Fordham Downs Saint Joe's, Reaches 20 Wins for First Time in 19 Years
Feb. 24, 2013
BRONX, N.Y. - Fordham's 20th win of the season couldn't have come in a more thrilling fashion, as the Rams outlasted Saint Joseph's in overtime, 70-63, on Sunday in the Rose Hill Gym. With the victory, Fordham (20-7, 10-2 A-10) clinched its first 20-win campaign since 1993-1994.
Marah Strickland poured in a career-high 31 points to lead the way for the Rams, the most scored by a Fordham player since Meghan Mahoney scored 30 in January of 2008, and smashing her old career-high of 21.
Saint Joseph's fell to 19-8,10-2 in the A-10, with the loss.
Samantha Clark finished the game with her fourth double-double of the year, scoring ten points and grabbing 11 boards. Erin Rooney also turned in a huge performance, scoring 14 points, grabbing nine boards and dishing out seven assists in the win.
Fordham and Saint Joe's came out guns blazing in the opening minutes of the game, going bucket for bucket and changing the lead seven times before the first media timeout. Strickland had five in the early going, Clark chipped in four and Rooney dished out three assists in the opening six minutes of the contest, but Fordham trailed, 12-11, with 13 and a half minutes to go.
The next few minutes of play were much of the same, as Saint Joe's extended the lead to three on a pair of free throws from Chatilla Van Grinsven, but Strickland answered back with a three to tie the game at 14 with 12:29 on the clock.
Saint Joe's went back up two on the next possession with a layup from Erin Shields, but Fordham went on fire from there. The Rams rattled off ten in a row, holding Saint Joe's scoreless for over six minutes and taking the lead, 24-16, with just over seven minutes left in the first half. Strickland scored five points for the Rams on the run.
The Hawks cut the lead to four, but Charlotte Stoddart responded in a big way. The senior from Manchester, England drained a three in her first minutes since being sidelined for nearly a month with an injury, extending Fordham's lead to 27-20 with just under four minutes left in the half.
After St. Joe's chipped the lead down to three, 27-24, Fordham closed out the half on a tear, scoring six points in the span just over a minute and bumping the lead to nine, 33-24.
Strickland led the Rams with an outstanding effort in the first half, the graduate student scored 17 points in the opening stanza on 7-12 shooting, including 3-5 from beyond the arc.
Clark tallied eight points and six boards in the half, while Rooney dished out six assists and surrendered only one turnover.
The Hawks opened the second half with a pair of free throws from Ashley Robinson, but Arielle Collins made a backdoor layup and drained a three on consecutive possessions, giving Fordham their biggest lead of the game at 38-26 two minutes into the half.
Seven unanswered from the Hawks cut the lead back down to five, 38-33, but a Rooney free throw put Fordham back up six.
Ashley Prim connected on a three on the next possession for the Hawks, cutting the Fordham lead to three, 39-36, and capping a 10-1 Saint Joe's run with just over 12 minutes to go.
Strickland answered back with a three of her own, her first points of the half, extending the Fordham lead to six. Ilze Gotfrida then converted on a three-point play for the Hawks, cutting the advantage to 42-39 with just over 11 minutes left. Saint Joe's and Fordham continued to trade baskets, and a Rooney jumper put the Rams up five, 48-43, with nine and a half minutes on the clock.
The trend persisted over the next few minutes before a Van Grinsven layup narrowed the Fordham lead to one, 50-49, with just under five minutes to go.
Rooney responded with a jumper on the next possession, bumping the lead back up to three, 52-49, at the four minute mark.
After a stop on the defensive end, Collins slashed through the lane and got one to fall, putting Fordham back up five, 54-49, with just over three minutes to go.
Two free throws from Van Grinsven cut the lead back to three, but Rooney came up big with a jumper on the ensuing possession, putting Fordham up five once again.
Saint Joe's trimmed the lead back to three, but Strickland grabbed an offensive rebound on the following possession, drew a foul and sank both ends of a one-and-one to give Fordham a five-point lead, 58-53, with under a minute to go.
Van Grinsven converted on an and-one the next time down the court, trimming the lead to two, and fouled Rooney on the inbound with 25 seconds to go. Rooney uncharacteristically missed the front-end of the one-and-one, and Gotfrida scored for Saint Joe's to tie the game at 58 with 14 ticks left on the clock.
An unforced turnover gave Saint Joe's the ball back, but the Rams' defense held tight, getting the stop when an errant pass fell out of bounds.
With 94 feet between the ball and basket and only 1.4 seconds on the clock, Rooney heaved a pass to Strickland at half-court and her buzzer beater missed by a fraction of an inch, rattling out and sending the contest to overtime.
Rooney started off the extra period for the Rams, taking a charge and scoring a bucket on the ensuing possession to put Fordham up two.
Following a stop, Strickland drove to the house and banked in a layup, pushing the lead to four, 62-58, with three and a half to go.
After the defense held strong again, Rooney made one of two from the line to put the Rams up five, 63-58, with just under two minutes left in overtime.
Cloud made one of two from the line to cut the lead to four, 63-59, with 1:40 to go and the score remained that way until Strickland drained two from the line to put the Rams up six, 65-59, with 39 seconds on the clock.
Saint Joe's would trim the lead to three with 15 seconds to go, but Strickland continued to convert from the line, extending the Fordham lead to seven and coming out on top, 70-63.
With tie-breakers over Saint Joe's and Charlotte, Fordham now controls its own destiny in terms of securing a bye in the first round of the A-10 Tournament.
Fordham will be back in action on Wednesday night, hosting Saint Bonaventure in the Rose Hill Gym. Tip-off against the Bonnies is set for 7 PM.