Fordham and VCU lock horns as Rose Hill Rams Edge Victory

The Rams of New York battled valiantly in their second Atlantic 10 game of the 2023 season



Asiah Dingle’s game winning shot, 60-59.


The Fordham Rams gained their third consecutive win on Jan. 4 against the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Rams, 60-59. Despite a slow start in the first quarter the New York team was able to turn the tide and come out on top.

VCU established a strong dominance in the Rose Hill Gymnasium early. Virginia won the tip-off and set the pace. 

VCU’s passing game looked refined; below their basket, they kept the ball moving until one player was safe to make the shot. Virignia’s offense centered upon, and ran through,  Sarah Te-Biasu, VCU ’24. The guard created high percentage opportunities for both herself and her teammates. This season Te-Biasu has averaged 14.5 points per game. The desire to continue this high level scoring was on full display, Te-Biasu scored 20 seconds into the game.

As gameday approached the question that loomed over Fordham fans was whether Anna DeWolfe, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’23, would be able to match up to, let alone exceed, Te-Biasu. By the end of the first quarter, the answer to this question became clear. Te-Biasu and the VCU Rams applied significant pressure and intensity on Fordham, who were unable to keep the game slow or control the momentum that VCU created. 

The Fordham Rams can be described as tactically malleable.

Defensible Fordham set the tone at the start of the game. The home team were competitive, fiery and chippy. Urgo’s team were locked in and active which forced turnovers. Repeatedly, Fordham failed to convert off of defensive successes, allowing VCU to come back for another steal and make a shot due to Fordham’s hesitance underneath the basket, missed shots or too much pressure from VCU. 

Fordham finally put themselves on the scoreboard, 5-2 with 7:40 left in the quarter.DeWolfe’s shot injected a sense of urgency in the Bronx hoopers, but VCU was relentless.. 

Two minutes later, with 5:15 remaining, VCU put up four more points before Asiah Dingle, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) ’23, scored a three, recognizing loose perimeter defense. It should be noted that daring Dingle to shoot rarely ends well for defenses, as she has hit from long range at an efficient 38% clip this season. 

That shot was a brief second of fresh air for the Fordham Rams as each VCU player focused on receiving another rebound off of Dingle instead of blocking the shot, closing VCU’s lead, 9-5. 

Fordham miscues were a big part of their lack of offensive dominance. With two minutes remaining, the Rams were down 14-7. Dingle tried to pass to Downey through a crowded lane. The ball was intercepted, and VCU was able to convert  their 15th and 16th points. 

Dingle shook it off and recovered from the slip-up. Once the ball returned to Fordham’s hands, she recovered a rebound from Kaitlyn Downey, GSAS ’23, and made a jump shot.

90 seconds remained in the first quarter, and Fordham was slowing down while VCU maintained its tempo. The quarter concluded with a score of 18-9. 

The Fordham Rams can be described as tactically malleable. Throughout the season, fans have watched as the Rams have switched strategy midgame — a tactic which the team successfully employed against the VCU Rams.

Fordham began the quarter by making strong passes, replicating the techniques that kept VCU in the lead. After a series of passes, Dingle received the ball and scored down the lane in stride. The shot signaled a change of pace for Fordhamas they added 18 points to their score this quarter. 

Within the last four minutes of the half, Fordham was able to close VCU’s lead by only five points.

Although Fordham handled the VCU Rams more successfully this quarter, it was still difficult to combat the strength of Te-Biasu and redshirt senior Janika Griffith-Wallace VCU ’23. 

Griffith-Wallace shot a three-pointer over Dingle. Seconds later, Dingle repeated the same shot, except she was unguarded and made a basket. The score was 21-14 with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter. 

The second wind that Fordham brought in the quarter felt as if an entirely different team had emerged from the home teams courtside huddle.. As quickly as DeWolfe lost possession of the ball, she regained it and scored a layup. She had pressure from Griffith-Wallace as the VCU Ram chased DeWolfe down the court. Fordham quickly readjusted a careful sense of urgency this quarter. 

To compare, in the first quarter the Rams had made 17% of their field goals increasing that to 47% in the second.

Regardless of Fordham’s change of pace, VCU still had the strength of Te-Biasu, Griffith-Wallace and Mykel Parham, VCU ’23, to keep the game toilsome for the Fordham Rams. 

VCU seemed to take note of Fordham’s new energy in the second quarter and decided it was safer to take shots outside of the paint. Griffith-Wallace scored her 10th point of the game on a three-point shot. Minutes later, Te-Biasu drained a three of her own. With five minutes left in the quarter, the score was 29-18; combined, the two VCU star players had scored 23 points, around 80% of the team’s production.

The third quarter is so often one that is make or break.

Dingle was the only Fordham player in the first half of play to keep up with VCU, having scored 13 points for the Fordham Rams. Even Fordham’s usual key player, DeWolfe, had gotten off to a slow start only putting up four points. 

Within the last four minutes of the half, Fordham was able to close VCU’s lead by only five points. 

Downey got one final shot in the final minute, but with 34 seconds left, Parham scored for VCU, ending the half 33-27. 

The third quarter was the most pivotal one for Fordham as they put up 21 points to VCU’s 13. The period began with slow efforts from both teams. But, after the five minute mark, the baskets started raining in. Fordham closed down VCU’s lead to just two points, 39-37. 

The back-to-back shots each team got seemed endless; both Ram squads had been trading baskets since the start of the third quarter..The lead eventually closed to just a single point. Matilda Flood, FCRH ’24, saved the ball from going out of bounds and sent it straight to Downey. VCU still held onto a slim lead, 41-40.

However, Fordham continued to score; with 45 seconds remaining in the third quarter, DeWolfe made a three, and Fordham took the lead for the first time, 46-44.

This lead as Parham tied the score again. But in the final seconds, DeWolfe made her way to the baseline and scored for Fordham. The quarter closed, 48-46. 

The fourth quarter went by quickly, yet the victor of this game was uncertain until the final seconds. The usual three leading players continued to have a strong offensive showing. 

VCU scored 13 points in the final quarter, and Fordham scored 12. Yet that single-point difference was not enough to win VCU the game. 

The game ended with Fordham as the victors, 60-59. The third quarter is so often one that is make or break. Despite a flat start the home team banded together to earn a deserved win. 

Fordham still has a packed schedule before classes begin. The Rams from the Bronx faced the University of Dayton on Sunday, Jan. 8. This game was expected to be an easy win for the Rams as Dayton is 2-10 for their season. Dayton was on a two-game win streak before its matchup against Fordham where the Rams won, 82-66.