RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Six years removed from a winless season, and one year after a one-point loss in the Atlantic 10 women's championship game, Fordham seniors Erin Rooney and Abigail Corning weren't about to let the Rams feel disappointment again.
Rooney scored 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Corning added 12 points and 11 rebounds Sunday as the Rams beat top-seeded Dayton 63-51 to win the A-10 title.
"From the start we were just like, 'This is our game. It's not happening again,'" Rooney said, referring to last season's 47-46 loss to Saint Joseph's in the title game, which denied the Rams the second NCAA tournament bid in program history.
They took care of that at Richmond Coliseum by taking down the regular season champions with a second-half push that was sparked by an early 11-2 run, and defined by dominance on the backboards. The Rams won the glass 30-13 after halftime.
'That was a huge momentum swing for us," Corning said of the burst, which turned a 41-38 deficit into a 49-43 lead with 11:32 to play. It was led by Mary Nwachukwu, who scored all eight of her points in the spree, hitting three long jumpers.
"They were one-and-done on the boards and that was really big for us," Corning said. "It kept our energy going."
Emily Tapio had 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Rams (25-7, 12-5), whose only other trip to the NCAA tournament came as Patriot League champions in 1994. They finished with a 48-33 rebounding edge and scored 30 points in the paint.
"When you give them 17 offensive rebounds and they can shoot the ball like they do, we don't have much of a chance at that point," Dayton coach Jim Jabir said, adding that he gave his team a frank talk about excuse-making and toughness afterward. "Corning is a really tough kid. Rooney is a tough kid and I think they took advantage of our lack of toughness."