Rams Top Charlotte in a Thriller to Start A-10 Play
Jan. 13, 2013
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Coming into Sunday's A-10 opener against an 11-3 Charlotte team, all signs pointed to Fordham being the underdog. Apparently, no one told Coach Gaitley's squad this prediction, as the Rams turned in their toughest performance of the year so far, besting the 49ers, 59-56, in Halton Arena.
With the win, Fordham improved to 11-5, 1-0 in conference. With the loss, Charlotte fell to 11-4, 0-1 in conference.
Once again for Fordham, junior guard Erin Rooney proved incredibly clutch down the stretch to help the Rams secure the victory. The Christchurch, New Zealand, native scored 17 of her 19 points in the second half, shooting 6-8 from the field and sinking all five of her free throw attempts. Even more impressive, after picking up her fourth foul of the game with 10:14 left, Rooney sat out only three minutes before playing the final seven minutes of the game with a clean sheet.
Fordham's other clutch performance came from junior guard Abigail Corning. Corning netted 14 points and pulled down 10 boards, including seven in the second half, for her second double-double of the season.
Fordham came out strong against a 49ers team that was picked to finish third in the conference before the season. The Rams kept the action close over the first several minutes of the game before taking the lead, 12-11, on a Samantha Clark three-pointer with 12:25 left in the half.
The Rams maintained the lead over the next eight minutes of play, but a 9-0 Charlotte run put the 49ers on top, 26-20, with just over two minutes to go until the intermission.
A Charlotte Stoddart jumper and a three-ball from Marah Strickland narrowed the deficit to one at 26-25, but two free throws from Ny Hammonds pushed the Charlotte lead to three and the 49ers entered the break with a 28-25 advantage.
Corning led the scoring for the Rams in the first half with eight points, while Clark added seven points on 3-3 shooting and Strickland chipped in six.
The two teams traded buckets to start the second half, and Charlotte appeared like they were set to put the game away with a seven point lead and 7:35 left on the clock. But the Rams had other ideas, as Rooney scored five points in a 9-2 run that knotted the game at 53 with 3:36 to go.
An Amanda Dowe layup put the 49ers back up by two 20 seconds later, but two free throws from Rooney tied the game at 55 with 1:43 to go.
After Jennifer Hailey made one of her two attempts from the line following a Clark foul, the Rams moved down the floor and Corning nailed an elbow jumper, giving Fordham a 57-56 lead with 43 ticks left on the clock.
Charlotte tried to find an open look on the ensuing possession, but the Fordham defense held tough, forcing a missed layup from Jai Forney.
The 49ers fouled Rooney on the next possession, and her two free throws were never in doubt, giving Fordham the 59-56 advantage with which it would end the game. Clark finished in double figures for the Rams, registering 11 points. Strickland finished with nine points, shooting 2-3 from deep and hitting all three of her attempts from the charity stripe.
After winning their first A-10 road opener since 1998 and their first ever contest against the 49ers, the Fordham's women's basketball team will be back in action on Wednesday, hosting UMass in the Rose Hill Game.