The Fordham Ram

Women’s Basketball Splits Against Georgetown and Manhattan

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Women’s Basketball Splits Against Georgetown and Manhattan

Fordham got a late basket from freshman Meg Jonassen to lift the Rams past Manhattan and salvage a win on the week (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics).

Fordham got a late basket from freshman Meg Jonassen to lift the Rams past Manhattan and salvage a win on the week (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics).

Fordham got a late basket from freshman Meg Jonassen to lift the Rams past Manhattan and salvage a win on the week (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics).

Fordham got a late basket from freshman Meg Jonassen to lift the Rams past Manhattan and salvage a win on the week (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics).


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By Jack McLoone

Fordham Women’s Basketball had its worst performance of the season on Thursday, losing to Georgetown 58-38. The Rams bounced back right away, however, using a late surge to top local rival Manhattan College 65-61 on Saturday. After the split week, the Rams are now 5-4 for the season.

The Rams’ 38 points against Georgetown was the first time they scored under 40 since being held to 30 points against No. 11 UCLA on Dec. 20 of last season. It was the first time the Rams had scored less than 40 against an unranked team since Dec. 6, 2011 at Bucknell, when they lost 49-39. Abigail Corning played in that game, and she is now the director of basketball operations for the Rams.

In some ways, the Rams had a very consistent game, because “consistent” does not necessarily imply “good.” Fordham scored 14 points in each of the first two quarters, but just five apiece in the third and fourth.

The Rams held it close for most of the first quarter, even briefly gaining a one-point lead after two free throws from sophomore and reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Week Bre Cavanaugh. But a quick five points from the Hoyas to close the quarter put Georgetown up by four.

While the Hoyas were able to stretch the lead to as much as 12 in the second by starting on a 13-4 run, the Rams closed it on a 9-1 run to keep pace and head into the second half down by four.

But in the second half, all the good fighting the Rams had done disappeared to the tune of 10 total points across two quarters to the Hoyas’ 26.

“Against Georgetown we could never get in a flow,” said head coach Stephanie Gaitley. “We have had a few quarters where our offense disappears and in the past our defense steps up. Our young kids are learning the importance of a defense first mentality.”

While Gaitley criticized the team’s defense, it was solid in the third. While the Rams only scored five points, Georgetown scored 10. Being outscored 16 to five in the fourth quarter is what eventually sunk them. Gaitley and Co. could not find any answers.

“When you are in a scoring draught you try to mix things up—whether it’s through substitution or something you do on the court like press,” she said. “Unfortunately you can’t press if you don’t score. So we will continue to experiment and see what answers we can get as we inch our way toward the conference season.”

For all their struggles against Georgetown, the Rams brushed them away for the Battle of the Bronx on Saturday against Manhattan in a thrilling 65-61 victory.

It started with a new lineup for the first time this season, with sophomore guard Zara Jillings replacing freshman forward Kaitlyn Downey, giving the Rams a smaller, more defensively-dynamic lineup.

Not only did Downey not start, she also played the fewest minutes she had since the Rams’ win over Washington, logging just 10 minutes total. Like that Washington game, her minutes were essentially divided amongst two players, Jillings and fellow freshman forward Megan Jonassen.

“We felt [Jonassen] was having more success on the offensive boards and because we were struggling to score we needed to get on the offensive glass and give ourselves [second] opportunities,” said Gaitley. “Meg came through bigtime.”

You can say that again. With under a minute left to play and the game tied at 61, Jonassen did exactly what Gaitley had her on the floor to do. After Cavanaugh missed a three, Jonassen pulled down the offensive rebound and scored on the put-back, giving Fordham a 63-61 lead with 24 seconds left.

After a defensive stop, senior Lauren Holden hit two free throws with one second left to end the game at 65-61.

It was a back-and-forth affair featuring 13 lead changes and 10 separate ties. It was also a game of runs.

In both the first and second quarters, Manhattan got up as much as six before the Rams chased the Jaspers down and tied them in the waning seconds of both quarters; a pair of free throws from Cavanaugh in the first and a Downey three in the second.

The Rams slipped in the third quarter, but not by as much as they had against Georgetown. The Rams shot just 2-12 from the floor in the quarter, but were bailed out by the Jaspers only hitting 5-14. Heading into the fourth, the Rams were down by just three.

The plan for the fourth quarter from Gaitley was simple: “I challenged the team to not fall in love with the [three-point] shot when we weren’t hitting. We wanted to attack the basket and then kick it out.”

Gaitley gave Cavanaugh a lot of credit for stepping up and following this plan in the fourth, a big step for the guard, as she has been incredibly inefficient in shooting the ball this season despite still putting up big point totals. In the fourth, she scored 13 points, including one three, and pulled down three rebounds. She had 27 total points, earning her Battle of the Bronx Player of the Game honors.

The Rams are next in action on Wednesday, Dec. 5 on the road against the Pittsburgh Panthers. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

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Women’s Basketball Splits Against Georgetown and Manhattan