PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/2/2014 – The Saint Joseph’s University Hawks women’s basketball team and the Fordham Rams team came into the game with identical 21 – 7 records and were 10 – 5 in the Atlantic 10. The winner would get the third seed in the upcoming A 10 tournament. With just over 15 minutes to play the Hawks held a nine-point lead, but went cold from the field as the Rams came away with a 58 – 53 victory at the Hagan Arena.
“We played twenty-five minutes of good basketball,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin. “We stopped doing the little things; boxing out, executing on offense the way we know how, and the other team was able to take that opportunity and they ran with it. They scored when they needed to score.”
Saint Joseph’s led by six at halftime 32 – 26 and made 48.4% of their shots (15 – 31). In the second half the Hawks shot 9 – 32 (38.1%). With 15:35 to play Saint Joe’s led 40 – 31. Fordham answered by scoring the next 10 points to take a one-point lead. The Hawks regained the lead on a jumper by senior guard Erin Shields to take their last lead of the game. Then Saint Joe’s would get just one field goal, a three by sophomore guard Ciara Andrews until Shields connected again from distance at the 2:46 mark. Meanwhile the Rams put together an 11 – 3 run to take control. Guard Emily Tapio scored 7 consecutive points,
and guard Erin Rooney responded to the Shields basket with a shot from beyond the arc at the 2:19 mark to move the Rams in front by 55 – 48. Fordham held off Saint Joseph’s the rest of the way.
“We went up six at the half and that was a good sign,” Griffin said. “We had settled into a good defensive rhythm there. They just kept coming at us. We got some open looks, but didn’t make them. We didn’t get too many offensive rebounds, so they got too many opportunities of the other end and took advantage of that.”
Andrews led the Hawks with 17 points making 7 of 14 from the floor and 2 of 3 from beyond the arc. Shields scored 12 points. Junior guard Natasha Cloud scored 6 points while handing out 8 assists and grabbing 4 rebounds.
The Rams got 15 points each from Rooney and guard Abigail Corning. Tapio added 13 points. Fordham out-rebounded Saint Joseph’s 46 – 29, 15 – 8 on the offensive glass. Corning recorded a double-double by taking down 13 rebounds.
The Hawks will enter the Atlantic 10 Tournament as the fifth seed. Saint Joe’s will meet the winner of the Massachusetts vs. George Mason game in the opening round. Fordham goes in as the third seed and gets a first round bye. It will be time for the Hawks to defend their Atlantic 10 championship.
“These kid have a championship in their repertoire because they have been there before,” said Griffin. The mentality is to win one game at a time, and get to the championship game. I would love to get to that game again and see what we can do with the experience we have.”
The game was the final regular season game for the Hawks meaning it was Senior Day. Saint Joseph’s honored Kelsey Berger, Erin Shields, and Ilze Gotfrida. Prior to the game each senior and their parents were acknowledged. As an added honor for Gotfrida, the national anthem of her native Latvia was played. Her facial expression and singing showed her appreciation. It was a classy move by the Saint Joseph’s athletic department.