Fordham Women’s Basketball Handles Saint Joseph’s in 51-36 Victory

Rams win fifth straight game, move into second place in A10 standings

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COURTESY OF FORDHAM ATHLETICS

Anna DeWolfe, FCRH ’23, celebrates following a score against Saint Joseph’s University.

By PATRICK MOQUIN

The Fordham women’s basketball team easily handled the Saint Joseph’s University Hawks on Friday, Feb. 12, cruising to a 51-36 victory. The Rams have now held opponents to less than 50 points on five occasions this season and statistically represent the second best defense in the Atlantic 10 (A10) conference.

Entering the game with a 7-2 conference record, Fordham entered with several obvious advantages over Saint Joseph’s, who stood at 3-5. In addition to home court advantage in the Bronx and a superior conference record, the Rams also led the Hawks on the season in nearly every statistical category on both offense and defense.

It became clear early in the first quarter that Fordham’s superiority went beyond an edge on paper. Kaitlyn Downey, Gabelli School of Business at Rose Hill (GSBRH) ’22, and Kendell Heremaia, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’21, scored three-pointers in the first three minutes to give the Rams a 6-0 lead. 

The team only scored five more points in the remainder of the quarter, but Saint Joseph’s only managed seven points on 14 shots after remaining scoreless for the first four minutes of play. As the first quarter ended, Fordham led 11-7.

In the second quarter, Fordham’s offense kicked into gear, though the offense showed more dimensions than it has in previous contests. Most of Fordham’s runs this season have come almost exclusively from Anna DeWolfe, FCRH ’23, who has had a stellar season as the Rams’ leading scorer.

For the first time all season, DeWolfe’s 13 points were not enough to make her Fordham’s leading scorer, as Downey scored 15 on a particularly productive day.

DeWolfe was certainly integral to Fordham’s productive quarter, scoring six points after a quiet first quarter. However, Downey proved to be an equally valuable contributor, scoring seven in an 18-point quarter for the team. Meanwhile, the Hawks only managed five points in 10 minutes, giving the Rams a 29-12 lead at halftime.

fordham basketball players in pink uniforms in a huddle after their game against saint joseph's
The women’s basketball team huddles around Head Coach Stephanie Gaitley. (COURTESY OF FORDHAM ATHLETICS)

Up 17 points with 20 minutes of play remaining, Fordham seemed to have the game well in hand, but Saint Joseph’s wasn’t done yet. After scoring just 12 points in the first half, the Hawks outscored the Rams 15-5 in the third quarter, shooting with 58% accuracy from the field after making four shots in the previous two quarters.

Saint Joseph’s belated effort closed the massive deficit somewhat, but Fordham still led 34-27 entering the fourth quarter. As quickly as the Hawks’ offense had kicked into gear, it stalled once more, as the team could only manage nine points in the final 10 minutes.

While Fordham’s defense resumed control over its opponents, the offense also returned to form, as five different players contributed to a 17-point quarter. With the game nearly over and the Hawks’ comeback snuffed, the Rams cruised to an easy 51-36 victory, their fifth straight win in A10 conference play.

For the first time all season, DeWolfe’s 13 points were not enough to make her Fordham’s leading scorer, as Downey scored 15 on a particularly productive day. Heremaia also had a considerable share, scoring 12 points on 11 shots. 

Despite a brief flurry in the third quarter, Fordham still held Saint Joseph’s to a 27% shooting percentage over the course of the game.

Despite DeWolfe’s slow day, certain facets of Fordham’s game held strong. The team scored seven three-pointers from four different players, and Downey and Katie McLoughlin, GSBRH ’21, collected 22 rebounds combined, bolstering Fordham’s fierce paint presence even further. Head Coach Coach Stephanie Gaitley was quick to point out the team’s resourcefulness after the game.

“Great team win with a few great individual efforts by Kaitlyn and Katie,” Gaitley said. “We struggled to score in the third quarter but we stayed tough defensively and that was the difference!”

Despite a brief flurry in the third quarter, Fordham still held Saint Joseph’s to a 27% shooting percentage over the course of the game. The Rams’ offense wasn’t notable for its production, but their defense smothered the Hawks and prevented any chance of an upset.

As the A10 Tournament draws closer, Fordham still has several important games remaining on its schedule to determine their seeding, including one against Dayton University, which remains undefeated in A10 conference play. The Rams will have to face much stiffer competition than Saint Joseph’s if they plan to win their third A10 championship title, but victories like this one demonstrate that the team has the fundamental acumen to compete with anyone remaining in their path.