Rams Down Army in First Round of WNIT
March 21, 2013
BRONX, N.Y. - It's been a year marked by firsts for the Fordham women's basketball team, and Coach Gaitley's squad continued that theme on Thursday night. The Rams notched their first postseason victory since beginning NCAA play in the early 1980s, topping Army 55-46 in the First Round of the WNIT. Fordham's first postseason win since 1980 also tied the second-highest win total in program history.
Abigail Corning led the way for the Rams, registering a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards. Marah Strickland also scored 15 for the Rams, while Arielle Collins added 14 points and six boards. Erin Rooney dished out a game-high six assists for Fordham.
With the win, Fordham advances to the Second Round of the WNIT, where they'll take on the Terriers of Boston University. That game will begin at 2 PM on Saturday in the Rose Hill Gym.
After four points from Army started off the contest, Samantha Clark put Fordham on the board with a jumper from the elbow three and a half minutes into the game.
The two teams traded buckets over the next few minutes, and the Black Knights took an 8-6 lead into the first media timeout of the game with 14:26 to go in the half.
The Rams used a free throw from Rooney and a bucket from Corning to chip away at the Army lead, trailing 13-9 with ten and a half left in the opening period. Anna Simmers connected on a jumper for Army during that time.
After Army extended its lead back to six, 15-9, Corning nailed a three from the right wing, pulling the Rams back within three, 15-12, with 8:23 on the clock.
A couple of empty trips for Army gave Fordham the opportunity to get on top and Strickland took full advantage. The graduate student scored on two consecutive possessions, the second of which was a long three from the left side to put Fordham ahead, 17-15, with six and a half left in the first half.
A few scoreless minutes ticked off the clock before an Army double-team on Rooney left Clark wide open underneath the bucket for the easy two to give the Rams a 19-15 advantage.
The Rams held Army scoreless on its next trip down the floor and Corning continued Fordham's run on the ensuing possession. The junior guard drove hard, absorbed the contact and sank the layup before hitting her free throw for three the old-fashioned way.
Rooney ended the streak with a fast break jumper to put Fordham up 24-15 with 2:33 to go until the intermission, capping a 15-0 run. Fordham held Army scoreless for over eight minutes during that stretch.
Anna Simmers finally put Army back on the board with just over 30 seconds left in the half, and the Black Knights trailed Fordham by seven, 24-17, at the break.
Fordham's scoring touch carried over in the second stanza, as Strickland drained a long two to start the action just under two minutes in the half.
Olivia Schretzman converted on an and-one to put Army back within six, 26-20, on the Black Knights' next possession and Kelsey Minato made a pair after an empty Fordham trip to narrow the deficit to four with three minutes gone.
Army's continued its tear, as Simmers cut the Fordham lead to two, 26-24, on a layup 30 seconds later and, following a Fordham turnover, Minato tied the game at 26. Her basket capped a 9-2 Army run.
Collins got Fordham back on the score sheet a few minutes later with a runner through the lane, putting the Rams up 28-26 with 14 minutes to go.
Army tied the game at 28, but a few minutes later Collins found the bottom of the bucket once again, this time from deep to put Fordham up 31-28 with ten and a half on the clock.
The Fordham defense held tight the next time down, and on the next possession Strickland made a circus shot through a ton of contact, extending the lead to five, 33-28.
West Point responded with a three, but Corning thought nothing of it, draining her own trifecta from the wing and keeping the lead at five with 8:41 left.
Minato and Collins traded treys on the next two possessions to make the score 39-34, and Brianna Johnson made a foul line jumper for Army to pull within three with just over seven minutes to go.
Corning made a pair of free throws to put Fordham back up five, 41-36, with 6:49 left in the second half and Strickland bumped the lead to seven with a jumper off the glass 90 seconds later.
Over the next few minutes, the two teams went back and forth before a Charlotte Stoddart fade-away put Fordham up seven, 47-40, inside three minutes to go.
Two scoreless minutes ticked away before Simmers pulled Army within five, 47-42, on a foul line jumper.
The Black Knights fouled on the ensuing possession, but Corning came up strong for Fordham, sinking both her tries and putting the Rams up by seven, 49-42, with 39 seconds to go.
Army showed a tremendous amount of fight over the game's final seconds, but the Rams came out on top, 55-46, after successful trips to the line.
Following their first postseason win in over three decades, the Rams will take on Boston University at 2 PM on Saturday in the Rose Hill Gym.