By Sam Belden
On Friday night, the Fordham women’s basketball team fell to Duquesne in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Championship, spelling the end of its season. The score was tied at 61 with 1:46 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the third-seeded Dukes pulled ahead and took it by a margin of five. The Rams finished their campaign with a 14-16 overall record.
In its early stages, the game was one-sided. Duquesne opened the first quarter by going on a 9-0 run, putting the Rams at an immediate disadvantage. At the end of the period, the Rams still trailed by a margin of 10. The tide began to turn in the second quarter, as the Rams started it off with a 9-0 run of their own to pull within one. However, they could not maintain their spirited play for the rest of the half and fell behind once again. At halftime, Duquesne led by a score of 31-22.
The Rams finally made their move in the third quarter. Trailing by 10 with 6:24 remaining in the period, junior guard Hannah Missry made a three-pointer that ended up sparking a 15-6 run. In just over three minutes, Fordham cut Duquesne’s once-daunting lead to one point. The rest of the quarter went back and forth, with senior forward Samantha Clark and junior forward Danielle Padovano providing the offense for the Rams. Heading into the final quarter, the score was 51-50 with Duquesne leading by a single point.
The score remained relatively even for much of the fourth quarter. A three-pointer from junior forward Danielle Burns gave Fordham its first lead of the game, but Duquesne quickly took it back and remained in the driver’s seat for the next four minutes. With 2:55 remaining, Clark converted on a three-point play to give the Rams a two-point lead, but back-to-back turnovers doomed them as they watched the Dukes go on a 6-0 run to go up by four. Fordham tried to battle back, but it was too late. Duquesne made their free throws and held on, winning by a final score of 70-65.
The game was close in more ways than one. Fordham shot 46 percent from the field to Duquesne’s 47 percent and committed 10 turnovers to Duquesne’s 11. However, there was a notable disparity between the two teams in terms of rebounding: the Dukes grabbed 18 more boards over the course of the game.
In her final game as a Fordham Ram, Clark put up a memorable performance, scoring 20 points to go along with 12 rebounds and four assists. It was her 14th double-double of the season.
“I think we gave Duquesne everything we possibly could. We put the effort on Sam’s shoulders, and I couldn’t be more proud of her,” said head coach Stephanie Gaitley. “We faced so much adversity this season, and to stay tough down the stretch speaks volumes of Sam and our team.”
Freshman guard Lauren Holden also thrived in the spotlight, adding 15 points to go along with five assists. Burns and Missry contributed 11 each.
This spring, the Rams will lose two seniors to graduation: Clark and guard Khadijah Gibson. The team will return to action this fall.