The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

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Women’s Basketball Fails to Advance in First Round of A10

Fordham lost in the final moments to Loyola University Chicago in a heartbreaking contest following a remarkable end-of-season turnaround
Fordham+fell+to+Loyola+Chicago+for+the+second+time+this+season%2C+with+a+late+three-point+play+by+the+Ramblers+sending+the+Rams+home+this+time+around.
COURTESY OF NICOLE SIMBANA MEDINA VIA FORDHAM ATHLETICS
Fordham fell to Loyola Chicago for the second time this season, with a late three-point play by the Ramblers sending the Rams home this time around.

The Rams were unable to close out the Loyola University Chicago (LUC) Ramblers in the first round of the Atlantic 10 (A10) Championship Tournament, losing 53-52 on Thursday, March 7. The game went right up to the wire, and with bated breath, the crowd in Richmond, Virginia, looked on as the Rams’ hopes of victory slipped away in an instant.

Before this fateful game, the Rams’ season was starting to turn around. With a series of high-profile wins in the late conference schedule, Fordham was on a roll. They secured a ninth seed in the late weeks of the regular season and were thus matched up to Loyola, a team that fared hardly any better in their 2023-24 campaign — just 14-15 in the A10 compared to Fordham’s 13-16 record. Following their harrowing defeat of the Rams, the Ramblers marched to their demise the next day at the hands of the Richmond University Spiders, 70-54. 

The morning of March 7 is worth examining if not for its spectacular failures, then for its accurate reflection of the Rams’ underwhelming, but deeply hopeful season. Broadly, Fordham took the first two-thirds of their regular season to figure out how to play together — a symptom of a new team, mostly made up of transfers — and while the last few weeks were exciting to watch, it did not make up for consistent errors and setbacks. 

For one, the Rams have been atrocious at the line. For all the shooting acumen on the Fordham roster, the free-throw line has been a nagging issue for the team. 

Against Loyola, the Rams hit 3-of-15 from the charity stripe. The numbers speak for themselves, and just for the irony, the Ramblers managed to snag the lead in the last thirty seconds off a free throw by Thoranna Hodge-Carr, LUC ’24. 

Under new Head Coach Bridgette Mitchell, the Rams have taken their defense up a notch. Against Loyola, Fordham forced 21 turnovers and scored 19 points off of them. The Ramblers forced just 16 turnovers and scored a modest 4 points. If that weren’t enough, Fordham ended with 12 steals and 9 blocks. 

In the first half against the Ramblers, the Rams knocked down shots near the rim, scoring 12 paint points in just the first quarter to give them a 9-point advantage in the first few minutes — this was the largest lead of the game for either team. Despite this promising start, 3-pointers weren’t falling and the Fordham defense failed to hold Loyola back. 

In the last five minutes of the first quarter, the Rams’ lead vanished and any thought of a blowout was thrown aside. Both teams were in it for the long haul, as Fordham’s offense ground to a halt in the second quarter. The Ramblers held a minor lead for most of the quarter, going into the halftime locker room with a fortuitous 1-point advantage.

The Rams struggled in the fourth quarter, making only four of their 16 shots from the field, none of their attempted threes, and none of their seven free throws. (COURTESY OF NICOLE SIMBANA MEDINA VIA FORDHAM ATHLETICS)

The second half began with a resounding 3-pointer from Ali Berg, LUC ’24, to set the tempo for the remainder of the game — a high-tempo back and forth. Donaldson knocked down a 3-pointer just two minutes later. As the third quarter wore on, neither side got too far ahead. In the final minute and a half of that period, the Rams held on to a 2-point lead through no effort of their own: six shots went up between the two sides, and not one went down. 

It was a flurry of activity including a block at the buzzer by Mandy McGurk, GSAS ’24, that brought the third quarter to an end. Despite the unconvincing 44-42 lead by the Rams, they failed to capitalize on the Ramblers’ poor shooting — 3-for-16 from the field in the third quarter. 

The fourth quarter saw the Rams drop their shooting performance from a steady 43% in the third to 25% in the fourth, which put them in a difficult position down the stretch. Four minutes passed and Fordham found itself with a shaky 46-42 lead off a wing jumper by Donaldson. Several minutes went by and although the energy steadily ramped up, shots weren’t going down. 

With a strong six-game win streak in the final weeks of conference play, the Rams ignited their season and offered a preview for what the next season under Mitchell may look like.

A slow retort by the Ramblers saw that 6-point lead cut to one, and a jumper by Rose Nelson, FCRH ’26, with two minutes to go brought it back up to three, 50-47. Entering the final, fateful minute, Alyssa Fisher, LUC ’24, drained a huge three to knot the game up at 50. 

Aminata Ly, FCRH ’24, looked poised to win the game when she went to the line following an and-one play with just 30 seconds left. In an unfortunate ode to the Rams’ free throw woes, Ly missed, and just five seconds later, Hodge-Carr was fouled while connecting on a shot in the paint to tie the game at 52. She completed the 3-point play at the free-throw line to take the lead for the Ramblers, 53-52.

It was then a mad dash in the final seconds of the game, as Loyola snatched the ball, only to have it taken back by Donaldson triggering a timeout call by Mitchell. On the ensuing inbound play, Donaldson missed a jumper and a rushed shot by McGurk at the buzzer bounced off the rim. 

The Ramblers took home the victory, 53-52, and advanced to the second round of the A10 Championship. They were promptly defeated by the number one seeded University of Richmond the next day. The Richmond Spiders went on to win the A10 Championship. 

For now, the Rams’ season is over, but it has been a remarkable year for the fledgling new team. Despite the 13-17 record, Fordham showed promise at many points. With a strong six-game win streak in the final weeks of conference play, the Rams ignited their season and offered a preview for what the next season under Mitchell may look like. 

Mitchell will likely look to recruit more long-term players for the team’s future — Many Fordham players, such as Donaldson and Hayford who have led the team in scoring, are in their final years of eligibility. While a heartbreaking, last-minute defeat is a sore comfort for the Rams, the team can now look towards the future, with Thursday’s loss being an integral part of its journey.



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About the Contributor
AURELIEN CLAVAUD
AURELIEN CLAVAUD, Assistant Sports & Health Editor
Aurelien Clavaud (he/him), FCLC ’25, is an assistant sports & health editor at The Observer. He previously served as head photo editor and creative director. He majors in international political economy and loves photography, basketball and writing. He is from Houston, Texas, but has taken a liking to NYC and its frigid weather.

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