Fordham Downs Manhattan 55-45 in Battle of the Bronx
Nov. 28, 2012
Bronx, N.Y. - Coming off their first loss in an otherwise unblemished record, the Rams returned home to The Rose Hill Gym on Wednesday night to play host to cross-borough rival Manhattan in the annual Battle of the Bronx. Behind a season-high scoring effort from Marah Strickland and a dominant effort on the glass from the entire team, the Rams returned to their winning ways, besting the Jaspers 55-45 and setting a high water mark for the program that Rose Hill hasn't seen in almost two decades.
The Jaspers took the first advantage in the 44th edition of the rivalry, pulling ahead to a 5-0 lead in the first two minutes of the contest. After two free throws from Erin Rooney and a three pointer from Strickland put the Rams on the board, the two teams traded buckets for the rest of the first period.
The seesaw-like half saw seven lead changes between the two squads and neither team held a lead larger than five.
Strickland, the Rams' leading scorer, set the pace for Fordham in the first half. She converted on two long range shots and a pair of free throws for eight points. The graduate student form Mt. Airy, Maryland also pulled down four boards.
While it was Manhattan that started out strong in the first half, this time the momentum belonged to the Rams. Five unanswered points in the opening 75 seconds put the Rams up 29-24, and by the first media timeout, the Rams held a 36-30 advantage over their neighbors from the North Bronx.
After Manhattan shrunk the Fordham lead to two with eight minutes left in the second half, an Arielle Collins touch pass to a wide open Taryn Durant for an easy layup put the Rams back up by four, 42-38. A Rooney three-pointer on the following offensive possession put the Rams up seven, the largest lead of the game so far. After a Manhattan turnover, a ten foot jumper off the glass by Strickland extended the Fordham advantage to nine and a Samantha Clark layup not too long after that secured a career high point total for the freshman while capping off a 9-0 run for the home team with just under five minutes to play.
Despite a last minute push from the Jaspers, the lead proved too much to overcome, as the Rams held tough and emerged with the 55-45 victory.
Strickland led the way for the Rams once again on the score sheet. Averaging 13.5 points per contest heading into tonight, Strickland finished with 18 points and a career-high eight rebounds.
To go along with Strickland's 18, two other Rams finished in double figure scoring, as Rooney poured in 12 and Clark added 11. Rooney's effort marked the sixth game in six tries that the New Zealand native reached double figures, and Clark's 11 set a career-high for the freshman.
Collins, who has been a jack-of-all-trades type guard for the Rams this season, put forth another impressive all-around performance on Wednesday night. The Hamilton, New Jersey native netted seven points, pulled down seven boards, dished out a game-high five assists and nabbed three steals.
After failing to grab at least 40 rebounds for the first and only time so far this season against Pacific, the Rams cleaned the glass with ease against the Jaspers, pulling down 44 boards. Collins and Abigail Corning each corralled seven, while Strickland and Clark pulled down eight a piece. Fordham's 16 offense rebounds turned into 13 second chances points, while Manhattan managed only two points on extra tries.
The Rams made easy work of free throws again on Wednesday night, converting on 12 of their 16 attempts, with Strickland and Rooney each going a perfect 4 for 4 from the charity stripe. Through the team's first six games, Rooney is shooting 93 percent from the line and Strickland sits at 87 percent.
The Rams return to action Saturday night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when they'll take on Big East opponent Marquette in an 8:00 PM tilt.