Women’s Basketball Holds On for Season-Opening Win Over Stony Brook


Anna DeWolfe (above) tied a career-high with 25 points in a win over Stony Brook on Wednesday. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Much like the last time it played, the Fordham women’s basketball team built a lead of nearly 20 points in the third quarter. And, much like the last time they played a game that counted, the Rams saw that lead steadily dwindle.

This time, though, Fordham held on for a victory.

The Rams took down Stony Brook 62-58 on Wednesday behind 23 points from sophomore guard Anna DeWolfe in the first half and a career-high 20 rebounds from junior forward Kaitlyn Downey. Fordham has started its season with a high-quality win, as Stony Brook went 28-3 a season ago and was scheduled to play in the America East Conference championship game on March 13, before it was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. Fordham also hung on despite losing an 18-point lead in the third quarter. Stony Brook had multiple chances to take the lead late in the game.

Fordham’s win also snaps a 20-game home winning streak for Stony Brook, which had been the third-longest home winning streak in the nation. Wednesday’s game at Island Federal Credit Union Arena in Stony Brook, New York was played without fans.

That was a great win for a lot of reasons — winning on the road and stopping their [win] streak, coming back after building a lead, seeing different kids stepping up to the challenge,” Fordham head coach Stephanie Gaitley told Fordham Athletics after the win.

DeWolfe sought her own shot all game long, en route to scoring 23 points in the first half. Fordham took a 39-25 lead into the half, and the Rams expanded that lead to 18 points early in the third quarter. At that point, the defending America East regular-season champions began to mount a charge.

The Seawolves went on a 17-3 run, led by junior guard Asiah Dingle, to cut the lead to four points early in the fourth quarter. Dingle finished the day as Stony Brook’s leading scorer, with 22 points and five rebounds. Senior forward India Pagan’s layup cut the lead to just a point with 6:33 to go.

The teams went back-and-forth for the next few minutes. The Seawolves had a handful of chances to tie the game or take the lead but were unable to cash in on any of them. With just over a minute to go, sophomore guard Sarah Karpell — who spent much of the game containing Stony Brook junior guard Anastasia Warren to six points — missed a midrange jumper. Downey pulled in her 19th rebound of the game and kicked back out to Karpell. The sophomore, who made just seven of 34 three-point attempts as a freshman, nailed a shot from the corner to give Fordham a five-point lead. After a pair of free throws from Pagan, Downey’s two made free throws put Fordham back up by five, and Fordham would go on to win 62-58.

Fordham’s success on Wednesday was largely due to its presence on the offensive glass. The Rams had 13 offensive rebounds on the game and outrebounded Stony Brook 39-28 overall. Downey had five offensive rebounds and senior guard Katie McLoughlin — making her first career start in her last season with the program — added another three to lead the way. The offensive rebounding afforded Fordham 12 second-chance points to Stony Brook’s eight, a difference that also constituted Fordham’s margin of victory. 

The performance wasn’t perfect for Fordham. Senior guard Kendell Heremaia was plagued by foul trouble all game and scored six points in 16 minutes. The Rams turned the ball over 19 times, an uncharacteristically high number for a team that had the fewest turnovers in the Atlantic 10 last season, with 11.6 per game.

The Rams are back in action on Dec. 5 at Quinnipiac. The team’s home opener against Manhattan College, scheduled for Dec. 2, has been canceled due to a positive COVID-19 test within the Jaspers program

But after an offseason like none other, one that saw Fordham have its 2019-20 season cut short and lose its best player, Fordham is more than happy to earn a victory to start its season. That the win came over one of the area’s best teams makes it even sweeter.