Cavanaugh, Goulding Earn First Team All-A-10 Honors

By Jimmy Sullivan 

There are five spots on the Atlantic 10 Conference’s first team. Two of them will be occupied by Fordham Rams, as redshirt sophomore guard Bre Cavanaugh and senior forward Mary Goulding have been named to the all-A-10 first team for the 2018-19 season.

“This team has embodied the true meaning of ‘’team’’ since day one last summer,”” Fordham head coach Stephanie Gaitley told Fordham Athletics. “Their unselfishness and their ability to stay together has guided them through this season’’s highs and lows. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when no one cares who gets the credit. They are a pleasure to coach and I look forward to seeing them reach even greater heights.”

This is the second all-conference honor for Cavanaugh, who earned a second-team distinction as well as an all-rookie team nod for her role in leading Fordham to the WNIT Sweet 16 last season. Ironically, Cavanaugh’s scoring and shooting figures have taken a slight step back from last season, but she averaged six-and-a-half rebounds per game this season, which was just outside the top ten in the conference. Moreover, all of the players ahead of her on that list are taller than Cavanaugh, who stands at just 5’8”.

Cavanaugh has also gotten hot at the right time, averaging 21 points per game over the past three contests, including a 26-point performance against St. Joseph’s University and a 27-point outing in a Feb. 24 win over Massachusetts University, who will face Fordham in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals on Friday.

Perhaps most impressively, Cavanaugh was one of head coach Stephanie Gaitley’s iron horses, playing over 38 minutes per game on the season and starting every game. She continued, and perhaps improved, her strong defensive play, in spite of missing out on this year’s all-defensive team.

“Bre has improved her overall game and had to be a top candidate for Player of the Year,” Gaitley told Fordham Athletics. “All her numbers have increased across the board and she has been instrumental in our regular season title.” The A-10 Player of the Year award went to George Mason sophomore guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary.

More or less, Cavanaugh was expected to accomplish this, as a preseason all-conference selection. The other star of the Fordham Women’s Basketball season, however, took some by surprise: senior Mary Goulding.

Goulding was not named to any of the preseason all-conference teams, despite her defensive prowess and senior leadership. It did not take her long to prove the voters wrong.

Goulding emerged in A-10 play as one of the best two-way players in the conference, averaging over nine rebounds and 13 points per game in 16 A-10 contests. Her most impressive development came on the offensive end, where she blossomed into a dangerous three-point shooter (37 percent on the season) and great passer (just over three assists per game, leading the team). As usual, she was versatile defensively, where she could guard anyone on the floor and do it as well as anyone in the conference.

The senior from New Zealand did not win the A-10’s Most Improved Player award, despite being an obvious candidate. For her money, Gaitley believes Goulding should have won the award.

“Mary has had a storybook senior year. Her game, her leadership, and her confidence has grown every day,” Gaitley told Fordham Athletics. “She leads us in every category but scoring. In my opinion, she is the most improved player in the conference.”

The honors for the two Fordham standouts come on the eve of the team’s quarterfinal matchup against UMass in the A-10 tournament. Fordham is looking to win that tournament and clinch an automatic bid to their first NCAA Tournament since the 2013-14 season.

This is an auspicious honor for two players who, like the rest of the Fordham women’s basketball team, emphasize team success over individual accolades. No matter what, though, Cavanaugh and Goulding will take pride in this achievement. They will take even more pride in three more wins between now and Sunday.