Women’s Basketball Off to Historic Start in Conference Rams Are 3-0 in Atlantic 10 After Wins Over Charlotte, UMass and Richmond By MATT ROSENFELD SPORTS EDITOR
There is a team around campus that is in the middle of a historic season in the 2012-13 campaign. That team is the women’s basketball team, which, since Dec. 30, has won eight of its last nine games and is currently riding a six-game winning streak, the latter three of which have been in Atlantic 10 conference play. Fordham, which was 7-4 near the end of last calendar year, suffered a tough loss at the hands of 4-7 Lafayette in the Fordham Holiday Classic. This defeat served as the catalyst to the team’s current success. “I think the wake-up call was the loss to Lafayette,” Head Coach Stephanie Gaitley said. “The kids realized that you can get beaten at any given time and that you can’t take winning for granted. It was a humbling experience to lose in your own tournament in the first round.” The consolation game against Colorado State proved to be the game in which Fordham caught fire. In a double-overtime thriller, Fordham came back several times to ultimately win 64-59. Seniors
Marah Strickland and Arielle Collins each had double-figures in points, with 18 and 13 respectively, and junior Abigail Corning recorded a double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. The 14 rebounds marked a career-high for Corning in a game that had multiple highlights. Junior guard Erin Rooney was a point and an assist away from recording the program’s first ever triple-double, as she had nine points, nine assists and 12 rebounds, the latter two are career highs for Rooney. “We showed great perseverance and grit against a good Colorado State team,” Gaitley said. “Getting over that hump and staying together without shooting the ball well, and just gutting it out defensively was a great start to the new year.” After wins at American University and against Holy Cross that took the Rams to 10-5, Fordham prepared to enter the second part of their season, the conference schedule. “It’s a new season,” Gaitley said. “We did well [in non-conference play], we had a record-setting 10 wins out of conference, and we used those games to figure out
ALLY WHITE/THE RAM
Marah Strickland scored her 1,000th career point in a win over Richmond.
who we are. I think our kids understand the importance of conference games. They know only the top 12 [out of 16] teams make the
conference tournament, and how important it is to get off on the right foot.” SEE WOMEN ON PAGE 15
Despite winning their first Atlantic 10 opener since the 2005-06 season, with an 82-75 victory over Duquesne on Jan. 6, the Fordham Rams could have been 3-0 if only a few things had gone their way. “I showed the guys six possessions over the course of two games that really changed the outcomes for us,” Head Coach Tom Pecora said. “It’s frustrating to come that close to starting off undefeated in the conference.” Those six possessions came in Fordham’s losses to UMass on Jan. 13, 77-73, and to the Charlotte 49ers who downed the Rams 7468 on Jan. 16. In the games against Duquesne
and UMass, the Rams played at the Rose Hill Gym for the fourth and fifth times this season, after a grueling non-conference schedule which consistently put Fordham on the road. “As we move forward, I think we let a golden opportunity pass us by, since we could have had two home wins early,” Pecora said. Although the team’s record currently stands at 5-13, Pecora sees some positives to playing the tough non-conference slate. “It was way too tough a schedule for a young team to be playing,” Pecora said. “But it also shows their resiliency. Coming out and playing this way in the conference shows you that they haven’t been hammered down despite all of the road losses.”
Quarterbacks, Not Coaches, Will Decide Championship By DAN GARTLAND
Fordham’s prospects for the rest of the season will depend largely on how Chris Gaston’s injured left knee holds throughout the rest of the season.
Ravens and 49ers Will Play for Title
EXECUTIVE SPORTS EDITOR
Men’s Basketball 1-2 To Begin Atlantic 10 Play
By CHESTER BAKER
January 23, 2013
Perhaps the biggest reason for Fordham’s encouraging open to the conference schedule has been the play of junior Brandon Frazier who has been a revelation this season at point guard. Frazier led the Rams to a win over Princeton in the Barclay’s Center on Dec. 15, scoring 13 points in the final three minutes of the game. Since then, the Brooklyn native has been on a roll, posting games of 16, 21 and 23 points, respectively, in the three conference games. Even more important than his point production in the opening A-10 games has been the way Frazier is taking care of the ball, as he turned over the rock only six times. When compared to his 20 assists, Frazier has one of the best turnover-to-assist ratios on the
team. “He just keeps getting better and better,” Pecora said. “That’s where his future is, with the ball in his hands. He is really coming into himself and he is developing into a great player and a great leader for this team, and I think that’s credit to how much he works on his craft.” In the loss against UMass, Fordham showed some resiliency coming back from a 14-point deficit in the first half to make it a onepossession contest in the waning seconds of the game. One of the key factors in the team’s inability to pull off the comeback was its struggles at the free throw line, where the Rams shot just 18 - of - 30. Although fans may take some SEE MEN ON PAGE 15
After 20 weeks, it all comes down to this. The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will meet in New Orleans one week from Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII. In the lead-up to the game, much will be made of the fact that Jim and John Harbaugh, the head coaches of the 49ers and Ravens, respectively, are brothers. There will be just as much talk about how this game will be the final one of Ray Lewis’s career. Perhaps more attention should be paid to the quarterbacks. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has been subject to plenty of criticism ever since entering the league in 2008. In this season’s playoffs, however, the Ravens have been winning because of Flacco, not in spite of him. If it were not for his 70-yard game-tying touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones in the final minute of Baltimore’s Divisional Round win over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, the Ravens would not be in this position. Under center (or, more often than not, in the pistol) for San Francisco is Colin Kaepernick, who has made only nine starts in his NFL career. When Alex Smith suffered a concussion in the 49ers’ Week 10 tie against the St. Louis Rams, Kaepernick came in to replace him. His performance over the next few weeks was impressive enough that Harbaugh opted to stick with him even after Smith was healthy enough to return. Kaepernick’s ability to run adds a dangerous element to the San Francisco offense. With 181 yards in the 49ers’ Divisional Round victory over the Packers, Kaepernick set the single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback. Kaepernick, Frank Gore and LaMichael James form one of the game’s top rushing attacks. San Francisco was fourth in the league in rushing during the regular season and is averaging 236 yards on the ground so far this postseason. Baltimore’s rush defense is not nearly as fearsome as in recent years so the Ravens will have to work hard to ensure the 49ers do not run wild. It is a bit surprising that of all the talented quarterbacks in this year’s playoffs — Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and upstarts Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, to name a few — Flacco and Kaepernick are the last ones standing. But then again, football is a team game, and the 49ers and Ravens are good teams. It is refreshing to see a Super Bowl matchup which does not feature two teams that rely so heavily on their quarterbacks. Flacco could redeem himself to Ravens fans with a win in this game and earn a big payday in the process (Flacco’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season). If Kaepernick and the 49ers’ read-option offense leads San Francisco to a win, it could change how offense is played in the NFL. Be sure to check back next week as The Fordham Ram’s sports staff shares its picks for the game.