The Fordham Ram

Women’s Basketball Heads to Richmond with First Round Win

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Women’s Basketball Heads to Richmond with First Round Win

G'mrice Davis pulls down one of her game-high 16 rebounds. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

G'mrice Davis pulls down one of her game-high 16 rebounds. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

G'mrice Davis pulls down one of her game-high 16 rebounds. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

G'mrice Davis pulls down one of her game-high 16 rebounds. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)


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By Jack McLoone

G’mrice Davis pulls down one of her game-high 16 rebounds. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

While the regular season ended with a whimper, the Atlantic 10 Championship started with a resounding scream of dominance for Fordham Women’s Basketball on Tuesday night. Since they just missed out on the second seed and a bye in the first round, the Rams hosted Rhode Island in their first round matchup. They vented their frustrations in a 75-53 stomping that was actually even more dominant.

The first half of this game featured maybe the best 20 minutes the Rams played all season. They held URI to just 14 points in the entire half, including just five points in the second quarter. They did so while utilizing a different lineup most of the time: freshman guard Zara Jillings was subbed in frequently for freshman forward Johanna Klug to offset URI’s four guard zone defense. Gaitley explained that the four-guard lineup for Fordham was their better look against the zone.

The Rams played stifling defense in the first half, holding URI to under 19 percent shooting (5-27) while doubling them up in rebounds, 26-13. Fordham played aggressive on-ball defense, playing tight and preventing open looks.

In the way it has this season, the strong defensive performance beget a strong defensive showing; the Rams hung 41 points on URI in the first half, sending the teams to the locker rooms with the mirrored score of 41-14. Fordham shot a hair under 50 percent from the floor, making 15 of their 31 shots, including four of their 10 threes.

Senior forward G’mrice Davis collected yet another double-double in just one half, with 14 points and 10 first-half rebounds.

The third quarter was more of the same, with the Rams pouring another 19 points on URI, who hit double-digits in a quarter for the first time with just 10. Fordham was up as much as 37 with 90 seconds left in the quarter.

With the game mostly put away, Gaitley emptied the bench at points and the defense lagged, letting URI rip off a huge 29 point quarter. The Rams scored 15 of their own to reach the 75-53 final. While Gaitley was happy with the result, she wasn’t pleased with the lackadaisical fourth quarter.

“It’s always great getting that first game under your belt,” said Gaitley. “We played a great defensive game for three quarters and will have to put a 40-minute game together to advance.”

That being said, Gaitley was pleased that she was able to get her starters some much-needed rest, even after getting Sunday off. The Rams typically play only about six players per game, with the sixth – more often than not Jillings – usually logging under 10 minutes. The chance to get the bench a taste of postseason experience is also a plus.

With URI dispatched, the Rams now travel to Richmond for the rest of the A-10 Championship. Their next step is the team that received their worst 20 minutes of the season just a game ago: St. Joe’s.

“I think at this time of year you have to go through some tough teams to win a championship,” said Gaitley. “Familiarity helps in playing St. Joe’s and also that we didn’t put forth our best performance.”

The Rams are scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. on Friday, as long as the three preceding games start and end on schedule.

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Women’s Basketball Heads to Richmond with First Round Win