Sunday, January 22, 2017

January 21st, 2017: VCU at Fordham

Just the Facts, Ma'am: Fordham started off strong, but VCU came back in the fourth, and Fordham's late miscues sealed a 61-58 win for the Rams from Richmond. Mooriah Rowser led all scorers with 17 points for VCU, with Isis Thorpe adding 15 and Keira Robinson collecting a 12-point/10-rebound double-double. Anna Kelly led the Rams of Rose Hill with 16 points off the bench; Fordham also got 12 points each from Danielle Burns and G'mrice Davis, with Davis adding 13 rebounds.

For proper noun confusion, missed bunnies, repetitive chants, look-alikes, and hair remarks, join your intrepid and totes mature blogger. (Do you see any puns about Rams butting heads in here?)

Hello from the Bronx! This time, I come to Fordham in maroon and white, to watch as the Rams lock horns with VCU.

The bus ride took forever and three days- we left at 11 and arrived just in time for the (enthusiastic but inconsistent) anthem. Three hours on the road is not fun times.

At halftime, Fordham is up 32-24 on VCU. G'mrice Davis is all over the boards, and Fordham's been solid from beyond the arc- which is good, because their lay-ups have been really inconsistent.

Does Fordham not get the good conditioner or something? It's petty, but both Hannah Missry and Lauren Holden are suffering from really frizzy hair, as is Coach Gaitley. (This has the effect of making Lauren look like Hannah's Mini-Me.)

I know Rose Hill is small, but it always amazes me how many people Fordham manages to get in. I don't know if they just have a better network, or it's really that much smaller, or what.

It's Superhero Day, so there are lots of people with masks and capes, including the life-size cutouts of Hannah Missry and the Danielles.

Superhero Day is a very bad choice of days to come up short, to miss makeable shots, and to fail to secure critical rebounds. We were not superheroes today. We were mooks.

I have come to the conclusion that teams that go deep into their bench and play pretty much everyone on the roster are the most difficult teams to write about. I want to give every player their space to shine, but there are so many players. VCU doesn't quite play Havoc with their opponents, but they like to wear them down.

I rather liked Ashlee Mitchell, who came in and made an impact on defense almost immediately. She never let up on loose balls. Ashley Pegram had a shot that G'mrice Davis utterly erased from existence and memory, but was otherwise one of the better bench players. Bria Gibson gave the Rams size in the middle and held down the fort on the offensive glass. Sandra Skinner committed a couple of rapid-fire fouls in a row, and got duly mocked for it. I had been led to expect more out of Jailyn Maddox than she provided in this game, but that might be a side effect of VCU's system.

Keira Robinson kind of sneaked up on us; I looked at the stat board at the end of the game, and realized she had managed to garner herself a double-double. The plays weren't fancy, but she was in the right place at the right time. She was clutch. GG Goodhope had opportunities to shut the door and didn't qute grab them. Mooriah Rowser carried the load for VCU in the third quarter, getting off her own personal run with silky long jumpers and adroit use of her length.

Isis Thorpe, whose name started to sound more and more like "ee-sis" than any Egyptian goddess I've ever heard of as the game went on, played bigger than her height. She hit pretty hard on defense, but also showed some stroke in the second half from beyond the arc. Curteeona Brelove was quiet until the very end of the game, but wasn't afraid to throw her weight around down low on defense. She had more trouble finishing at the rim than she should have, but that's the pot calling the kettle black in this game.

VCU has extremely bland jerseys- hardly any trim on them at all. The cut makes them look like practice jerseys; in fact, I would say that Seton Hall's practice jerseys are more creatively designed. The gradiant effect on the shorts is kind of cool, though.

Fordham has got to do a better job of converting at the rim. Too many chances- six, seven chances- were blown short or wild, and any one of those would have changed the complexion of the game. Even better clock management would have helped, though clock management at Fordham is somewhat related to strangling the clock until it begs for mercy.

Tiffany Suarez came in for a slight change of pace, managed to commit a stupid turnover, and hit a couple of free throws. I wasn't impressed. I feel like something might have been wrong with Mary Goulding's sneakers, because she slid and hit the floor three times in rapid succession, on different enough parts of the floor that I don't think it was just a matter of the floor being wet. I like her, but she still needs a bit of polishing. Asnate Fomina took a rough fall that left her clutching her left elbow in pain. She came back in later and canned a three, so it must have just been her funny bone, but we were freaked out. Anna Kelly was a revelation, though she needs to work on her fundamentals at the basket. She seemed to have an easier time finishing the hard shots than the simple shots- the left-handed baby hook/under-handed fling thing she did had no right to be going in like that when she missed two fast break lay-ups.

Anna took most of the minutes from the nominal starter, Kate Kreslina, who seemed a bit stiff and awkward out there. Going with Anna and Lauren Holden gave us a very small backcourt, but a more effective one. I love Lauren's sass on the floor. She's become even more confident and self-possessed out there- sometimes to a fault, as she has a habit of calling her own number and proceeding to launch a shot that's either short or wide, or both. Hannah Missry got hot from three in the second quarter, and I thought we might have a chance to break open the game there, but she has defensive lapses, and those threes were her only offensive contribution to the game. She's one-dimensional. You learn to live with that.

Danielle Burns is not exactly consistent from that left corner and left elbow, but she does love it, and it's fun when the shot goes in. I think I'm being a little hard on her, because she had a solid game, but her judgment is not the best, and I expect rather better from seniors. G'mrice Davis owned the boards, especially early on, but her inability to consistently finish at the rim killed us down the stretch. She had great position and great opportunities, but the misses were killer.

I don't know why we bother counting the shot clock down at Fordham. They're going to use as much of it as humanly possible on every possession; they know it's getting low. Drives me nuts, this lack of urgency that's endemic to this style of offense.

The offensive foul calls were frequent in the early part of the game, but seemed to slow up near the end. Both coaches were upset at various times.

I think I need to get to more Fordham games. I don't know their cheers as well as I should, and I don't think they do intricate ones like LIU does, so it shouldn't be that hard to pick them up.

We should have had this game. We had plenty of opportunities to take it back. VCU left the door open with missed free throw after missed free throw, and we responded by walking through that door, tripping on the threshold, and falling on our collective keister.

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