Jan. 6, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Freshman Becky Peters wasn't around last season to see Fordham's record-setting performance.

However, she knew all about the Rams' 0-29 record that set the NCAA single-season futility mark. The New Jersey native was constantly reminded about it by her high school teammates.

"They all used to get on me and kid me about how Fordham hadn't won yet," said Peters, who signed early with the Rams last year. "I used that as motivation when I came here."

Peters is having the last laugh, helping Fordham to an incredible turnaround. The Rams (7-8) have already won seven games despite losing last season's leading scorer Megan Mahoney, who decided to transfer to Wagner in December.

Peters, the team's second leading scorer, has earned Atlantic-10 rookie of the week honors the last two weeks, becoming the first Ram to do so in consecutive weeks since the school joined the conference in 1995.

Fordham finished its non-conference schedule with an overtime loss to Navy on Monday. Still, the Rams have won seven games before A-10 play for only the third time in 13 seasons. Fordham was predicted to finish last in the conference in the preseason poll.

"It's a building process. We don't focus or talk about last year at all," Fordham coach Cathy Andruzzi said. "We were a young team that was plagued by injuries. Now we've added a guard who can get to the basket and a big player who can score in the paint."

The Rams already have had a three-game winning streak this season for the first time since 2004-05 and junior transfer Randall Hurst has been another big reason for the turnaround.

Hurst, who leads the team in scoring, had 19 points in a 62-49 win over Manhattan on Nov. 19 that snapped Fordham's 35-game losing streak. She became the first Ram to earn player of the week honors since 2006.

The Michigan native didn't know much about Fordham's rough season until she came to the school over the summer.

"Until I got here I didn't really know about what happened to them last season," said Hurst, who played at Central Florida her freshman year before attending junior college last season.

The Rams went 3-25 in Andruzzi's first year and had their chances to pull off a victory last season, losing twice in OT and dropping several other close games.

Had they been able to pull off just one victory, the season would be remembered as simply a young, injury-riddled team having a bad season. Instead they went down as the worst team in women's basketball history.

"We started right away after the season ended getting ready for this year," senior Annie Zopf said. "We never really talked about last year at all, starting off with a clean slate and just focused on getting better."

The biggest difference this season besides Hurst and Peters is the Rams' defense. Fordham gave up 68 points a game last season and so far the Lady Rams are allowing only 55 this season.

"We're starting to play better and when we get more players in we'll be alright," Andruzzi said.

The Rams most likely will fall short of Valparaiso's NCAA record of a 17-game single-season turnaround, they are headed in the right direction.