BRONX, N.Y. – Since opening its doors to college basketball 98 years ago, Fordham’s Rose Hill Gymnasium has seen its share of memorable performances.
Not until March 16 had the historic venue seen a type of performance put on by Drexel’s Keishana Washington.
But it wasn’t enough as Fordham used a 49-34 spurt over the final two periods of play to overcome a halftime deficit on the way to defeating the Dragons 73-63 in a WNIT first-round game.
The win improved the Rams to 19-12 on the season and moves them into the next round of the tournament. Fordham will play either Columbia or Fairleigh Dickinson. Those two teams were scheduled to play March 17 in New York.
Washington, the Colonial Athletic Association player of the year, scored a game-high 43 points in the game and reached double figures in scoring for the 65th straight game. She posted 13 games this season with at least 30 points and finished her collegiate career with 2,363 points, the most ever by a Canadian-born player in NCAA history.
She was 12 of 27 from the field, including five of 12 from behind the arc in the game and connected on 14 of 15 free throws in the game.
Her 43 points were a new career-high for the graduate student from Pickering, Ontario. Her previous career-best was 42 points in an 86-82 overtime win over Penn State earlier this season. She also reached 40 points against Stony Brook and Delaware during the regular season.
Washington also established a new Rose Hill record with her 43 points surpassing the record of 37 by a visiting player set by basketball legend Julius Erving (Massachusetts) in a game on Jan. 21, 1970. It also surpassed the 42 points scored by former Fordham standout Ed Conlin in 1953 for the most points ever scored in the oldest Division 1 arena still in use.
Washington’s performance aside, there was still the outcome of a basketball game to be determined as both teams looked to extend their seasons at least one more game.
It was anything but a work of art as both teams started slowly by combining for just seven of 29 shooting from the floor over the first 10 minutes while finishing tied 10-10 on the scoreboard after the visiting Dragons used an 8-3 spurt over the final 6:11 of the period.
Drexel outscored the Rams 19-14 in the second quarter to forge a 29-24 lead at the intermission and scored five of the first seven points of the third quarter to build a 34-26 advantage with eight minutes to go in the period and it appeared the visitors were on the verge of taking command in the contest.
Instead, the Rams’ Asiah Dingle nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the circle to spark a 9-0 run to return the lead back to Fordham. The scoring spree was capped by a 3-pointer from the left win by Colleen McQuillen that put the Rams in front 35-34 with 4:32 left to play in the quarter.
The Rams would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way.
They outscored Drexel 21-13 in the third period to build a 45-42 lead heading into the final period of play.
A field goal from Chloe Hodges with 8:13 left in the game pulled the Dragons to within 47-46.
Drexel would get no closer.
Another 3-pointer, this one from deep in the right corner gave the Rams some breathing room and a 50-46 advantage a short time later.
A basket off an offensive rebound from Dingle with 2:44 left in the game virtually sealed the game by giving the Rams a 60-52 lead at the time.
Fordham placed four players in double figures in scoring with Anna DeWolfe leading the way with 22 points, while Dingle finished with 16 points of her own despite spending nearly 12 minutes on the bench in foul trouble. Jada Dapaa and McQuillen added 12 and 11 points, respectively for the Rams. Dappa led the way with a game-high 13 rebounds and teammate Matilda Flood chipped in with 10 boards.
Drexel’s Kylie LaVelle joined Washington in double figures in scoring with 10 points in the loss.
The Dragons end the season at 21-10. It marked the sixth straight full season Drexel has posted at least 20 wins a season.
A native of Bismarck, N.D., Ray is a graduate of North Dakota State University where he began studying athletic training and served as a student trainer for several Bison teams including swimming, wrestling and baseball and was a trainer at the 1979 NCAA national track and field championship meet at the University of Illinois. Ray later worked in the sports information office at NDSU. Following his graduation from NDSU he spent five years in the sports information office at Missouri Western State University and one year in the sports information at Georgia Tech. He has nearly 40 years of writing experience as a sports editor at several newspapers and has received numerous awards for his writing over the years. A noted sports historian, Ray is currently an assistant editor at Amateur Wrestling News.