By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, February 4- The first meeting between the two Rams teams, Fordham (14-6, 4-1) and VCU (8-13, 1-5), on Saturday, February 2, was completely one-sided. Fordham lead from the opening minute and built its advantage a game-high 30 points at its conclusion.
Prior to the game, Fordham’s Marah Strickland was honored for scoring her 1,000 collegiate point on January 20. She scored Fordham’s first eight points of the game leading her team to an 8-2 advantage at 17:08.
The leading scorer in the Atlantic-10, Robyn Parks of VCU, hit the next basket. Fordham then began a 20-2 scoring run to take a commanding 28-6 lead with 5:08 remaining in the first half. The two teams each scored 13 points during the last five minutes of the half.
An 8-2 run by VCU cut the deficit to below 20 points, 50-32, for the only time in the second half with 13 minutes left in the contest. The Fordham offensive continued unabated for the rest of the game as Fordham outscored VCU 21-10 in the final 13 minutes.
Each of Fordham’s starters contributed mightily to the victory. Freshman Samantha Clark, a two-time A-10 Rookie of the Week, scored 10 and grabbed 7 boards. Two significant transfer student-athletes, Strickland and Erin Rooney, led the scoring with 18 points each. Senior Arielle Collins scored 17 and had 7 rebounds. Junior Abigail Corning scored 8 and led the team with 8 assists.
The Fordham women’s team has created a slogan for the season, “Tradition begins now”, that is extremely appropriate to describe their accomplishments under the direction of Coach Stephanie Gaitley. The team achievements this season have, thus far, surpassed what has been done since Fordham joined the Atlantic-10 at the start of the 1995-6 season.
The win on Sunday guarantees a winning record this year for the first time since 1994-5. The victory over VCU was Fordham’s fifth in the conference, which tied their record high in the A-10. The 10 wins in the non-conference schedule was the first time the team reached double figured since 1983-4.The seven game winning streak in December-January was the longest since 1992-3.
The tradition that the experienced, capable, decent and personable coach has brought is one of winning. She humbly gave credit for the success to her players in remarks at a post-game reception, but it must be realized that the addition of Clark, Rooney and Strickland to the squad would not have taken place if Gaitley was not the coach.
Fordham will travel to Philadelphia for its next contest, against LaSalle, on Wednesday before returning home to face the University of Dayton on Sunday afternoon, February 10, and George Washington University on Wednesday afternoon, February 13.