Junior Lauren Holden will be counted on to play both guard spots for Fordham this season while still being a threat from long range. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)
A team can have a winning season on occasion, but a true program establishes a consistent pattern of winning year after year. Under coach Stephanie Gaitley’s watch, Fordham has evolved into a program. The Rams enjoyed another successful season, finishing 22-12 overall and 12-5 in conference for a fifth-place finish. After losing in the Atlantic 10 tournament quarterfinals to Saint Louis, Fordham then accepted a bid to the WNIT, where they defeated Georgetown before being eliminated in the next round at Penn State.
Fordham played at a 64-possession pace, the most deliberate in the A-10. By contrast, Davidson and Rhode Island played at the fastest pace, at 73 possessions per game. The Rams’ offensive efficiency checked in at 92, while the defensive side was measured at 86. The offense was fair at best, as the accent obviously was on defense. The Rams’ efficiency margin was a plus-6, tying them with Saint Joseph’s for fourth-best in the A-10. Saint Louis led the way with a plus-16 margin.
Effective field goal percentage: 45
Free throw rate: 20 percent
Offensive rebound rate: 31 percent
Turnover rate: 17 percent
The Rams shot a fair percentage from the floor. They did rebound and were able to get to the foul line. A key number was their turnover rate, checking in under the acceptable cutoff threshold of 20 percent. On the defensive end, the opposition recorded just 43 percent effective field goal shooting against the Rams. In addition, Fordham forced opponents into a 17 percent defensive turnover rate, fifth-best in the conference.
For the individual breakdown, we looked at the players averaging 10 minutes or more per game. The usage is the percentage of team possessions each played used. These were factored against the team possessions only for the time that player was in the game. Player efficiency is measured here via the NBA/WNBA model of efficiency used widely today.
G’mrice Davis: 27.6 usage, 19.7 efficiency, 14.6 points per game
Kate Kreslina: 19.7 usage, 7.3 efficiency, 8.5 PPG
Danielle Burns: 23.0 usage, 7.1 efficiency, 8.8 PPG
Hannah Missry: 15.9 usage, 6.4 efficiency, 7.8 PPG
Lauren Holden: 17.4 usage, 5.3 efficiency, 8.5 PPG
Mary Goulding: 16.9 usage, 4.5 efficiency, 3.3 PPG
Anna Kelly: 22.4 usage, 3.2 efficiency, 4.2 PPG
Asnate Fomina: 15.6 usage, 3.1 efficiency, 2.0 PPG
G’mrice Davis was the marquee player not only in usage and scoring, but efficiency as well. The 6-foot-2 junior not only was Fordham’s lone player averaging double figures, she also grabbed 347 rebounds. No other Ram hit the century mark in that category. In fact, the second-leading rebounder was Danielle Burns, with 91. Davis herself grabbed 88 of the Rams’ offensive boards. Davis did have a team-high 91 turnovers, but given her usage percentage and what she did in scoring, rebounding and the immeasurable leading, those turnovers were a minor setback against her outstanding contributions.
Burns was an interesting player. At 5-foot-10, she could rebound and step outside to hit the three-pointer, making 36 attempts from long distance. The Rams will also lose their top three-point threat, Hannah Missry, who dialed in 71 from deep. Those are the lone losses in this rotation.
Lauren Holden has the ability to play either guard spot. The junior knocked down 49 threes and may be looked to increase that total with Burns’ and Missry’s departures. Kate Kreslina, a senior guard, hit 33 from long distance a year ago and is another three-point threat in the Ram arsenal. Mary Goulding came alive in tournament play, scoring 17 against Saint Louis and 19 at Georgetown. The six-foot junior forward could be the answer to taking inside pressure off Davis.
The Rams do not look to get out and push the pace. They will gladly grind it out and take you down defensively in a half court setting. The defense is a big part of their success. As noted, the half court pace does not suggest a great deal of full court pressure. Gaitley’s group forces turnovers and contests shots by solid half court defense, usually the man-to-man variety. They have an inside force in Davis, an all-conference and all-defensive player. Even with her presence, the Rams will shoot the three. With Missry now having graduated, Fordham will look for several players to contribute beyond the arc.