Women’s Basketball Wins Share of First Regular Season A-10 Title


Women’s Basketball made history by securing a share of its first ever Atlantic 10 regular season title. (Courtesy of Mackenzie Cranna/The Fordham Ram)

By Jack Mcloone

For years now, Fordham Women’s Basketball has consistently been the best team on campus, playing its way into the postseason more often than not. Despite all that success, one thing continued to evade the team: an Atlantic 10 regular season title. While the Rams have to settle for a share of the title with the Rams of Virginia Commonwealth University, they can finally cross that achievement off the list by closing the regular season on a nine-game winning streak.

“To win the regular season just speaks volumes about the kids’ resiliency and toughness during a long season that offers highs and lows,” said head coach Stephanie Gaitley. “With the regular season title and 13 conference wins, this team has now etched their place in Fordham Women’s Basketball history.”

The Rams finished the regular season 22-8 and 13-3 in conference play. It was their best regular season performance since the 2013-14 season, when they won the A-10 Championship.

“From day one, I have spoken about this team’s chemistry,” said Gaitley when asked what set this team apart from others. “They are a selfless group that embodies the “we” before the “me.” They have been a pleasure to coach every day.”

The Rams wrapped up their regular season on the road with a 51-41 win over St. Joseph’s University. They entered the game playing just for the title, having already clinched a bye through the first round.

But the title, plus their continued success, was enough motivation.

The majority of the scoring was an amplified version of the final stretch of the season for the Rams, but magnified. Senior forward Mary Goulding and redshirt sophomore guard Bre Cavanaugh outscored the Hawks on their own, tallying a combined 42 points.

“Bre and Mary have been critical pieces to our success,” said Gaitley. “Mary has been a model of consistency across the board. With the exception of scoring, she leads us in every category. As far as Bre, she singlehandedly kept us in the St Joe’s game. It’s exciting to think how good we will be with all the players contributing offensively.”

The Rams got off to a slow start, failing to get on the board until Cavanaugh hit two free throws with 7:28 remaining in the first quarter. The defense had been playing well. However, those points tied the game at two. The offense took a bit to click, as the Rams were trailing 7-4 a little over halfway through the quarter. But over the final 4:30 of the quarter, Fordham outscored St. Joseph’s 15-8 to take a 19-15 lead at the break.

In the opening quarter, all but two points (the Rams’ first made basket, a jumper from sophomore guard Kendell Heremaia) were scored by Cavanaugh and Goulding.

The second quarter was a lot slower for the Rams. Cavanaugh opened the quarter with a three on their first possession, but they didn’t score again until she hit another with 6:41 left to play in the quarter. It was the Rams’ final made baskets of the half (Heremaia hit a single free throw) and the Rams were out-scored 12-7 on the quarter. After leading by as much as eight in the quarter, the Rams entered halftime down one, 27-26.

Like they have all season long, the Rams refocused on defense in the second half to grind out another win to end their season. St. Joseph’s was unable to break double digits in either of the final two quarters, held to just six in the third and eight in the fourth. Meanwhile, the Rams scored 10 and 15, respectively. A jumper in the paint by senior point guard Lauren Holden gave the Rams a two-point lead, which they held onto through the rest of the game.

Cavanaugh finished with 26 points on 8-17 shooting, including a deadly 5-8 from three (she also hit 5-8 free throws). Goulding picked up a double-double, her ninth of the season, with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

The Rams will play their first game of the A-10 Championships on Friday, March 8 at 4:30 p.m. They will face the winner of the matchup between George Mason University and the University of Massachusetts. The Rams beat both of those teams by double-digits in the regular season: the Patriots 64-53 on Feb. 10 and the Minutemen 76-64 on Feb. 24.