Women's Basketball Prepping for Three Games at this Weekend's Gulf Coast Showcase
Bronx, N.Y. – The Fordham women's basketball team (2-2) snapped a two-game skid with a 71-64 come-from-behind win over Charlotte on Sunday. Now the Rams must turn their attention to this weekend's Gulf Coast Showcase where they will play three games over three days down in Florida. First up is Ball State (1-2) on Friday morning at 11 a.m. Depending on the result, Fordham will then play either RV/RV Duke (2-1) or Washington (2-1) on Saturday. Ways to Follow Along All three games will be streamed online at GulfCoastShowcase.com. Individual games will cost a $9.95 fee, while the entire tournament carries a $24.95 fee. Fans can listen along with the call on WFUV, however, for free. All links are above. Last Time Out The Rams bounced back from a tough loss to Penn State in midweek with an impressive comeback win over Charlotte on Sunday, outscoring the 49ers, 42-28, in the second half. The visitors raced out to an 11-point lead, 15-4, by the 4:34 mark of the first quarter but the hosts regrouped to get within five, 20-15, by the end of the period. The Rams didn't take long to tie things up, with a Bre Cavanaugh triple on the team's first possession and a Lauren Holden layup following a pair of offensive boards, and the two teams traded blows for the next several minutes. Charlotte finished strong, though, with a 7-0 run to lead by that margin, 36-29, at the half. Fordham came out of the interval looking rejuvenated and held the 49ers without a point for the second half's first six minutes. The Rams scored 11 unanswered points during that time to take a four-point lead with each of the five starters scoring the first nine points. The 49ers were able to tie things up and took the lead, 44-42, heading into the final 10 minutes but the Rams' Kiwi contingent went off to give the hosts the win. Kendell Heremaia and Zara Jillings combined for five points to take the lead for good before Goulding went into action with her personal scoring barrage, adding two blocks and a steal during it, too. Fordham hit 10-of-14 attempts in the period (71.4%) and all eight free throws down the stretch. Cavanaugh led the way with her second 20-point effort of the season followed by Goulding's 16-point, 12-rebound double-double. Heremaia notched a career-high 14 points, while Holden and Jillings each chipped in seven points. Megan Jonassen came off the bench for three points and a season-high six rebounds, four coming on the offensive glass. Series History vs. Ball State The two schools have never met. Holding Onto the Rock The Rams turned the ball over just six times against Charlotte on Sunday, the lowest number since Coach Gaitley's 600th career victory last January 25th against St. Bonaventure, when they had just 10. It's also the first single-digit turnover game since the Rams had eight against Dayton last January 17th and the first time with six or less since the team committed six against Iona last December 9th. Kiwis Coming Through Fordham's Kiwi contingent of Mary Goulding, Kendell Heremaia, and Zara Jillings combined for 37 points against Charlotte, including 22 in the fourth quarter alone out of the team's 29 points. Jillings hit a three-pointer in the corner then fed Heremaia for a layup to retake the lead for good and Goulding then scored 12 points the rest of the way, all from the field, to secure the victory. Goulding is averaging a double-double on the year (13 points, 10 rebounds), and Heremaia, over her four starts, is third on the team with a 9.8 points per game average, setting two new career-highs along the way, and is shooting a blistering 55.2% on 29 attempts from the field and 53.8% from downtown (7-of-13). Jillings leads the bench in scoring with 3.8 points per game and is shooting 42.9% from the field. Three Games in Three Days This weekend's Gulf Coast Showcase features three games in three days, a tough ask for any team. The last time the Rams have done that, they won the 2014 Atlantic 10 championship, winning three times in three days to secure its lone conference title. You'd have to go back to the pre-Gaitley days for the last instance in the regular season, under Cathy Andruzzi in 2010 at the Kansas Classic in Lawrence, where the Rams fell in all three games but took RV/RV Kansas to overtime. It's also the eighth time since 1979 the program has played three days straight. Crashing the Offensive Glass Last year, nearly one-third of the Rams' 1,268 total rebounds came on the offensive glass (408). Fordham lost leading rebounder G'mrice Davis and freshman Johanna Klug in the offseason but the Rams haven't missed a beat thus far in 2018-19, hauling in just under 40% of their total boards on the offensive glass (64-of-161 - 39.7%). Four different Rams already have double-digit offensive boards. Mary Goulding has an even 20-20 split on both ends of the floor, Kaitlyn Downey has 11 offensive boards out of 25, Bre Cavanaugh has 10-of-30 on the offensive end, and Megan Jonassen has 10-of-16 off the bench. 