Women’s Basketball Takes Down Saint Louis After Dayton Cancelation

NOTE: This article originally appeared in The Fordham Ram in January 2021.

Fordham Women’s Basketball earned a 72-63 victory over Saint Louis on Sunday, after a dizzying sequence of events and a last-minute schedule change.

This is a college basketball season like no other. The spread of COVID-19 within programs across the country has forced many cancelations; the virus has also forced teams to adapt. Sometimes, that means scheduling games on the fly. The Fordham women’s basketball team is learning that first-hand.

“You’re expecting to play a team the next day, and all of a sudden, it gets taken away just like that,” junior forward Kaitlyn Downey said in November. “So just understanding that there’s going to be a lot of errors in this season and just being ready to take the punches and keep moving on, because we know at the end of the day, we want to win an A-10 championship, and it’s going to take just moving through all those punches, winning the games that we have available to us and just moving forward.”

That exact scenario happened to the Rams this weekend.

Fordham was supposed to play Dayton on Saturday afternoon. However, on Friday morning, the Flyers’ program registered a positive test for COVID-19, canceling the game. Instead of flying back to the Bronx and taking the rest of the weekend off, the Rams took a five-and-a-half hour bus ride to Missouri, setting up a Sunday afternoon matchup between Fordham and Saint Louis. Saint Louis’ program had been previously shut down due to a positive COVID-19 test, which had postponed a previously-scheduled matchup with Fordham, which was initially set for last Thursday night.

Comprehending all of that is a challenge to any outside observer, let alone those involved in such a last-minute swap. But once Fordham ironed out its scheduling situation, the Rams set out to take down Saint Louis. 

Despite the havoc leading up to the game, the Rams were able to accomplish just that.

Fordham’s 72-63 victory came in spite of a slow start and just five first-quarter points. The Rams took 10 threes in that quarter, but only made one. From the second quarter on, though, the shots began to fall. Fordham scored 25 points in the second quarter to take a 30-27 lead into the half. Sophomore guard Anna DeWolfe, the Atlantic 10’s leading scorer, scored 12 points in the half, while Downey added five assists. In spite of the slow start, the Rams scored 15 unanswered points to end the second quarter.

Fordham continued its hot shooting in the second half. Downey hit five three-pointers to lead an offense that finished with 13 made shots from three-point range on the game. Senior forward Kendell Heremaia made a clutch three with a minute left to put Fordham up by nine, and the Rams maintained that margin en route to a win.

The triumvirate of DeWolfe, Downey and Heremaia led the way for Fordham on Sunday. Those three players combined for 64 of Fordham’s 72 points — DeWolfe scored 26, Downey had 24 points and 13 rebounds and Heremaia added 14 points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. Those three players were expected to step up this season, and they did so again on Sunday. But this game was their best performance in concert, as the contributions of all three were essential in Fordham’s win over a Saint Louis team that was picked to finish third in the conference.

This was a memorable and rewarding weekend, whose unpredictability Fordham hopes never to repeat. The Rams have two home games set for this weekend; St. Bonaventure comes to town on Friday afternoon and the Rams host Duquesne on Sunday afternoon. Fordham will ride into those two games off an improbable weekend the team will not soon forget.

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