Fordham Women’s Basketball Hunting for More Silverware


Last year, Women’s Basketball left a lot to be desired at season’s end. The core returns for one last chance at the Atlantic 10 crown. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

A new era of Fordham Women’s Basketball will officially begin on Nov. 3 when the Rams take on Kutztown University in an exhibition game. Interim head coach Candice Green is tasked with leading the team into a world without former school staple and longtime head coach Stephanie Gaitley. It will undoubtedly be a large task, but with much of last year’s core returning, Green and her team will be in the hunt for an Atlantic 10 (A-10) Championship. 

Green had been an assistant coach at Fordham since 2019 before becoming the interim head coach. Prior to her start at Fordham, Green worked for head coach Bill Cleary at her alma mater Colgate University. Green herself once graced Colgate’s hardwood and served as team captain for two seasons. Her wealth of experience will be an asset to both experienced veterans and younger individuals trying to make their mark.

Last season, women’s basketball fell in the quarterfinal round of the A-10 tournament to the University of Massachusetts. Collectively, it seemed as though the team “ran out [of] gas.” One could plausibly say the decline started after a heartbreaking loss in Rhode Island. The Rams shot an abysmal 28% in the game and proceeded to lose six of their final eight contests. Key pieces struggled down the stretch and couldn’t seem to score against the Minutemen in the quarterfinal. Fordham went home empty-handed as a result. 

Senior guard Anna DeWolfe is back and looking to improve upon a stellar 2021-22 campaign in which she averaged a team high of 17.8 points per game. Additionally, graduate student guard Asiah Dingle and forward Kaitlyn Downey will also make impactful returns. Dingle led the team in assists last season, averaging 3.2 per game. Downey was a fierce defender last season. She provided over five rebounds per game and also contributed a team high of 22 total blocks on the season. 

This core will have to be even more effective given the loss of Kendell Heremaia. The former Ram was a major scorer and defensive presence. Graduate student forward Megan Jonassen will be forced to take on even more defensive responsibility. Green referred to her as an “energy person” during A-10 media day and highlighted her willingness to dive on loose balls and do other gritty things that help the team win. 

Even with Jonassen’s impact, Fordham will have to get a slew of contributions from players such as sophomore Colleen McQuillen, junior Matilda Flood and senior Sarah Karpell. It is essential they make an impact on defense. Each of these women has experience with the team and now have the chance to bridge the gap between good and exceptional. It’s no secret that great units tend to have great defenses. Last season, Fordham allowed the fourth fewest points per game in the A-10. This trend will have to remain stable if they are going to compete against the likes of the University of Rhode Island, UMass, the University of Dayton and the University of Richmond.

This season’s freshman crop is another aspect of the team that could help propel Fordham into the upper echelon of  A-10. If Faith Pappas, Rose Nelson, Kaila Berry or Ashley O’Connor are able to adapt to collegiate ball and the team’s defensive scheme quickly, the Rams will boast an added layer of depth that few teams possess. Specifically, Pappas and O’Connor add the sort of speed and athleticism that work well in the college game. If their game rapidly grows, it will afford Green the opportunity to give DeWolfe and Dingle some minutes off. Doing so would ultimately reduce the kind of burnout that seemed to plague the club last year. 

It will undoubtedly be a fascinating season for women’s hoops. It is evidently the start of a new era, but Fordham will have to rely on an experienced core that remembers past shortcomings as well as an unbridled enthusiasm on defense from younger contributors.

“This group is just so much fun to be around, all the buzzwords that you can think of — family, dedicated, accountable, etc. — this group has it. Losing in the [quarterfinals] last year hurt us all deeply,” said Green. “We have six seniors and grads with one more chance at this thing. And being honest I don’t know what’s going to happen at the end of this year in terms of myself [and the] staff as well. We’re all working with this quiet desperation to do everything we can to accomplish our goals.”