Women’s Basketball Wins Second Straight Against Duquesne


Women’s Basketball improve to 15-8 after beating Duquesne University on Sunday afternoon at home. (Mackenzie Cranna/The Fordham Ram)

By Jack Mcloone

The Rams seem to have righted the ship. After a rough slide where it lost three out of four games, the team bounced back with a win on the road against La Salle before a surprisingly dominant 57-46 win over Duquesne.

While things got off to a rocky start — the Rams trailed 17-13 at the end of the first quarter — a flurry of threes lifted them up and over the top. With 4:01 left in the first half, freshman forward Kaitlyn Downey found senior forward Mary Goulding near the top of the arc, where she hit a three to give Fordham a 23-22 lead. The Rams did not trail again.

That three came in the midst of a 10-point run for the Rams. With three seconds remaining in the half, sophomore guard Kendell Heremaia drifted into the corner before hitting a three to put Fordham up 32-27 heading into the half.

The Rams were on fire in the second quarter, making over 41 percent of their shots, and included going five of 11 from three in the quarter. They have hit five or fewer threes in nine complete games this season, including each of their past three losses.

In the second half, the Rams’ took the air out of the ball, often waiting until the final moments of the shot clock before shooting, though head coach Stephanie Gaitley said this was unintentional.

“We put a focus on playing 40 minutes of defense so that the offensive end is a bonus, and I think that helped,” she said.

Neither team scored for the first two minutes of the third quarter until guard Julijana Vojinovic scored on a fastbreak for the Dukes. The Rams came right down the court and responded with a three from senior guard Lauren Holden. After another minute and a half break, the teams traded threes on back-to-back possessions.

A Holden bucket with 5:02 left was the only field goal scored until 2:25 remained in the third, when the teams once again traded threes. There was a brief flurry of scoring to close the quarter, with a buzzer-beater from Downey giving the Rams a 12-point lead heading into the final quarter.

That lead was pushed as high as 17 points in the fourth quarter, where Duquesne out-scored Fordham 9-8, but the game was already well out of hand, allowing Gaitley to sub in her bench with one minute remaining.

Duquesne came into the game among the tops of the Atlantic 10 conference, a group Fordham has struggled against so far this season, but the Rams were able to notch their best conference win of the season so far. They did so on the back of one of their best shooting performances of the season, making almost 37 percent of their field goals and a robust 40 percent of their threes (making 10 of 25).

“Shooting is a funny thing — it’s about confidence and repetition,” said Gaitley. “Look at the NC State Men’s team that set a record for lowest amount of points during the shot clock era [Editor’s Note: NC State scored 24 points in a loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday]. They are a nationally ranked team. Sometimes you just can’t pinpoint an answer.”

Perhaps the most shocking part of the Rams’ fairly dominant victory was that they achieved it with a negligible offensive contribution from sophomore guard Bre Cavanaugh. She had a season-low four points on 1-11 shooting, missing all four of her three-point attempts. She did chip in elsewhere, pulling down six rebounds and handing out five assists, the latter a game-high. Overall, Fordham had 15 assists to 13 turnovers.

“I think beating a very good Duquesne team with Bre not scoring her average says a lot about the team as a whole,” said Gaitley. “Once we are all shooting well at the same time, we will be really tough!”

Lauren Holden was the Rams’ leading scorer with 15 points, tying her season high from last game. After a slow start, she hasbeen picking it up, scoring double-digit points in each of the last four games and five of her last six.

Heremaia led the team in made threes, hitting four of nine. She had 14 points, her best since scoring 17 against Texas on Nov. 25.

The win over Duquesne was the start of a three-game homestand for the Rams. Their next game is against Saint Louis at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6, and then they welcome George Mason at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10.