11 different Rams have tallied at least one offensive board this year and eight have at least two. Fordham started the year with either 41 or 42 rebounds in the first three games, and between 14 and 19 offensive rebounds in each, and grabbed 15-of-36 on the offensive glass against Charlotte. Shooting Woes After opening the season by shooting 43.3% from the field and 40.9% from behind the arc against Wagner, the Rams have struggled with their shot in four of the six halves since. At Northeastern, Fordham hit just 20-of-70 attempts (28.6%), including 4-of-27 from three-point territory (14.8%). The Rams shot under 30% just once all of last year, against nationally-ranked UCLA (19.6%) and would've done it again against Penn State (31.4%) if not for a scorching-hot start to the contest, with the team hitting 10-of-20 attempts from the field. The Fordham offense hit just 5-of-15 shots in the first quarter against Charlotte and 6-of-21 (28.6%) in the second quarter, but rebounded with an impressive 16-of-29 performance in the second half, featuring a 10-of-14 shooting performance over the final 10 minutes (71.4%) to finish the game at 41.5%. The Rams continued to struggle from deep, though, hitting just 4-of-21 attempts (19.0%). Heremaia's Career Night Sophomore Kendell Heremaia has started all four games thus far this year. The New Zealand international made a statement on opening night against Wagner, delivering an efficient and career-high 13 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists, matching and setting her career-highs, respectively. Heremaia outdid herself with 14 points against Charlotte with a personal-best six field goals on Sunday. She made seven starts in 33 appearances as a freshman last year. For A Good Cause Fordham attempted 27 free throws from the charity stripe in the season-opening win over Wagner, the most since an 85-72 win over Davidson two seasons ago. The Rams last year tied the program record for free-throw percentage, hitting 76.9% of their attempts, and are at 71.9% through four games this year. Bre Cavanaugh leads the team with 24 free-throw attempts, sinking 19 of them for a 79.2% average, with Kaitlyn Downey (8-of-12) and Lauren Holden (7-of-8) behind her. Cavanaugh ranks 58th in the country in makes and 80th in attempts thus far. Holden Ascending the All-Time Ranks Having played the ninth-most minutes in Fordham history, it's no surprise to see Lauren Holden's name already in the record book. The Cape May, N.J. native's lone three against Wagner broke a tie for seventh all-time with Becky Peters ('12), while her 84.0% career rate from the free-throw line sits in a tie for sixth with Lisa Carrol ('07). She is also on pace to become the 21st member of the program's 1,000-point club, currently at 860, as well as enter the top-five for games played and stated, currently at 102 and 87, respectively. Five Fordham Debuts Five Rams made their collegiate debuts on Friday night against Wagner. Kaitlyn Downey got the start and scored 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the floor and 4-of-7 from the line across 19 minutes to go with five boards, an assist, and a steal. Redshirt freshman Vilisi Tavui scored four points with a pair of steals in 10 minutes off the bench and was joined by true freshmen Chloe Chaffin, Megan Jonassen, and Catherine Polisano. Polisano hit a first-quarter three for her lone points of the game, Jonassen scored two points and hauled in a pair of offensive rebounds, and Chaffin grabbed three boards and made one of her two freebies. There were five debuts a year ago, as well, the most since 2011. Gaitley Gets Career Win Number 600 Stephanie Gaitley got her first career win against Siena in December 28, 1985. She got her 500th career victory while at Fordham, against Temple on March 10, 2013, in the Atlantic 10 Championship semifinals in Philadelphia. After stops at Richmond, Saint Joseph's, LIU Brooklyn, Monmouth, and now in the Bronx, the Ocean City, N.J. native can claim what less than 70 coaches all-time can: 600 career wins. She did it with a 72-48 win over St. Bonaventure on January 25th of this year, on her birthday, to boot, and currently holds a 610-358 all-time record. She became the program's all-time winningest coach in 2016, also against the Bonnies, and has a 146-87 record with the Rams. While with three different schools in the A-10 over her career, she also has the second-most conference wins, 177, but is behind George Washington's Joe McKeown by 63. 