Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference

Fordham Opens NCAA Tournament Play on Saturday

By Atlantic 10 Conference

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The Fordham Rams jump into action Saturday afternoon as they take on No. 3 seed Syracuse. Below is the schedule along with a preview, courtesy of Fordham Athletics.

 

NCAA Women’s First Round

No. 14 Fordham vs. No. 3 Syracuse

Saturday, March 23 - Syracuse, NY - Carrier Dome

Gametime: Approximately 1:00 pm (30 minutes following the conclusion of 1stgame)

TV: ESPN2/ESPN App


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Twitter Updates at @FordhamWBB
Game Notes (PDF)
 
Bronx, N.Y. – The Fordham women's basketball team (25-8, 13-3 A-10) coasted to its second-ever Atlantic 10 championship by defeating UMass, Duquesne, and VCU by an average of just under 23 points, punching the program's third-ever ticket to the NCAA Tournament. The Rams were named the No. 14 seed in the Portland Region and will play at third-seeded #12/14 Syracuse (24-8, 11-5 ACC) on Saturday at 1 p.m. on ESPN2. The winner will play on Monday night inside the Carrier Dome.
 
Last Time Out
Fordham kept its foot on the pedal and cruised to a 15-point victory in a rematch against VCU in the title bout. The top-seeded Rams started off with four straight points but the Rams answered with nine unanswered points. VCU would briefly regain the lead, 11-9, but Mary Goulding and Kendell Heremaia combined to push Fordham on top for good, finishing the quarter with a 13-11 lead and stretching it to 30-23 at the half. Goulding drilled back-to-back three-pointers over the opening two minutes of the second period to give her team an eight-point cushion but again VCU clawed back to within two, 25-23, with three minutes to play. Freshman Kaitlyn Downey came through with a big triple to get some breathing room and Bre Cavanaugh sank two free throws heading into the break. Lauren Holden kicked off the second half with a three to give Fordham its first double-digit lead of the afternoon. The two teams traded shots in a slow third, finishing the frame with an even 8-8 line. Goulding hit yet another clutch trey after VCU got back into single digits in the fourth and the Rams would lead by double figures the rest of the way. Fordham saw out the game by hitting 17-of-18 free throws in the fourth quarter alone, hitting a season-high 24-of-26 on the day (92.3%).
 
Cavanaugh led the way with a game-high 22 points on 4-of-14 shooting and a career-best 13-of-14 shooting from the charity stripe, adding a team-high seven rebounds, plus two assists and a steal over 40 minutes. Goulding, limited to 31 minutes due to foul trouble, finishied with 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting, 3-of-5 from deep, and 4-of-4 from the line, while matching her career-high with four steals. The Rams rebounded after matching their season-high with 18 turnovers in the semi-final with just eight in the final, their fewest since five in mid-January.
 
Series History vs. Syracuse
The Rams and Orange have met four times in the all-time series separated by over 30 years in between. The legendary late 70s teams defeated Syracuse in 1978 and in 1980, the latter coming in the AIAW State Championship. Most recently, the Orange, ranked #24 and #23, respectively, have defeated the Rams by double-digits in Las Vegas and in Syracuse in 2014 and 2015. Lauren Holdenwill have mixed feelings about her game in the latter, knocking down all four three-point attempts to share the team-high but also committing six turnovers in 22 minutes, part of the team's 31 total.
 
Two-Time A-10 Champions
The Rams secured their second-ever Atlantic 10 Championship on March 10th by defeating top-seeded VCU, 62-47, in the final, the team's third final appearance in the last seven years. Both titles have come in the last six years under Coach Gaitley. Previously, the program had won just the 1993-94 Patriot League title. Mary Goulding was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, while Bre Cavanaugh was also named to the All-Championship team.
 
All-Conference Honors
Bre Cavanaugh and Mary Goulding were named to All-Conference First Team, the first teammates in the A-10 era to earn the distinction in program history. It's the fifth time two Rams have been named All-Conference in the same year and seventh straight year at least one player has garnered All-Conference honors. Goulding was also named to the All-Academic team with a cumulative 3.70 GPA. She is the second Ram to earn the award while being on the First Team (Erin Rooney in 2014). Cavanaugh was named Second Team All-Conference and to the All-Rookie squad last year.
 
Top-10 Defense
For a fourth time, Stephanie Gaitley's Rams are within the top-25 nationally in scoring defense, currently situated at seventh with 53.9 points allowed per game, which would be the program's highest-ever finish. The Rams' defense ramped things up in conference action, as well, holding rivals to just 49.9 per game and their three opponents at the A-10 Championship to just 47.7. Out of 19 games against league foes, 15 opponents were held under 55 points and 11 under 50.
 
Up Next
A win would mean a date with either No. 6 South Dakota State or No. 11 Quinnipiac on Monday night at either 7 or 9:30 p.m. in round two.
 
We're Going Dancing!
The Rams were tremendous in Pittsburgh two weekends ago, cruising to their second A-10 title in six years by defeating their opponents by an average margin of 22.6 points. Fordham shot the lights out, hitting 47.4% of its shots as a team and 47.8% of 67 three-point attempts, plus a team-wide 92.1% clip from the line. Bre Cavanaugh and Mary Goulding were immense, both averaging over 20 points en route to All-Championship honors. Cavanaugh led the way with 23.3 points per game on 45.8% shooting, 50.0% from deep, and 90.0% from the line with 4.7 rebounds, a team-high 10 assists, and three steals over 37.7 minutes per game. Goulding averaged 20.7 points, including matching her career-high of 24 points in the quarterfinals, on 57.5% shooting overall, 56.3% from behind the arc, and a perfect 7-of-7 from the line, with 6.7 rebounds (10-of-20 on the offensive end), a team-high seven steals, and six assists. Kendell Heremaia was clutch, as well, by hitting 48.0% of h er shots and 54.5% from deep with 5.3 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks, while playing terrific defense on the wing. Lauren Holden and Kaitlyn Downey chipped in just over 10 points per game, 13 assists, and six threes, while Zara Jillings produced three timely triples on three attempts over the weekend and helped out with 3.0 rebounds and five assists, as well. The Rams forced opponents into 46 turnovers and held them to just 20.5% shooting from downtown.

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