definitely a big thing for me. I didn’t want to have to be a plane ride away.
TFR: After your first year coach Gaitley came in, what was your first impression of her?
AC: I remember there was about five of us in the gym. She walked in and she had talked to us before, but you could tell she was going to care a lot about us and it was definitely the change that we needed. And then, looking at her record and talking to people about her, we knew that she had success in building programs and that’s what we really needed. She respected us as long as we put in the work and respected her and that’s where I think our success has come from.
TFR: What does it feel like for you to be at the forefront of this program’s turnaround?
AC: It’s exciting. When I committed to Fordham, people in my town were like ‘You’re going to Fordham? Two years ago they lost every single game they played.’ And I was aware of that. I wanted to come in and make an impact on a program and get rewarded for the time and effort I put in. It’s been fun, and it’s a part of history. We’ll never be forgotten.
TFR: You play 35-40 minutes per game, how difficult is it to do that every single game?
AC: It’s hard on the body. It’s really tiring. Coach is good about trying to take it easy on us the day after a game with practice, granted that we do everything we can to win. But there’s a lot of ice baths during the season and a lot of treatment, stuff like that.
TFR: You’re a second year captain, what do you do to try and lead such a young team this year?
AC: It’s definitely different than it was leading last year. I try to lead by example first, and then lead verbally second. Hopefully, I can get them to catch on and see that this is the work ethic that you need to put in. And then just taking them under my wing and mentor them as far as plays and game situations go. Also, being a good, demanding captain to make sure we’re getting the productivity that we’re looking for.
TFR: What’s your favorite moment been at Fordham thus far?
AC: Our win at Charlotte last year was huge. It was on TV and it was a statement about our program. We had struggled in non-conference season, but to come in and in our first conference game beat Charlotte on the road was huge. That was definitely fun and I remember I swept the floor that game, and there was a big commentary on it. The ref was giving me a lot of slack for sweeping the floor, but I fell on the ground and there was sweat everywhere. So, that’s a fun memory. Everybody goes back to that game and says, ‘remember when you swept the floor,’ so that’s definitely a good memory.
TFR: You’re into a bunch of things off the court, can you tell us about some of the stuff you do?
AC: I’m in the Business of Sports Society. We try to connect industry professionals to students. We actually just toured the NHL offices yesterday. We just go out and tour any sports studios, any leagues, teams or arenas. That’s beneficial just to grow our network. I’m also president of our Student-Athlete Athletic Council. It’s athletic representatives and we do community service outreach programs and fundraisers for foundations and things like that.
TFR: Do you have any plans after graduation?
AC: I’d love to work in sports marketing. Like I said, I’m just trying to build my sports network, but I’m not sure. My dream is to work for Nike in their marketing department, but there’s a lot out there, especially being in New York. So I’m keeping all my options open right now.