Rams Down Billikens, 61-56, Guarantee First Winning A-10 Record
Feb. 17, 2013
SAINT LOUIS - With each win this season, it seems as if the 2012-2013 Rams are setting a new high-water mark for the Fordham Women's Basketball program. On Sunday in Saint Louis, history came in the form of Fordham's eighth conference victory, securing a winning conference record for the first time since joining the league nearly two decades ago.
Fordham's 61-56 win over the Billikens moved the Rams to 18-7 on the year, with an 8-2 mark in the A-10.
With a starting lineup that didn't feature Marah Strickland for the first time since the beginning of November, the Rams played even with the Billikens over the contest's opening minutes, but with the score tied at seven at the first media timeout of the game, the Billikens unleashed an 11-2 run to move ahead 18-9 at the 10:31 mark of the opening half.
Saint Louis shot over 60 percent from the floor in the game's first ten minutes.
After Coach Gaitley called a timeout midway through the half, the Rams looked a lot more like the team that's been re-writing the Fordham record book all season long. A 17-3 run erased the Billikens' lead, giving Fordham a 26-21 advantage with just over five minutes left in the half. Erin Rooney scored nine points for Fordham on the run, while Abigail Corning chipped in five.
Saint Louis outscored Fordham 7-2 over the remainder of the half to knot the score at the intermission, 28-28. Rooney led all scorers with 11 in the opening stanza, while Corning chipped in five points and seven boards. With a lower body injury keeping Strickland out of the lineup, Christina Gaskin played 15 minutes in the first half, netting three points and grabbing three boards.
Fordham maintained the lead in the area of ten points over the next several minutes before SLU rattled off a few to narrow the Fordham advantage to seven, 44-37. But Samantha Clark took a pass from Rooney and sent it home to end the Billikens mini-run and put Fordham ahead by nine.
Saint Louis, however, would not go down quietly. The Billikens worked the Fordham lead down to five, 48-43, with just under four minutes to go, and after Samantha Clark nailed a three to get it back to eight, 51-43, Desirae Ball responded with a three of her own to restore the deficit to a handful.
On the ensuing possession, Gaskin made two free throws to push the lead back to seven, but Ball answered again, narrowing the lead to five on a layup.
On the next trip down the floor, Corning absorbed heavy contact and sank a layup to put Fordham back up seven, 55-48, with just over a minute to go, but Lorreal Jones made a bucket and Fordham led by five again with just under a minute left in the game.
Saint Louis continued to put up a fight, even narrowing the lead to three after Courtney Webb three-pointer with 18 seconds to go, but Clark nailed two free throws to push the lead to five, 61-56, the margin with which the Rams would end the game.
Several Rams came up big in the absence of Strickland, the Rams' leading scorer.
Rooney netted a game-high 19 points, dished out six helpers and grabbed six boards to lead the way for the Rams.
Never one who lacks work ethic, Corning put up a gutsy performance even by her own high standards. The junior from Wethersfield, Conn., scored nine points and missed a career-high by just one board with 13.
Collins continued her recent tear in the win. Averaging just under 15 points in her last five games, the senior guard finished with 12, pulling down five boards in the process.
Clark also narrowly missed a double-double, registering 14 points and eight boards in the win. The freshman from Neptune, N.J., also had four blocks on the day.
Stepping into the starting lineup for the first time this season, Gaskin did a great job stepping up with Strickland out of the game. The sophomore scored seven points, including two big free throws down the stretch, and grabbed six boards.
The Rams will be back in action on Thursday, travelling to Rhode Island to take on the Rams. Game time is 7 PM.