Season Ends in Heartbreaking Fashion For Women’s Basketball


G’mrice Davis (above) rises for a layup. The Rams’ season ended on Friday with a loss to St. Joseph’s. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

By Jack McLoone

G’mrice Davis (above) rises for a layup. The Rams’ season ended on Friday with a loss to St. Joseph’s. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

St. Joe’s is a recurring nightmare for Fordham Women’s Basketball. After missing out on a first-round bye thanks to a last-second bucket from the Hawks in the final game of the regular season, the Rams’ Atlantic 10 Championship quarterfinal matchup was more of the same.

With 16 seconds left and the Rams down two, 48-46, freshman guard Bre Cavanaugh received the inbound pass about 30 feet from the basket. Knowing a foul would be coming, Cavanaugh threw the ball towards the basket to earn three free throws on a shot that had no chance of going in; it was simply a heads-up play for the freshman. Head coach Stephanie Gaitley said they were aware of the foul possibility and suggested that Cavanaugh try to draw the free throws.

With a chance to take a one-point lead if she hit all three, Cavanaugh hit only two of the free throws, tying the game at 48. Once again, St. Joe’s would have the ball in a tie game with the shot clock turned off.

Last time, the Hawks were able to get the ball to their best player down low, Cynthia Woods, who laid it in for the winning bucket. This time, the Rams did all they could to prevent that and succeeded, switching to a zone.

When the ball got into Woods’ hands, she was double-teamed at the top of the key. However, she was able to get a pass into the corner to Sarah Veilleux, who hit a three over a late-collapsing Cavanaugh with 0.2 seconds remaining.

“We went zone the last play and wanted their best player to be a passer,” said Gaitley. “We made them make their first three of the game.”

The Rams did the best they could defensively, but there is nothing you can do when a team makes a three after missing its first eight.

The ensuing inbounds Hail Mary pass was caught at half court by St. Joe’s.

The defense from the Rams’ first round dismantling of Rhode Island carried over to the first quarter, with the Hawks scoring just six points to Fordham’s 13.

The second quarter saw a little bit of a slide, but the halftime score was 24-16 in the Rams’ favor.

But fatigue, either from the game or just from a season with a thin bench full of freshmen, set in in the second half. After holding the Hawks under 27 percent from the floor in the first half, they allowed over 46 percent in the second.

The Rams also got into deep foul trouble in the second half, with senior forward G’mrice Davis ending the game with four and freshman forward Johanna Klug with five.
“Our foul trouble played a key role in the second half defensively,” Gaitley said, which was clear, especially on the interior. Woods scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half, all on the inside. 30 of the Hawks’ points were scored in the paint.

Davis finished with yet another double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing a game-high 18 rebounds. Cavanaugh led the Rams with 17 points.

The Rams finish the season 22-9 on the backs of Davis and the freshmen, particularly Cavanaugh.

“I feel we overachieved and got a ton out of this group and I am confident that we will be one of the few teams playing post season and will make the most out of this opportunity,” said Gaitley.

For a freshmen-heavy team facing the toughest out-of-conference schedule Gaitley has ever faced, calling this team “over-achievers” feels like an understatement.

Despite the early exit, the Rams’ season should not yet be finished. Both the Championship Tournament and WNIT will announce their selected fields on Monday, March 12.