Rams Host Spiders on Sunday
Jan. 20, 2013
BRONX, N.Y. - Sporting their first 2-0 Atlantic 10 record in program history, the Fordham Rams host the Richmond Spiders in the Rose Hill Gym on Sunday afternoon.
SERIES HISTORY: Today's matchup between the Spiders and the Rams is the 13th meeting all-time between the two squads. Historically, Richmond holds a huge advantage, having bested the Rams in 11 out their 12 meetings.
Fordham picked up the victory in the first A-10 game played between the two programs when Richmond joined the conference for the 2001-2002 season, but the Spiders have won the last ten contests against the women of Rose Hill.
An interesting note to take into consideration for today's game: when Fordham and Richmond met for the first time on November 25th, 1988 in Atlanta, the Spiders were led by a young coach who would go on to make her first post-season appearance that season in the WNIT. That coach's name? Stephanie V. Gaitley.
SCOUTING RICHMOND: Coming in at the number two spot in the preseason A-10 rankings, the Spiders finished the non-conference season with a 10-6 record. Richmond dropped its A-10 opener in crushing fashion, coming out on the wrong end of an 82-62 decision at St. Joe's in which the Spiders got outrebounded 50-32. The Spiders bounced back in their second conference game; however, downing St. Bonaventure 51-46 at home.
Kristina King leads four Richmond players averaging in double figures with 12.9 points per game. Also one of the league's premier free throw shooters, King converts on 80 percent of her tries from the charity stripe. Averaging 11.7 points per game, Rachael Bilney has started all 18 games for the Spiders and Genevieve Okoro averages a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards per contest.
Perhaps the best story on the Richmond roster, the team's leading rebounder and ball distributor, Becca Wann, doesn't restrict her talents to the hardwood. The junior guard from Chesterfield, Va., is also an All-American soccer player for the Spiders and a member of the gold medal winning United States U-20 women's soccer squad. Wann was also recently profiled in an article on espnw.com.
LAST TIME OUT: If one had to pick a theme for the 2012-2013 Fordham Rams up until Wednesday night, it would have been "first time in a while." The Rams had their first 4-0 start since 1995, secured their first ten win non-conference slate since 1983-1984 and won their first A-10 road opener since 1998. Now, the Rams can add a "first ever" to that list, moving to 2-0 in the A-10 for the first time in program history following their 69-57 win over UMass (3-14, 1-1) in the Rose Hill Gym.
With the win, Fordham improved 12-5 on the year and locked up their first five game win streak since December of 2003.
The Rams jumped out to an early lead in their A-10 home opener, holding a 7-2 advantage after an Abigail Corning jumper less than two minutes into the game. But UMass worked its way back into it, knotting the game at seven less than two minutes later.
The two teams traded buckets over the next ten or so minutes, resulting in a 22-22 tie with just under five minutes left on the clock. From there, Erin Rooney rattled off six points and dished out an assist in a 10-4 Fordham run, giving the Rams a 32-26 advantage heading into the locker room.
Play proved fairly even over the first five and a half minutes of the second half, with Fordham bumping their lead to seven, 42-35.
With the team struggling from the floor, Rooney began to sink shots like she has so many times this season. The junior guard scored nine consecutive points for the Rams, maintaining the team's lead, 47-40, after an and-one with just under 12 minutes to go.
Following Rooney's run, the buckets began to fall again and the Rams erupted for an 11-2 run, giving them a 58-42 lead with 7:38 to go in the game.
Corning, who proved so clutch at the close of the Charlotte game just days before, nailed back-to-back jumpers to quiet a UMass threat after the Minutewomen shaved the lead down to seven with just over two minutes to go.
For the Rams, it was Rooney topping the stat sheet once again, finishing with 19 points, tying a career-high with eight field goals, collecting four boards and dishing out three assists.
Three other players finished in double figures for the Rams. Corning capped her seventh straight contest in double figures, netting 14 points and pulling down eight boards. Strickland registered 14 points and six boards and Clark turned in what was arguably her most complete game of the year, tallying ten points, eight rebounds, six blocks and three assists.
Fordham dominated the offensive glass against the Minutewomen, pulling down 15 offensive rebounds that resulted in 19 second chance points.
TRADITIONS BEGINS NOW: "Tradition begins now," the official slogan of the Fordham women's basketball team, has certainly proven true over the course of the season for the Rams. The team won its first four games of the season for the first time since 1995, won ten non-conference games for the first time since 1983-1984 and is currently on their first five game winning streak since 2003. Now, for the first time in program history, the Rams sit at 2-0 in Atlantic 10 play.
STRICKLAND'S QUEST FOR 1,000: Currently in her sixth year of NCAA eligibility at her third different women's basketball program, graduate student Marah Strickland is quickly closing in on 1,000 points. The Mt. Airy, Md., native currently has 980 points for her career, just 20 shy of the 1,000 point plateau.
While the entirety of her career has not been played in a maroon and white uniform, Strickland will join the ranks of 15 other Fordham women's basketball players to reach the milestone.
Becky Peters was the most recent Ram to top the millenium mark, passing the number at the beginning of last season before finishing her career ranked 7th on the all-time scoring list with 1,318 points.
WE BACK PAT: Today's contest marks the final game of "We Back Pat" week, raising money for the Pat Summitt Foundation in the fight against Alzheimer's. Donations can be made at the entrance to the Rose Hill Gym or you can donate $10 by texing "COACH" to 50555.
WHO'S NEXT: The Rams hit the road for two games this upcoming week. On Wednesday, the Rams will take on Xavier in Cincinnati before heading to Pittsburgh on Sunday to face off against Duquesne. Game time on Wednesday is 7 PM, while the Dukes and Rams will play at 2 PM on Sunday.