The men’s team is enjoying its best year in decades under the first-year head coach, with 22 wins heading into the Feb. 25 game against the University of Rhode Island in the historic Rose Hill Gym. The Rams have won 16 of 18 games at home this year, drawing sell-out crowds to “Rose Thrill,” as the 98-year-old gym has come to be known. Meanwhile, the women’s team sits tied for third in the Atlantic 10 just days before the conference tournament is set to start. Both teams have brought excitement, thrills, and their share of media attention to Rose Hill.
Fordham basketball fever reached a peak on Wednesday evening, Feb. 22, when the men’s team faced Loyola University Chicago in the Windy City and the women took on the University of Rhode Island in the Bronx.
In their final home game of the season, the women were down 65-63 with eight seconds to go when graduate transfer Jada Dapaa knocked down an off-balance layup to tie the game and send it to overtime.
With the clock ticking down in overtime, the Rams were trailing once again, this time 73-71 with just under five seconds to play. That’s when senior guard and Cumberland, Maine, native Anna DeWolfe dribbled up the court and launched a three—“from Maine!” according to ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt—to give her team the win. DeWolfe was mobbed on the court by her teammates and coaches, celebrating the upset victory against second-place Rhode Island.
Van Pelt was so impressed, he kicked off SportsCenter with the highlights from Rose Hill. “We begin with the best thing I saw today, which comes to us from the Boogie Down Bronx,” he said.
ABC’s Robin Roberts also couldn’t resist DeWolfe’s buzzer beater, showing it on Good Morning America.
Thanks for the love @RobinRoberts @GMA!!!#TougherTogether pic.twitter.com/J6f4RdghdO
— Fordham WBB (@FordhamWBB) February 23, 2023
About 800 miles from “Rose Thrill,” the men’s team pulled off its own exciting victory in Chicago. Led by graduate student guard Darius Quisenberry, who put up 26 points, the Rams beat Loyola Chicago 71-69. It was a close game throughout, with the Rams trailing by one point at halftime, but the team pulled ahead with just over six minutes left and never looked back.
Wake up with the highlights from win no. 2⃣2⃣ pic.twitter.com/j8gBuDljZK
— Fordham Basketball (@FordhamMBB) February 23, 2023
Alumni across the country have been tuning in to support the team. The Maroon Club hosted a pregame meetup before taking in the men’s game in Chicago, and the Alumni Chapter of Los Angeles gathered to watch the game at State Social House in West Hollywood. And students have given the Rams a notable boost at home.
“The campus community is flying high watching the team, which means you had better arrive early at the gym to get to your spot,” Roger Clark reported in a piece for NY1 following the team’s comeback victory against the University of Massachusetts on Feb. 8.
Following the game, Urgo and the players praised the Fordham faithful. “We have the opportunity to really do something special here with the fan base, and it’s a result of getting the right guys in the program that fit not just the basketball program but the entire community,” Urgo said in a press conference following the game.
Tyler Cole, a first-year student from Brooklyn, is among those who have been impressed. “It’s honestly very fun and exciting, and I feel like the team shows warmth; they are like a family to us,” Cole told NY1.
Both teams are in action on Saturday, Feb. 25. It’s the final game of the year for the women’s team as they travel to North Carolina to take on Davidson at 1 p.m. The men will host the University of Rhode Island starting at 2:30 p.m. The men’s game will include a special tribute to the 1970–1971 Rams team that captivated New York City basketball fans on its way to a 26-3 record and the East regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament. In addition, Fordham will honor former star Charlie Yelverton, FCRH ’71, whose No. 34 will be retired.
After Saturday, the men have two more games ahead of the Atlantic 10 tournament—at George Mason University on Wednesday, March 1, and back at Rose Hill for a 2 p.m. tipoff against Duquesne on Saturday, March 4.
Alumni support for the teams also continues, with gatherings planned across the country. The Alumni Chapter of Charlotte is gathering for the women’s game against Davidson. And on March 1, the Alumni Chapter of Washington, D.C., will bring together alumni, family, friends, and fans to cheer on the Rams against George Mason at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.
The women’s A-10 tournament is set to begin on Wednesday, March 1, at the Chase Fieldhouse in Wilmington, Delaware. And the men’s A-10 tournament starts the following Tuesday, March 7, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and runs through the championship game, set for Sunday, March 12. The opening-round matchups will be finalized at the end of the regular season, but right now, both Fordham teams are in third place in the conference.
Fordham athletics is encouraging alumni, family, and friends in the New York area to cheer on the team at the Barclays Center. All-session tickets for the tournament are on sale now and fans can keep an eye out on the Atlantic 10 website for updates as the tournament gets closer.