Kendell Heremaia Brings Fordham to Seventh Win at Manhattan

Surprise win by the Rams gives Fordham claim over the Bronx for 10th straight year

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COURTESY OF FORDHAM ATHLETICS

Kendell Heremaia, (GSAS) ’23, scored Fordham’s winning and final point of the game.

By GABRIELLA BERMUDEZ

The Fordham women’s basketball team maintained control of the Bronx for another year, defeating the Manhattan College (MC) Jaspers 65-63 on a game-winning shot by Kendell Heremaia, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) ’23, in the closing seconds. Fordham is now 7-3 this season despite Head Coach Stephanie Gaitley’s most competitive schedule yet. 

This summer, both programs lost a beloved staff member when Sonia Burke-Quarless passed away in July after a battle with cancer. Burke-Quarless served as an assistant coach at Fordham from 2017-21 and previously spent 13 seasons at Manhattan. In the colleges’ first matchup since her passing, both teams left an empty seat on their benches for the late assistant coach. All of the Rams wore matching shirts with the phrase, “Be where your feet are,” something Burke-Quarless would often tell her athletes. 

After Burke-Quarless passed, Kaitlyn Downey, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’22, described in a previous interview with The Observer how the team planned to honor its “Be where your feet are” motto.

“Living in the moment is going to be the theme for us this season.” Kaitlyn Downey, FCRH ’22

“Living in the moment is going to be the theme for us this season,” Downey explained last August. “We never know when our time’s up, so we’re going to maximize every minute we’re on the court, every practice and every drill that we’re part of.” 

The game began with a layup by Petra Juric, MC ’25, and Manhattan continued to make shots over the course of the next three minutes to take a 7-0 lead. Almost four minutes into the quarter, Anna DeWolfe, FCRH ’23, finally put Fordham on the scoreboard with a three.

Dee Dee Davis, MC ’23, was Manhattan’s leading scorer over the course of the game. Davis seemed to be comfortable at Rose Hill as she dominated Fordham’s court with 27 points in total. In the first quarter, she gave the Jaspers their 11th point, but her biggest competitor in this game, Heremaia, scored seconds later to keep the game within six points.

This was until Heremaia increased the volume by three with a clean shot at the three-point line.

In the remaining five minutes of the quarter, Fordham only scored twice on a pair of three-pointers. The Jaspers continued to feed the net and scored 10 more points as they found their strength with three-pointers. 

The second quarter began silently as both teams missed multiple shots. This was until Heremaia increased the volume by three with a clean shot at the three-point line. But then Davis and Courtney Warley, Manhattan College Graduate School ’23, increased the Jaspers’ lead to 10 with two jump shots. DeWolfe and Heremaia did not want to see the Jaspers lead in the double digits again. When the Jaspers rose to 25, DeWolfe brought Fordham to 17 with her fourth three-pointer of the game. 

Halfway through the second quarter, Asiah Dingle, FCRH ’22, got her first shot of the game with a jumper that shortened Manhattan’s lead to eight. Every time one of these Bronx-based teams scored, the other returned the favor. The gap would not close until DeWolfe went on a run, scoring 10 points within two minutes. 

DeWolfe carried the ball to multiple spots in a hurried attempt to find a shot. Fordham’s usual ability to pass the ball around the paint was hindered by the Jaspers’ player-to-player defense. The Rams eventually came through before the shot clock ran out and set up screens for DeWolfe to make a layup. But on her way to make the shot, DeWolfe was hit in the chest by a Jasper. The hit left DeWolfe winded and struggling to catch her breath, but she still was able to make a successful foul shot.  

DeWolfe had put the Rams in the lead for the first time this game 32-31. 

Brazil Harvey-Carr, MC ’23, started off the third quarter with strong moves as her three-pointer broke the 33-33 tie. Not even three minutes later, she whipped through the line of defenders and scored a layup, bringing the score to 38-33. 

The Rams reestablished a five-point lead at the end of the quarter on two free throw shots by Heremaia.

For three minutes Heremaia and DeWolfe were the only scorers as the Jaspers offered Fordham turnovers and rebounds from missed shots. Two three-pointers from DeWolfe put the Rams in the lead again by five points, but Fordham’s shooting streak was broken as Jenna Jordan, MC ’23, made a layup. The Rams reestablished a five-point lead at the end of the quarter on two free throw shots by Heremaia. The score was 49-44.

Fordham started the fourth quarter maintaining their lead against Manhattan as Heremaia added an extra two points to the scoreboard with a jump shot. Arguably, halfway through the quarter, when Manhattan stood with 52 points and Fordham 54, is when the true “Battle of the Bronx” began.

With 5:02 remaining, Davis made a three-point shot to put the Jaspers back in the lead, 55-54. Both teams were fighting hard to reach 60 points, but soon the number on the scoreboard reached 61 for both teams with 49 seconds left in the game. 

A jump shot from Davis intensified the game, and, seemingly, the odds were in favor of Manhattan. But then a foul by Christina Katsamouri, MC ’23, put Downey on the free throw line where she tied the score.

DeWolfe and Heremaia led Fordham to victory in the Bronx.

63-63 with 23 seconds left in the game, Davis lost the ball to Sarah Karpell, FCRH ’23. Karpell sent the ball to Heremaia who made the jump shot with less than a second left. 

The game did not end there. Each team took turns using their remaining timeouts with just 0.1 seconds remaining. Manhattan Head Coach Heather Vulin subbed in new players, poising the team for an overtime bid. 

The 0.1 seconds lasted two minutes as the Jaspers inbounded the ball, but to no avail. With no one making contact with the ball, the time had to restart. The game ended with the ball in DeWolfe’s hands. Although DeWolfe did not score in the fourth quarter, she scored 27 of the Rams’ 65 points. DeWolfe and Heremaia led Fordham to victory in the Bronx. 

The athleticism, intelligence and strategy shown by both teams in this game truly proved that the message “where their feet are” continues to be their motto.