Women’s Basketball Wins 20th For 5th Time Under Gaitley

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Mary Goulding (above) makes a move to the basket. Fordham women’s basketball won its 20th game on Tuesday (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram).

By Jack McLoone

Mary Goulding (above) makes a move to the basket. Fordham women’s basketball won its 20th game on Tuesday (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram).

While no coach is going to say that they expect their team to do poorly, the odds were stacked against the Fordham women’s basketball team. Full of freshmen and without three major contributors in Kate Kreslina, Anna Kelly and Asnate Fomina (to Latvian pro basketball, transfer and a concussion, respectively) and facing the hardest out-of-conference schedule in her 34-year career, head coach Stephanie Gaitley figured it would be a tough season. Instead, she’s secured her fifth 20-win season at Fordham with a 58-45 road win over Davidson and a 66-45 drubbing of La Salle at home.

“It’s been a lot of juggling, but I credit the kids,” said Gaitley. “It’s the next man up mentality and they’ve done a great job fighting through adversity.”
The Rams’ defensive lockdown started in Ohio against Davidson.

In past seasons, going 3-13 from the field would have derailed senior forward G’mrice Davis’s game. But in Fordham Women’s Basketball’s 58-45 road win over Davidson, she contributed in other ways, namely 21 rebounds. That total ties her career-high. Davis also managed to still get 11 points, thanks to going 5-5 from the free throw line, giving her her 21st double-double on the season, and 13th straight.

“G has done a much better job this year of not letting one aspect of her game affect another,” said head coach Stephanie Gaitley. “It’s still a work in progress but as seen in the Davidson game, she can have a major impact without scoring.”

The Rams had five days between their home win over Rhode Island and the win at Davidson, and Gaitley used that time to give them team some rest. As covered last week, the starters for this team average over 30 minutes per game, so five days off before hitting the stretch run was certainly big.

“It had been a long time since we had a good break so we gave them two days off and went ‘light’ the third day,” said Gaitley.

The well-rested Rams looked the part in the first quarter, doubling up the Wildcats 20-10. With the score 7-5 in the Wildcats’ favor with 6:54 left in the first quarter, Davis kicked off a 15-0 run with a three-point play.

However, that energy did not show itself in the second. The Rams scored just nine points to Davidson’s 14, putting the score at 29-24 at the half.

Junior point guard Lauren Holden, who has struggled with her shot for most of the season, had a stellar first half. She was 4-5 from deep in the half. She hit another three in the second half, tying her career-high in three pointers at five.

After an even third quarter, in which the Rams held onto their five-point lead, with both teams scoring 11, the high-energy group reemerged for the final 10 minutes.

Once again, the Ram defense held the Wildcats to just 10 points, while the offense put up 18 of its own to bring the game of its final score of 58-45. This is the eighth time the Rams have held an opponent under 50 points, with all eight being wins.
Freshman point guard Bre Cavanaugh once again paced the Rams in scoring, putting up 19. She did so pretty inefficiently, going just 7-22 from the floor, including 2-8 from three, and another 3-4 from the line.

The Rams dominated the boards, pulling down 49 compared to the Wildcats’ 28.

When they returned home against the Explorers from La Salle, the Rams once again put on a defensive showcase. Outside of some lackluster defense from the deep end of the bench at the end of the fourth quarter, the Explorers did not score more than 11 points in a quarter.

The only negative for the Rams, if you wanted to say there was one, was that Davis lost her double-double streak with 18 points and only nine rebounds. With 5:54 left to play and up 29, Gaitley actually subbed Davis back in to give her a chance to corral the two rebounds she needed. However, after Davis scored back-to-back baskets Gaitley was uncomfortable with leaving in her star player and longer and took her out.

Holden also continued with her finally-hot hand, going 5-11 from the field, including 2-4 from three and 4-4 from the line for 16 points. And once again, Cavanaugh led all scorers with 19 points.

The Rams are hitting their stride heading into the home stretch, with just three games remaining. The first two are against the other top two teams in the A-10, both on the road. First they are at Dayton on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. and then at Duquesne at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 21.