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Gaitley Nabs 600th Win, Rams Win Fourth Straight Road Game

Head+Coach+Stephanie+Gaitley+won+her+600th+game+last+Thursday+when+the+Rams+defeated+St.+Bonaventure.+%28Julia+Comerford%2FThe+Fordham+Ram%29
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Gaitley Nabs 600th Win, Rams Win Fourth Straight Road Game

Head Coach Stephanie Gaitley won her 600th game last Thursday when the Rams defeated St. Bonaventure. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Head Coach Stephanie Gaitley won her 600th game last Thursday when the Rams defeated St. Bonaventure. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Head Coach Stephanie Gaitley won her 600th game last Thursday when the Rams defeated St. Bonaventure. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Head Coach Stephanie Gaitley won her 600th game last Thursday when the Rams defeated St. Bonaventure. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)


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By Jack McLoone

Head Coach Stephanie Gaitley won her 600th game last Thursday when the Rams defeated St. Bonaventure. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

It is no secret that Fordham Women’s Basketball head coach Stephanie Gaitley is one of the best in the country. She further cemented that on Thursday, her birthday, when Fordham’s 72-48 win over St. Bonaventure gave Gaitley her 600th career win. The Rams followed that up with a 67-62 victory over George Mason on Sunday.

“All wins are special but because of the significance of the milestone it made it sweeter on my birthday; basically because when you get past 50, you don’t want any more birthdays so other celebrations are welcome!” said Gaitley. “When you hit milestones there a lot of things to take in consideration. First, it means you’re old! But seriously it’s a total team effort that involves a lot of great coaches, players and administrations. It made it special that it was on my birthday because my day started off with a conference call with all three sons and they have been a significant part of the ride along with my husband Frank.”

The win over the Bonnies ended a lopsided affair that was pretty close in the early-goings. With 6:29 left in the half, St. Bonaventure tied it at 21. The Rams responded with a 13-6 run to close the half, finishing up 34-27. Six of the points came from breakout freshman guard Bre Cavanaugh.

Fordham started running on all cylinders in the second half, outscoring the Bonnies 23-9 in the third quarter.

“It took us a half of basketball to settle down and figure ourselves out against St Bonaventure,” said Gaitley. “Once we were able to settle down offensively we locked in on defense.”

While the Bonnies played a much closer fourth quarter, Fordham had built up a significant lead. It was high enough that junior Kristen Ryan and the freshmen bench squad of Katie McLoughlin, Ralene Kwiatkowski, Lauren Murphy and Halei Gillis were able to help celebrate Gaitley’s milestone and birthday by entering in the fourth quarter.

While the win over the Bonnies may have been the milestone win for the Gaitley, it was the George Mason win that is indicative of the kind of coaching that has kept Gaitley in the game for so long. The Rams went on the road to Fairfax, Virginia where the Patriots had yet to lose a game this season, and left with a victory.
“This was a significant win because we won in a difficult atmosphere,” said Gaitley. “We still have four very difficult road games left against some of the top teams in the conference so this win was a big confidence booster.”

The Rams led for the majority of the game. The Patriots never went away even as the Rams built multiple 10-point leads. George Mason finally broke through late in the fourth, taking a two-point lead with 3:43 left to play.

Gaitley praised senior do-it-all forward G’mrice Davis for settling the team down during the Patriots push, something we probably would not have seen out of her even just a year ago.

Davis went to the line twice over that final stretch, hitting all four of her free throws en route to the Rams’ 67-62 victory. She finished 18 points and 13 rebounds for her 20th double-double this season. She did so while matched up against Natalie Butler, who leads the nation in double-doubles this season.

Any coach will tell you that winning on the road is hard. Any coach will also tell you that young players, in particular, have problems on the road in more intense environments. But for these baby Rams, there has not been much of an issue: Fordham has won four straight road A-10 games.

Gaitley gives a lot of credit to chemistry for this young team’s success.

“I really believe the foreign tour was instrumental in helping this team develop the chemistry,” said Gaitley. “As I’ve said before this has been the best chemistry since I have been here.”

The team chemistry has been evident from its first official game this season, and has only improved as it worked through first the tough out-of-conference schedule and now A-10 play.

The Rams enter the back stretch of the season in third in the A-10 with an 8-1 conference record and 17-5 overall. Their last game of January will be on the road at Saint Louis at noon on Wednesday, January 31 where they will look to make it five straight road wins. They then return home on Sunday, February 4 to take on Rhode Island in one of the A-10’s Battle of the Rams matchups.

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Gaitley Nabs 600th Win, Rams Win Fourth Straight Road Game