Women’s Basketball Blows Past Charlotte as Offense Combusts

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Women’s Basketball Blows Past Charlotte as Offense Combusts

Alex Wolz/The Fordham Ram

Alex Wolz/The Fordham Ram

Alex Wolz/The Fordham Ram

Alex Wolz/The Fordham Ram

Jimmy Sullivan, Sports Editor

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Fordham Women’s Basketball coach Stephanie Gaitley’s teams are known for playing hard-nosed defense and making opposing offenses earn every point. That being said, the Rams don’t mind offensive outbursts every now and again.

The Rams got one such explosion on Sunday.

Fordham took down previously undefeated Charlotte by the lopsided final of 76–51 in Fordham’s largest victory since its triumph over Duquesne in last season’s A-10 semifinal. The Rams entered the game with a record of just 1–4 and looked to add some momentum ahead of a two-game trip to the Bahamas over Thanksgiving break; the Rams achieved that on Sunday. For the second straight game, Fordham got impressive contributions from its supporting cast.

The Rams drilled five three-pointers to account for 15 of their 21 points in the first quarter. Four of these five shots came from junior Bre Cavanaugh and sophomore Kaitlyn Downey to give Fordham a 21–12 lead after 10 minutes. As it turned out, the first quarter would account for half of Cavanaugh’s points on the day, as she finished with 12. Downey, on the other hand, had a lot more where that came from.

Fordham blew the lead out to double digits with over eight minutes left in the half on a three-pointer by freshman Anna DeWolfe, who soon caught fire en route to the best game of her young Fordham career. The Rams dropped 23 points in the second quarter, with DeWolfe and Downey combining for 18 of them. All in all, DeWolfe, Downey and Cavanaugh combined for 34 points in the first half, and Fordham was up by 19, 44–25. It marked the highest first-half output for the Rams since the aforementioned 2019 Atlantic 10 semifinal, and it showed how capable Fordham was of breaking out offensively once the team’s shots started to drop. The Rams made 10 threes in the first half and finished the game with 15, the second-most in a game in the history of the program.

In the second half, Fordham didn’t take its foot off the gas. The Rams outscored the host 49ers by six and, more importantly, kept the game out of shouting distance for Charlotte the rest of the half. Downey finished the game with 24 points and DeWolfe continued her tear in the second half, finishing with 25 points on 10–22 shooting and 4–11 from deep. For her role in the Rams’ two victories during the week, DeWolfe earned Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honors, averaging 20 points per game in victories over Northeastern and Charlotte.

With the win, Fordham moves to 2–4, entering a very important portion of its out-of-conference slate. The Rams will travel to the Bahamas on Wednesday in preparations to face nationally-ranked Arkansas on Friday afternoon at the Bahamas Hoopfest. The Razorbacks will be the second nationally-ranked opponent Fordham has faced this year, with the first being Notre Dame in the season opener. Then, the Rams will take on Lehigh Saturday afternoon. The two opponents are a combined 10–1 on the season, and the games will be no easy task for Fordham.

However, the Rams can worry about those over the next couple of days. As for now, they can briefly enjoy a good victory against a Charlotte team that had been teams like Richmond — whom the Rams will see during A-10 play — and Wake Forest by double digits. Sunday was the best performance of the Rams’ season, and Fordham should be competitive abroad if it can find a way to replicate it.