We conclude our session of getting smacked repeatedly in the feels at beautiful, historic Rose Hill Gymnasium, where Fordham honors their four seniors against Davidson.
There appears to be a minion theme to the shirts Fordham is wearing for their seniors. It's weirdly adorable. "One in a minion", apparently. Which I don't know makes sense when you have four seniors, but this isn't my job. THE MINIONS ARE WEARING TINY JERSEYS. <3 <3 <3
Reasons I love New York: six kids and a dragon performing one last New Year's celebration as we pass a corner in Flushing.
Reasons I side-eye New York sometimes: pretty sure there is nothing innocent about a guy squeezing lotion on one hand, then covering himself from head to knee with his coat.
We were trying so hard not to make alcohol references for Emily Tapio's senior day poster... and then the band plays "Tequila".
They're paging the parents. Senior Day is about to get started. Lots of flowers. Someone forgot to bleach the Ram on the tablecloth- it looks like it's being used for PinkZone.
Poor Taryn Durant. :( Her family was supposed to be at the Senior Day ceremony, but they no-showed. Her teammates walked her out, but you could tell that she was disappointed. Her face was pretty much :-[ the whole time, and everyone made a point of giving her an extra hug. (And Stephanie Gaitley does not believe in senior=starter on Senior Day- she came off the bench.) (I think it was travel difficulty- folks showed up fairly late in the game, and I think that was her family.)
Nice enough Senior Day- flowers, framed photographs, highlight reels and accolades. Nice touch for the senior manager- his framed picture is of him cutting down the net at the A-10 tournament.
Fordham is up 31-21 at the half, but it's been disjointed and ugly. Neither team looks like they know what they're doing.
The news from Indianapolis will make this second half easier to watch, methinks. So did a vast, vast improvement in play.
We've been invited to the post-game reception, so your intrepid blogger is typing some GNoD from Dagger John's, a couple of flights down in the McGinley Center. Smells like cafeteria pizza, to be honest.
Davidson is... not a good team. There's really no way to sugarcoat it. They have dubious fundamentals, play undisciplined physical defense, don't pass well, and don't take care of the ball all that well. This game should not have been as close as it was, but Fordham broke down on both ends of the floor.
Mellissa Giegerich cleared space on the inside in the first half, and hit a basket almost as soon as she entered the game, so it's a little unclear to me why she didn't play in the second half, unless she did and she was just far less effective. If I'm unfamiliar with a foe, and they don't have names on their jerseys, it's a little harder for me to spot people. Lillian McCabe maintained poise and took outside shots. Kayla Seymour disrupted a lot of passes for both teams and pulled down some boards during the big second half run.
Dakota Dukes has a shot I haven't seen in decades. She shoots the one-handed set/push shot like back in the olden days. And weirdly enough she hit a lot of them. I thought Fordham was doomed when Dukes hit a left-handed lay-up, because I figured that if she had learned how to use her other hand, she was going to break through to another level. Alexandra Long came up with offense in the lane and from the midrange. She was their primary scorer and one of the catalysts for their second half run. Saadia Timpton certainly has gumption- one does not challenge a tall, stocky post player like Samantha Clark when one is an eeny little guard without having gumption. But you have to temper that gumption with some common sense, and the foul trouble she got herself into in the second half did not help Davidson's cause. Mackenzie Latt showed flashes of promise on the boards and on defense- she missed shots that she should have hit in the post, and shots that she probably will hit later in her career. Hannah Early got good position on the boards, especially when Fordham got confident in their shots falling.
Stephanie Gaitley is currently thanking all the people. It amuses me how little Hannah Missry appears to care- she's steadily working the buffet table like it ain't no thing. (Ahahah. One of Liz Milner's family members was apparently supposed to be on a flight to Arizona... which was canceled... so she decided to come to Liz's Senior Day instead. Emily Tapio: "I have kind of a crew, so bear with me." Taryn Durant: "It hasn't been an easy journey, but I made it to senior year... thank God.") The seniors each got scrapbooks, which was adorable. And there is a minion cake. (Dad, I know you're not reading this. But if you are, no, I'm not stealing it for you.)
He's schmoozing, and I'm scribbling. That's how we roll. We did corral Asnate Fomina briefly, since she was standing right there. He's currently tracking down seniors to provide them with the tiny posters we make for all the seniors. As you can imagine, he was very busy in Photoshop with 12 seniors distributed among four teams. (He made one for Kyra, even if she wasn't part of Senior Day at St. John's.)
Taryn Durant came up big at the end, pulling down a critical rebound to help secure the win for Fordham. She was tenacious, and seemed to have a little bit of a chip on her shoulder. Asnate Fomina came in for a little bit of shooting, but got few touches and generally seemed to be flailing on defense. Danielle Burns seemed to be taking shots that were outside her comfort zone. Some of them fell, but her role at Fordham might be better suited to something like Taylor Holeman's role at Villanova, the player in the system who doesn't play the system and thus provides a crucial mismatch when the system starts to break down, the driver who forces the defense to sag and creates space for the outside shooters. Danielle Padovano played a couple of stretches, but made no measurable impact.
Emily Tapio missed a lot of shots that she should have hit right at the basket, and she knew she should have had them- you could tell by her demeanor. Early on, she was letting a lot of rebounds get by her. But when the chips were down, she woke up, crashing the glass and getting to the line. That's what I like about her. She'll find what her team needs and do it. Hannah Missry was one-dimensional, almost to the point where she seemed about ready to have a panic attack if she had the ball anywhere but beyond the arc in shooting position. Two of her shots were blocked back into her face. Her reaction time was really slow today, but I'm inclined to give her a pass because she's still a bit hurt (she came to the post-game reception with her left foot in a boot). Her shot is a thing of beauty when it's on, but she needs to be a little more than a three-point shooter. Tiffany Ruffin turned up the defense on Long in the second half, and that was a huge reason why Fordham was able to recover from Davidson taking the lead away from them. She ran through the backdoor for a couple of crucial lay-ups, too. G'mrice Davis, whose name I probably won't get right on a consistent basis until sometime in her junior year, was ferocious on the glass early. She's got to hone her shooting a little, as well as her defense, but if she does that, she'll be an absolute beast. (In the complimentary way.) I love her hustle and her rebounding ability. Samantha Clark hit the boards hard too- again, she had trouble finishing, and as the game went on, she had trouble keeping up with the pace. That is not a woman I would want to tangle with in a dark alley. That is a lot of very intense, very tough, woman.
Fordham had a lot of communication issues on their passing and positioning- there was one play I remember in the second half where Clark was sort of wandering around the outside as if offering her skills as a freelance screener to anyone who wanted to take them. Davidson was disruptive, this is true, but Fordham let it get to them. They lacked focus. I don't know if their seed was locked, or if they were looking ahead to the A-10 tournament, or what, but they did just enough to survive. It was as if, in the last three minutes, the seniors decided, You know what? No. Everyone else can do what they want, but we're not losing on Senior Day.
Officials let them play early, tightened up later. The biggest issue I had was that I thought two of Tiffany Ruffin's fouls were on other players. Not a gamechanger, but annoying.
It's not a skill that has any application in the real world, but the kid who won one of the timeout contests has a real knack for the hippity-hop.
No. I am not allowed to get attached to another team. No. Fordham has to wait until I'm done with Iona, this is entirely too silly.