Thursday, February 4, 2016

Fordham 76, George Washington 69: Ray Floriani's Tempo-Free Analysis

Fordham huddles following their victory over George Washington. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)

Bronx, NY -­ The visitors came in with nineteen wins and an unblemished record in Atlantic 10 play, the home five at 9­-12 and a .500 mark in conference, 4-4. On this night, Fordham, wearing the home white, put it together scoring a 76­-69 victory over George Washington at Rose Hill Gym.

First Quarter: The obligatory good start was realized by the Rams, who took a 7-­3 lead four minutes in. Inside threat Samantha Clark set effective high post screens, not rolling, but instead fading to the perimeter. In one sequence, she buried a three to the delight of a boisterous crowd. George Washington chose to push the ball, looking for opportunities in transition.
End of First Quarter: Fordham 16, George Washington 8

Second Quarter: George Washington looks to run on almost every chance. A look at the tempo-free printout from Basketball State shows the Colonials average a conference-best 77 possessions. Though they got out and ran a few times the first quarter, the Rams are more focused on playing half court and running their sets. Some of those sets feature lobs to Clark and G’mrice Davis. The Colonials had trouble matching up with the Rams inside.

Fordham owned a ten-point lead with just over three minutes remaining, but had their own concerns on defense as Brianna Cummings was effective inside.

Halftime: Fordham 37, George Washington 27
Possessions: Fordham 34, George Washington 33
Offensive efficiency: Fordham 109, George Washington 82

Third Quarter: George Washington came out running. Fordham coach Stephanie Gaitley gestured with her hands and verbally implored her team not to get caught in a track meet. George Washington’s man to man defense made field goals hard to come by. Outside threat Hannah Missry was shadowed by fresh bodies all night. With under a minute to go, the Ram lead was reduced to one. In the last five minutes of the quarter, Fordham only made two field goals, both by Danielle Burns.

End of Third Quarter: Fordham 48, George Washington 45

Fourth Quarter: Burns continued, stroking two threes to build the lead back to seven at the eight-minute mark. Fordham, not giving up the lead, maintained momentum­ heading into ‘crunch’ time. George Washington coach Jonathan Tsipis was opinionated after he felt an offensive foul by Fordham was not called with the Rams burying a trey. He is assessed a technical foul, increasing the Fordham lead to ten with six minutes to go. A transition conversion by the Colonials with just under three minutes remaining makes it a one-possession affair, but the Rams never allowed the visitors to lead or even draw even. The final minute­-plus became a succession of Fordham trips to the line.

Final: Fordham 76, George Washington 69
Possessions: 68
Offensive efficiency: Fordham 112, George Washington 101

Four Factors:
eFG: Fordham 63, George Washington 42
FT Rate: Fordham 50, George Washington 17
OREB%: Fordham 15, George Washington 39
Turnover Rate: Fordham 19, George Washington 12

Leading scorers:
George Washington: ­ Lauren Chase, 18 points, EF 28
Fordham:­ Danielle Burns, 31 points, EF 38

What George Washington did well: Rebound and stay resilient. The Colonials won the offensive rebounding percentage battle and had a 41­-32 edge in raw rebounding numbers. Several times, the Rams established momentum and threatened to pull away but coach Jonathan Tsipis’ club would not fold.

What Fordham did well: Shoot. A 50 percent mark from three (8-of-16) accentuated a strong overall shooting percentage, resulting in an outstanding 60% eFG rate. Fordham also showed the ability to draw fouls with an excellent 50% free throw rate.

The game was basically a close affair that was not settled until the Rams iced it the final seconds. Oddly enough, there were no ties nor lead changes. Ciara Washington of George Washington pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds. Clark led Fordham with eight boards. In addition to her 18 points, Lauren Chase handed out eight assists against one turnover in 36 minutes. With a rotation of just six, Fordham was outscored 22­-4 off the bench. George Washington led 13-­0 in second chance points.

Final Thoughts “It feels good. I went out and did what I had to do on both sides of the ball. Just because they didn’t want me (Burns was interested but not offered by George Washington) makes no difference.” - Fordham forward Danielle Burns

“Great team victory, one of the best since I’ve been here. So special. Total team effort. Short rotation, a few freshmen I had to teach a lesson to. Great win, because we knocked off a top team and showed our kids what we were capable of. Great to finish and put it together in this situation. Danielle has come into her own. One of our biggest factors is controlling tempo. If we have horses, we run. We didn’t have the horses, so we tried to get it into our pace. Hats off to Danielle Burns, her work ethic is incredible.” ­- Fordham coach Stephanie Gaitley

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