Fordham Women’s Basketball Steals Win Over George Mason


Junior guard Bre Cavanaugh scored a game-high 22 points for the Rams en route to a 64-53 win over George Mason. (Courtesy of Mackenzie Cranna/ The Fordham Ram)

By Jack Mcloone

Stealing a win implies snatching a late victory that you maybe do not deserve. This was not the case for Fordham Women’s Basketball on Sunday against the George Mason Patriots. In that instance, it meant generating 15 steals — the most since 2013 — en route to a 64-53 Fordham win. It was the fourth straight win for the Rams, who are now 17-8, including 8-3 in Atlantic 10 play. They are now third in the conference.

All but one of the Rams who appeared in this game recorded at least one steal, and the Patriots overall committed 20 turnovers. The stat sheet for the Rams is a weird one in comparison: they had fewer turnovers (10), assists (13), fouls (13) and just as many defensive rebounds as they did steals. They scored 21 points off of said turnovers.

Despite the impressive turnover numbers, the Rams struggled when it came to actually defending shot attempts, with George Mason getting a number of open looks. The Patriots shot over 46 percent from the field. However, they still scored 10 points below their season average, a goal head coach Stephanie Gaitley has for her team every game. Ever the defensive perfectionist, she was not completely happy with the performance.

“We were not as locked into individual strengths and weaknesses as we should have been, which attributed to high shooting percentages,” said Gaitley. “However, our team defense in the half court was outstanding which resulted in 15 steals.”

The Rams started the game behind, with the Patriots hitting their first four shots in the first two minutes, taking an 8-4 lead. A minute later, the Rams tied it at 10. Two minutes after that, senior forward Mary Goulding hit a jumper in the paint to put the Rams up 12-11. The game never tied again after that, and it was the start of a 9-0 run to close the quarter up 19-11.

With three minutes left in the second quarter, the Patriots whittled the Rams’ lead down to three, 26-23. The Rams answered with a barrage of threes, hitting four of five attempts from deep and holding the Patriots to just three points over that span to take a 38-27 lead into the half.

Three of those deep balls came from redshirt sophomore guard Bre Cavanaugh, who seems to have finally snapped out of a long funk. She scored a game-high of 22 points on 8-19 shooting, including 4-11 from three. While it still was not a particularly efficient outing, she played with much more confidence than she has in the past few weeks, driving with authority and not hesitating to shoot.

“It was great to see Bre playing with her normal high level of confidence. We had a few talks and she did some extra shooting to help her with getting lots of repetition,” said Gaitley. “Hey, when you have college courses you need to study to be successful. It’s no different with a sport; you need to put in extra time to your craft as well.”

The second half was a more even affair, quite literally, with both sides scoring 26 points over the final two quarters, allowing the Rams to take the double-digit win, their third of this winning streak and sixth in A-10 play.

Goulding continued her recent offensive outburst, scoring a season-high 19 points, also trying her career-high and pulling down seven rebounds. She also notched four steals, a team high. Goulding averaged a double-double over the Rams last two games, earning her A-10 Player of the Week honors for the second time this season.

The Rams played in front of a full and pink crowd thanks to the intersection of three different events: Alumni Day, International Women in Sports Day and Think Pink Day.

“I think the kids are motivated for game day in general but between Alumni Day, Women in Sports day and playing for loved ones battling cancer, the team had much to be motivated for,” said Gaitley.

After rebounding from a skid where they lost three out of four with their recent three-game homestand, the Rams are headed back on the road starting Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Davidson. The Rams lost a close game at home against the Wildcats on Jan. 27, 60-56, thanks to a 23-point fourth quarter for the visiting team. Davidson is currently second in the A-10.

The Rams will follow-up that game with another road game on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 1 p.m. against St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies are currently 10th in the A-10.