20 Wins Last year's Rams finished 24-10, the fifth-most wins in a single year in school history. It was the second consecutive year Fordham has finished with 20 or more wins and the fifth time under Coach Gaitley since 2011-12. The program has only ever had 10 20-win seasons: three with Kathy Mosolino (1977-80), one under Christina Wielgus (1991-92), and one under Kevin Morris (1993-94). It was Gaitley's 17th time winning 20 games or more in her 32-year career. Top-15 Ranked Defense Gaitley's Rams are known for their stout defense and last year was no different. Fordham allowed just 56.1 points per game to opponents, which ranked 15th in the country. The Rams allowed just 13 60-point games and held an 11-0 record when opponents scored below 50 points. Two big reasons why was holding opponents to just 29.7% shooting from behind the arc, one of the lowest marks in the country, and outrebounding foes by a margin of 6.6 boards per contest. Under Gaitley, the Rams have been a top-50 defense in all seven seasons and have finished within the top-20 in half of them. Defense, Defense, Defense No stat better represents the Gaitley-infused defense than Fordham's 56-5 record when holding opponents under 50 points during her tenure. Two Januarys ago, Saint Joseph's defeated the Rams, 47-44, at Hagan Arena in Philadelphia, ending a streak of 38 consecutive contests with such victories. The last time before that loss, coincidentally, was also against the Hawks, in the 2013 A-10 Championship game at the Barclays Center, 47-46. Since that streak ended, the Rams have rattled off 14 such wins. Fordham is 21-1 in its last 22 contests with rivals scoring under 50 points. This Is Our House Since Gaitley took over before the 2011-12 season, the Rams hold an 88-28 (75.9%) record at home across 116 contests. Over the last two-plus seasons, the Rams are 33-7 in the Bronx, including a 13-3 mark in conference play. Last year, Fordham finished 15-3 at home overall and 6-2 in league action. On the flip side, including last year's 9-6 mark, Gaitley's Rams are 58-60 (49.2%) on the road or on neutral ground during her tenure. Got a Minute? Senior co-captain Lauren Holden set a new Fordham record with 1,333 minutes played last year, which ranked fourth in the country and second on a per-game basis (39.2). Holden went the distance on 21 separate occasions last year, including two 50-minute efforts. Aside from two blowout wins and 33 minutes against Northern Colorado due to foul trouble, Holden played at least 35 minutes in every contest and at least 39 in 23. A starter midway through her freshman year, Holden became the 15th Ram to surpass 3,000 career minutes, now up to 3,327 for her career, which ranks ninth all-time, recently passing Annie Zopf ('09) against Charlotte. She will likely pass Denise Hammersley ('95), who has 3,349, for eighth all-time against Ball State. Bre Cavanaugh, meanwhile, was right alongside her last year with the second-most minutes played in a single season, finishing at 1,306 minutes played and 38.4 per game, ranked ninth and sixth, respectively. Gaitley's 3-and-D Rams Under Coach Gaitley, the Rams have finished within the top-50 in scoring defense in all seven seasons and within the top-25 in four of those. Her Rams have also tallied the top four three-point totals in school history, with last year's 186 ranking fourth all-time. The record is 244 set by the Atlantic 10 championship-winning team of 2013-14. Bre's 37-Point Night Bre Cavanaugh set a Fordham freshman record in double overtime at Saint Louis, dropping 37 points on 12-of-30 shooting, 5-of-8 from three-point range, and hitting all eight of her free throw attempts, all over 48 of 50 possible minutes. The 37 points ended up being a season-high among all Atlantic 10 players. Cavanaugh became just the third freshman to ever tally multiple 30-point games, along with Fordham Hall of Famers Anne Gregory O'Connell, Sharon Nast, and Jeanine Radice. In fact, only six players have ever had multiple 30-point performances in a single campaign. Both Cavanaugh's 12 field goals and five triples were both season-highs as were her 30 attempts, the latter also leading the conference last year. The Allamuchy, N.J. native scored the final eight points for Fordham in regulation, including clutch free throws with 10 seconds left to tie the game up, and eight more points in overtime. Up Next Fordham will play either RV/RV Duke or Washington on Saturday depending on the results of the two games. After the weekend, the Rams will remain on the road for next week's match-up at Georgetown, as well, which is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday.