The Explorers Hold the Rams to Their Lowest Point-Total of the Season
PHILADELPHIA, PA 2/16/2023 –
In what La Salle Coach Mountain MacGillivray called a complete effort, the Explorers defeated the Rams 61 – 49 at the Gola Arena. Fordham was held to their lowest scoring total of the season. On offense La Salle guard Kayla Spruill scored a game-high 24 points, two shy of her season-high. Spruill made 10 of 15 form the floor and converted 4 of 6 three-pointers, one away from her season-best.
“That’s a good win today,” said MacGillivray. “That’s a really good team we just played. We found a way to get it done. We shared the ball and I thought we rebounded great. Kayla Spruill knocking it down, that was nice to see. A pretty complete effort.”
Effective Close Out for the Explorers
Fordham pulled to within 54 – 49 with less than two minutes remaining on a basket by Rams guard Anna DeWolfe, who scored a team-best 17 points. That would be the last points scored by Fordham. With the lead at five-points, Amy Jacobs converted a three-pointer with just over a minute to play. A basket by Spruill lengthened the lead to double-digits as under a minute showed on the clock. The Explorers put the game away at the free throw line.
“To their credit, they mucked it up a little bit and made it frantic and frazzled,” MacGillivray thought about Fordham staying in contention. “Molly (Masciantonio) got calm, hit a huge three. Amy (Jacobs) got calm and had a huge three. Jay (Haynes) split a double-team and got a huge layup. That says basketball players make big plays when they have to. They did everything they could to get us frazzled. We made a couple of plays. Sometimes it’s you and sometimes it’s them. Tonight, it was us.”
Good Start at the Beginning and After Halftime a Key for La Salle
The game started well for the Explorers. Forward Claire Jacobs made the first three baskets, then Spruill drained three in a row, the last a three-pointer to propel La Salle to a 13 – 4 lead. As expected Fordham answered pulling to within 26 – 25 at halftime. Spruill and Claire Jacobs scored all of the Explorers first half points except for 2 points by Mia Jacobs.
Commencing the second half the Explorers scored the first seven points. After closing to within 33 – 28 Fordham fell behind by double-figures in a three-pointer by Spruill.
The starts forced Fordham to play uphill the entire game.
The Spruill Factor
Mia Jacobs scored in double-figures for La Salle getting 10 points. But it was Spruill had it going. She made key baskets, and many at the right time to keep the Rams away.
“I think she took advantage of size difference,” Masciantonio said about the success of her teammate and backcourt mate. “She made her first shot and once you see the ball go in at least once, you have less stress when you’re shooting. Her shot selection was really good today. She was confident in her shots.”
What the Numbers Say
Masciantonio handed out 7 assists and turned it over once. She has 92 helps and 21 miscues for a nationally-leading assist to turnover ratio of 4.38.
The Explorers assisted 17 times on 24 baskets. But the team had 23 turnovers.
Amy Jacobs pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds to go along with 6 points, both key contibutions.
Asiah Dingle was limited to 15 points on 6 of 20 shooting. Jada Dapaa had 10 caroms for Fordham. The Rams shot 31.8% from the field (31.8%) and were good on only 2 of 17 from beyond the arc.
“It’s (Fordham) a really good team that creates good shots for two kids that are really talented at scoring the ball. You got to defend and I thought we played some of the best defense we played all season,” said MacGillivray. Getting thirty one percent, that’s a really solid defensive effort.”
La Salle improves to 16 – 11 overall, 7 – 5 A10 and now trail Fordham by a half game in the conference standings. Three teams at this time have 7 – 5 records in the league including La Salle, Saint Joseph’s and Saint Louis, who will host the the Explorers on Sunday.
Written By: Glenn Papazian