Bronx, NY—The Fordham University women’s basketball team (14-5, 6-0) extended its winning streak to six games by defeating the visiting University of Massachusetts Minutewomen (8-10, 2-4), 65-42, on Wednesday afternoon. The rare mid-week matinee at noon was the annual Kids Day contest in which Bronx school children with their school chaperones were invited to depart from school early to watch a basketball game. The crowd of 2,236 was a season-high to witness the Rams at home. The 6-0 mark is the best start in Rams’ history in the athletic conference schedule.
Fordham head coach Stephanie Gaitley believed the much larger than usual sized home crowd is beneficial to her players. Tiffany Ruffin, in her first year at Fordham, was pleased by the Kids Day crowd, “It was very cute to see them [kids] so excited.” The young crowd may have spurred her to one of her best performances this year.
The specific events during Wednesday’s game were quite similar to what took place during Fordham’s game against VCU on Sunday. The visitors took a lead 12 seconds into the game, but fell behind at 19:12 on a 3 pointer by Hannah Missry. After the Massachusetts basket, Fordham went on a 20-4 scoring run to go ahead, 20-6 with 11:56 remaining in the first half.
The combination of Fordham’s extremely effective defense that held the Minutewomen to a shooting percentage of only 25.9% (7 for 27) with its pinpoint accuracy of 64% (16 for 25) from the floor gave the Rams its best first half of the season, 40-17. Gaitley was exceptionally pleased by h lot of our success was from the defensive end. We shot the ball well.”
The double digit Fordham advantage remained in effect throughout the second half. Although each team scored 25 points in the second half, there were two 11 point uninterrupted scoring runs. A 52-28 Fordham lead at 19:09 shrunk to 52-39 after the visitors scored 11 straight points. It immediately jumped to a 24 point advantage as the Rams scored the following 11 points.
In Fordham’s last four contests, approximately 2/3 of the team’s baskets were scored on assists. Gaitley praised her players, “It’s a very unselfish group. They take a lot of pride in including their teammates in every offensive play.”
Although Gaitley called the win “a great team win”, Ruffin had an outstanding performance. She achieved her first double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. In addition, she had a team-high 3 steals and 4 assists. The grad student gave credit to her coaches, “They [coaches[ really helped me.”