Monday, January 1, 2018

December 31st, 2017: George Washington at Fordham

Just the Facts, Ma'am: Fordham pulled away in the second quarter and staved off George Washington 61-50. Bre Cavanaugh led all scorers with 16, while G'mrice Davis added 14 points and 15 rebounds. Chyna Latimer led George Washington with 14 points off the bench, 10 in the second half.

For homecoming, the bitter cold, dubious officiating, yelling at people, and the slow emergence of freshmen, join your intrepid blogger after the jump.

The end of the calendar year, if not the basketball year, has come. It's December 31st, and your intrepid blogger will finish the year as she has spent most of it- at a basketball game. Fordham hosts George Washington in their conference opener, and we're ready.

I think I should be commended for my self-control in not buying a maroon "Happy New Year" hat and wearing it to the game.

Mei-Lyn Bautista of GW has a large chunk of family at the game. I think there are something like two dozen people wearing "Bautista 21" shirts in the stands.

Damn, Mary Goulding's still got that cast on. That makes me sad. I mean it's only been something like four days, so I shouldn't be surprised, but it still makes me sad.

We have a band today! I don't think it's a student band, if only because most of them look my age or older, but it'll be nice to have music. I wonder if they're going to do that great arrangement of "Seven Nation Army". (They are a guest band called the Patriot Brass Ensemble. Very technically sound, but the tempo on everything is slower than it should be.)

This game was tied at 15, whereupon Fordham said, "haha, LOL" and went on a 15-0 run. It's 33-22 Rams at the half. Bre Cavanaugh and Lauren Holden each have nine points to lead the Rams. Mei-Lyn Bautista, to the joy of her family, friends, and other folks wearing #21 shirts, has nine to lead the Colonials.

Lady, if I want my team to not give up and-1s, I will for damn sure be yelling to hit them harder. And if the other team is at the free throw line, yes, we're going to disconcert the shooter. If Bautista's family is going to start defense chants on the road, we need to defend our house. She seems to have vacated the area, and she's welcome to stay gone.

That was fun. Part of the fun was in competing noise-wise with the Bautista family. Fake-counting the shot clock as a road fan is incredibly tacky, and I'm glad we didn't fall for it. No one comes into our house and pushes us around, and no one comes into our house and stomps our bleachers without paying the price.

Lexus Levy wasn't afraid to launch from behind the line. Her most successful shots were from the corner, if I recall correctly. Kendall Bresee played more in the second half, getting close on D and getting punished by foul calls for it. (I'm not saying they were bad calls, but she seemed to be getting called for stuff her teammates weren't.) Chyna Latimer was left open a lot in the second half, and took advantage of the openings at the elbow and in the lane. I get the feeling that element of her game might not have been on the scouting report.

Sub was in so fast in the first half I honestly wasn't sure whether Latimer got the start or not, but the player who jumped center for the Colonials was long slim Neila Luma, who smacked the taste out of a Johanna Klug shot in the early going. Her shooting was dubious, especially near the rim, but she insinuated herself into the lane for rebounds. She and Latimer seemed to be splitting a lot of time. Kelsi Mahoney was physical. I do not appreciate badly set screens that are excessively pushy. She got caught twice for offensive fouls, and there were plenty of other times she could have been called.

Brianna Cummings had a reverse high off the glass that drew applause even out of us. It was pretty. She was able to intercept a lot of bad Fordham passes and rip away balls from careless ballhandlers. Her jumper's not so hot, but she gets to the lane well enough, and plays good enough defense, that it might just be forgiveable. Camila Tapias got the start, but I honestly don't remember her doing much. She moved the ball well enough, I guess. But Latimer was giving them more off the bench, and I think Rizzotti made the right choice to switch up the lineup. The prodigal returning daughter, Mei-Lyn Bautista, had a good day, with drives to the basket and a three-pointer to beat the shot clock. She's quick, and heady on the floor. I think I'd like her and her large family if we were on the same side, but since we're not... *shrug*

I don't know if I can really peg how good George Washington is off of this game, or their style. They at least know how to defend Fordham, but just didn't have the skills to back it up.

I'm going to need Kendell Heremaia to stop going anywhere near the far sideline. That is not a good spot for her. If she has the ball over there, it's going to end with her stepping out of bounds or getting stripped. I like her heart and her hustle, but sometimes she doesn't have it together. (Which, to be fair, might be a Kendell
thing in general. If the "Ram most likely to" features are to be believed she's a Tari Phillips-level space cadet.) Halei Gillis scored on a putback, and we were all taken by surprise. I think Halei was even taken by surprise. She's not as open as she thinks she is inside, but I think that level of court awareness will come with time. She was solid on defense today. We're going to need more of those kinds of minutes from her down the stretch, especially without Mary.

I love watching G'mrice Davis rebound. She took over on offense down low in the fourth quarter, cutting to the basket and hitting swooping shots. GW was doubling and tripling her on defense, and she still found ways to score. Zara Jillings always has her head in the game- if she wants to be a coach someday, she's going to be a great one. She communicates well on the floor. It was nice to see her offense actually get in the groove a little bit too, though I'd still like to see her be more assertive offensively- she passes out too often, even when she has a good shot. Johanna Klug is not fantastically mobile, but she gets low and she gets boards. Even when she doesn't, she boxes out well enough that she sets up her teammates for rebounds.

Lauren Holden's three-point shot often frustrates me, but today it was working. If anything, it was her floater and her drives that weren’t working. She left one pretty badly short. Likewise, we're all pretending the Bre Cavanaugh airball didn't happen. She put up a lot of shots, and they weren't all good ones, but she showed her propensity to make the shot clock roll over and beg by hitting them when it counted at the end of the clock. She took a lot of contact, and I know she has the concussion history, but sometimes I think she overacts to get the call more than she needs to. One of these days it's going ot backfire and she's not going to get the call on a play where she should.

If today's offense was an example of what things are going to look like when we get into conference play, with teams that know our style and know what we do, things aren't going to be as rosy as I thought they would be from the non-con. I know we like to run the clock down, but I'm kind of getting tired of counting down the shot clock every possession. We have to find better ways of getting G'mrice open. Maybe having Mary back at some point will help, but I don't know how long we can survive with our big three all being fairly streaky.

I'll admit we got the benefit of the doubt on a lot of calls. There was light contact being called on GW that wasn't being called on us. Travel calls were a hot mess in general. Counting is hard.

Little kids shooting free throws are cute, but if they're shooting from well in front of the free throw line I refuse to be impressed. Yes, I'm petty.

A good way to end the year. I look forward to a 2018 full of conference wins for all my teams! So far we've survived!

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