For most students, winter break is a time of rest and relaxation, but that did not hold true for members of the Fordham women’s basketball team. Head coach Stephanie Gaitley’s squad played eight games over the four-week period, posting a record of five wins and three losses.
Notably, the Rams began their slate of Atlantic 10 matchups, which runs until the end of the season. They came up short against St. Bonaventure and Duquesne but pulled off wins over Davidson, George Mason and Saint Joseph’s.
Last Wednesday, the Rams traveled down to North Carolina for a rematch against Davidson, this time in the home team’s Belk Arena. Like the first time the two teams squared off, the game was not especially competitive, but this time it was the Wildcats who came out on top. In the entire game, they trailed for just 87 seconds, beating Fordham into submission by a final score of 69-51.
The game started off well enough for Fordham. Freshman guard Lauren Holden hit a jumper for the first score of the game. Thirty seconds later, junior forward Danielle Burns scored from beyond the arc to give the Rams a three-point advantage. That was their high-water mark. Davidson went on a 7-0 run to open up a lead it would never relinquish. Still, Fordham remained competitive and trailed by just two at the end of the quarter.
Fordham and Davidson traded blows throughout the second period, with the latter’s lead remaining at two with 5:26 until halftime. However, a three-pointer from forward Mackenzie Latt sparked a 9-0 run for the Wildcats, putting them up by 11. Fordham, meanwhile, missed three shots over that stretch. A three-pointer from Holden put the Rams back within eight, and the halftime score was 31-23.
Another three from Holden put Fordham within five to start the third quarter, but Davidson once again wasted no time in finding its groove. While the Rams missed a pair of long-range shots and turned the ball over twice, the Wildcats went on another 9-0 run, putting the deficit at 16. Thanks in part to three-pointers from Holden and junior guard Hannah Missry, the Rams moved back to within eight, but Davidson responded and held a 12-point lead through three quarters.
Fordham would never be as close to the lead again. Davidson scored the opening two buckets, and while another three from Holden put the Rams back within 13, they were simply unable to keep up. The Wildcats extended their lead to 20 points before the quarter was halfway done. Late-game three-pointers from Missry and sophomore guard Britt Zappeij cut into the deficit, but it was too late. Davidson won the game by a margin of 18 points.
Holden was the biggest contributor for Fordham, scoring 14 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists. Senior forward Samantha Clark also played an important role, scoring 10 points and adding a block and two steals. On the other side, Latt and forward Dakota Dukes delivered for Davidson, scoring 19 points each and combining for 15 rebounds.
Ultimately, poor shooting was the biggest reason for Fordham’s loss. The Rams shot just 30.6 percent from the field and 23.7 percent from beyond the arc; those numbers contrast sharply with Davidson’s 47.3 and 55.6 percent. In addition, Fordham was better with holding on to the ball, committing fewer turnovers than Davidson, but was unable to take advantage. In the end, the result was a big win for the Wildcats, one that evened the season series.
“We didn’t show up,” Gaitley said of her team’s performance. “We need to have a blue collar attitude toward every game. We can control two things: our effort and our attitude.”
With the loss, Fordham moved to 3-3 in conference play, currently tied for fifth place in the A-10. The Rams face a tough road ahead: George Washington, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis and Duquesne are currently a combined 24-3 in conference play, and all but the latter lie ahead on Fordham’s schedule.
This Wednesday, the team will travel to Virginia to face off against the VCU Rams, currently 2-4 in the A-10. Then, Fordham will return to Rose Hill Gym for a Saturday home game against Rhode Island.