Manhattan Men and Fordham Women Advance to the Big Dance

Howard Goldin

Representatives of the Bronx will be participants in March Madness of 2014 as the Manhattan Jaspers men and the Fordham Rams women automatically qualified for the NCAA National Tournament by virtue of winning their conference tournaments.

The Manhattan Jaspers (25-7) reversed last year’s MAAC Tournament final result by defeating the 1st seeded Iona Gaels by three points, 71-68, on Monday night, to advance to the NCAA National Tournament.  The second seeded Jaspers advanced to the final contest by a win over Saint Peter’s and Quinnipiac in earlier rounds of the tourney.

The victory over Iona advanced the Jaspers into the true March Madness for the fourth time. They last were in the nationals a decade ago, 2004. Prior to that year, they were in the NCAA’s in 2003 and 1993. Interestingly, their current head coach, Steve Masiello was an assistant coach in the successes of 2003 and 2004.

MAAC Tournament MVP George Beamon led Manhattan with 16 points and eight boards. Rhamel Brown scored 15. Shane Richards, with four from beyond the arc, scored 14. Emmy Andujar netted 12.

One day earlier the women hoopsters of Fordham University (25-7) captured the Atlantic-10 Tournament with a 63-51 victory over the 1st seeded Dayton Flyers. This tournament title was the first for the Rams in the respected athletic conference. The Rams advanced to the National Tournament for the second time. Their last appearance was 20 years ago, 1994.

At 16:09, Dayton was up by 8-2. A jumper by senior Abigail Corning at 3:05 gave the Rams their first lead of the game. The Flyers, as they had for most of the first half, led at the half, 30-29.

The game was competitive throughput the early minutes of the second half. After a tie at 43 was broken by two free throws by Emily Tapio at 13:07, the Rams never again lost the lead. Stephanie Gaitley, the Fordham head coach, remarked, “They were very focused. Confidence grew as we came down the stretch.”

Three of the starters for Fordham achieved double-doubles. Erin Rooney scored 13 and grabbed 13 boards. Emily Tapio accomplished her fifth double-double in the past eight contests with 10 points and 12 rebounds. The A-10 Tournament MVP, Corning, scored 12 with 10 rebounds.

The seeding and location of play for Manhattan will be announced on Sunday and for Fordham will be announced Monday.