As the Rams gear up for another tournament run, all eyes are on star player Bre Cavanaugh. Fresh off of another A10 player of the week, Fordham’s chances in the tournament hinge on the success of their fearless junior guard. Whether it’s her family in the stands at every game, or her effortlessly carving through opponents defenses, the Cavanaugh name leaves its mark on every single game.
After spending a season at Cal in 2015, she transferred to Fordham, striking gold from day one. She averages 17.8 points per contest throughout her first three seasons, has an A10 First Team All-Conference selection (with another coming soon) to her name, and is just getting started as the Rams work their way through the A-10 tournament and probable postseason tournament berth. Meet Bre Cavanaugh.
Rebounders Club: A10 Tournament weekend is coming and you guys are having a great season. How do you feel about this year’s squad?
Bre Cavanaugh: I feel great. I think we’re ready, and I think we’re going to hopefully be able to repeat. I know, usually, teams make a stretch run before they go into tournament play, but with this conference right now, it’s a toss-up. Anybody can win. We’re confident about it, and looking forward to it.
BC: My family is really good about it. I know my parents either make it to every single game, or at least one of them makes it. They haven’t missed a single game in my career here at Fordham.
RC: That’s crazy.
BC: I remember last year they made it to Dayton in a huge snowstorm! My Dad bought the ticket on the same day. For him to do that? It’s crazy.
RC: Not only has your family not missed a single game, but you haven’t missed a single game either over these past three seasons. How have you been able to be so durable?
BC: Honestly, you just have to thank God. It’s a blessing to be able to play and start in as many games I’ve been in, not coming away with an injury too serious. I’m lucky and grateful for that. That doesn’t happen a lot. So I’ve been lucky enough to stay healthy, and recovery is a big factor in order to keep going to play 40 minutes and continually run. Definitely want to thank God for that.
BC: When I reopened my recruiting process, I only considered schools in New York and New Jersey, just for the sole purpose of having my family be able to come to the games. Fordham is only an hour away, so it’s closer than any of the other schools, so to be able to have them come to these games, it’s awesome. It’s amazing. My family attends every single game, so the distance definitely factored into my decision.
RC: When did Fordham pop up on the radar?
BC: They first popped up on my radar when my initial recruiting process started. They popped up as soon as coaches were allowed to contact me. They were one of the first places to contact me. Fordham was there from the beginning. Obviously, I made my decision to got to Cal, but when I opened my process back up, they were one of the first to hop in there. Why not give them a shot?
RC: When did you first meet Coach Gaitley?
BC: I remember seeing her at different AAU tournaments, but I officially first met her when I came to campus in May of 2016 during my visit.
BC: But, you know, you like energy. She definitely had a lot of energy. I was like, Woah. I actually liked it. A lot of coaches are like, “Hey, how are you. I’m Coach so and so.” Coach Gaitley, right off the bat, just started cracking jokes right away. That’s how I knew I could be comfortable around the coaches and staff, and how ‘lax they are, and everything has to be serious. That’s one of the reasons why I chose Fordham.
RC: So you sat out a season due to NCAA regulations, and you played in your first season and made an immediate impact right away, Second-team all-conference. What was it like just getting out there in your first year, and did things click right away?
BC: I mean, the good thing about the year that I redshirted allowed me to get accommodated with the plays and the defense, and learning that Fordham basketball’s identity is defense. Getting accustomed to that, that first year helped a lot, and I stayed for the first two summer sessions. That also helped a lot. We also went overseas for our foreign tour so I got some games under my belt, but coming into the first year I just wanted to get out there and leave everything on the court.
I also wanted to prove a lot of people wrong, because when I did end up getting hurt, a lot of people kind of just fell off. Kind of just left me hanging, so it was nice to break out and have a good rookie season, and having them all coming back. It was great. A lot of people doubted me.
RC: We saw what happened last year. You guys made a run, and made the NCAA tournament. This year, you guys have had a great deal of success as well. What’s it like taking on more of a leadership role this year?
BC: I’ll tell you this. Being a leader is so hard. It is so different. Coach always says you never know what it’s like being a leader until you’re actually a leader. It’s hard. If you’re not having a good day, you have to make sure everyone else is having a great day. It’s not about you, it’s about the whole team. You have to put the ‘we’ before the ‘me.’ You can have a bad day, but you can’t have two bad days in a row. You have to make sure you’re on point 24/7.
BC: Honestly, coming from a program like Cal and going to a program like Fordham, it was definitely different. When I was in California, our sole focus was on our offensive game. Figuring which pivot foot we had to use, and it was very offensive-oriented, whereas Fordham is just strictly defense. It was different, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly working with Coach Gaitley. It wasn’t too much of a problem. I’m still working on my defense. I remember two years ago, Coach would be like “yeah, you scored 20, but you also gave up 20.” We always laugh about it, because I’m definitely improving on my defense.
RC: We see Bre Cavanuagh on the court. What’s next after graduation when you’re off the court, or is that part of the plan?
BC: I graduate next year. I think, possibly, after next year, I’m going to enter the WNBA draft and see how that goes. I’ve spoken to Coach, the other day, and she said she could definitely see me playing in the WNBA. Also, when one of the assistant coaches for the Washington Mystics came to practice at Fordham, she said she definitely sees me playing in the WNBA. That definitely gave me a confidence boost. If that doesn’t work out, there’s obviously a backup plan. I wouldn’t mind playing overseas, but my ultimate goal is to be in the FBI.