Women’s Basketball: Postseason Birth Ends in a Home Loss

Fordham earned their ninth postseason berth in the last 11 seasons. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Fordham earned their ninth postseason berth in the last 11 seasons. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

It was a strong season for  Fordham Women’s Basketball as they ended their season with a loss against the University of Massachusetts Minutewomen. It was a hard-fought battle, and the team was awaiting to hear about their offseason chances in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). The Rams got into the tournament for their sixth straight postseason berth, the ninth postseason berth in 11 years and their seventh WNIT berth all-time. Head coach Stephanie Gaitley and the team were not shy to this tournament and came in ready to play hard against tough opponents.

Fordham hosted their opening game against the Bucknell Bison this past Friday in the Rose Hill Gym. While most of campus was on spring break, there was a significant amount of fans who brought energy and excitement to the stands. Fordham fans everywhere knew that this game would be an exciting one to witness.

In the first few minutes of the game, Bucknell played hard and tough. Their players were ready to attack, but Fordham was right behind them, only three points behind as they headed into the second quarter. Graduate student Kendall Heremaia and senior Asiah Dingle contributed what they could, making sure that the Rams kept up with the Bison. Every chance they got, they tried to answer Taylor O’Brien’s hot hand for the Bison. Unfortunately, they were unable to keep up. 

Heremaia and Dingle had help from senior Kaitlyn Downey and junior Anna DeWolfe, who were able to get back on defense and block some shots. However, the Bison were a bigger team with a strong scorer. O’Brien did not let up and exploded for 35 points. The Rams did everything they could to stop her, with a full-court press and a double team, but she was out of their reach.

During the second quarter, the Rams were only able to score four points due to the large size of their opponent and their strong defense. The missed shots converted to rebounds, and points for the Bison helped secure their strong lead going into halftime. It was Emma Schafer who was able to box out the Rams and grab 12 rebounds, the most by a player on either side. Downey was right behind her with 12 boards, doing what she could to get those defensive rebounds and bring the ball back up the court. Despite this, the Rams were down 28-18 at the half, and things were not looking good.

Coming back from the break, the Bison wanted to secure their win. They led by as much as 23 points going into the fourth quarter, and the Rams knew that they were in trouble. However, they fought until the end, closing the season out strong. The Rams shot only 34.3% from the field, nowhere near the Bison’s mark of 48.0%. 

The Rams finished the season with a winning record of 18-11 overall. With only three losses at home, the Rams’ strong season was one that Gaitley was very proud of. “Tough finish to a solid season. Anytime you get invited to the postseason, you know you’ve had a good season. Hopefully we can build on this in the future.”

The team will lose seven seniors after this year, and they are looking forward to building on the success that they have had thus far.