NEW YORK – Columbia begins its 32nd season of Ivy League women's basketball with a Friday-Saturday back-to-back against Princeton and Penn. The Lions open league play at Princeton on Friday at 5:30 p.m., followed by a trip to the Palestra to take on defending champion Penn on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Both games will air on the Ivy League Network and serve as the front end of doubleheaders with the men's basketball team.
Alumni, family, and friends of all ages are invited to enjoy refreshments and game fare from 5-7 p.m. in the Class of '71 Room in the Palestra between the women's and men's basketball games. Members of the basketball staffs will be present. You must have a game ticket to enter the Palestra. The Class of 71 Room is located inside the building. Questions? Contact Doreen at email@example.com.
• Friday marks the first time since 2012 that Columbia will open its Ivy League slate against Princeton. The last time Columbia opened with a back-to-back against Princeton and Penn was January 13-14, 2006.
• Columbia is 9-22 all-time in Ivy League openers. The Lions joined the Ivy League in women's basketball for the 1986-87 season, winning in their debut at Cornell, 65-58, on January 10, 1987.
• Senior Camille Zimmerman leads the Ivy League in points per game (20.0), total points (300), total rebounds (132), field goals made (108), free throws made (78) and double-doubles (7). She ranks among the NCAA's top 50 in all those categories except total rebounds, including 35th in points per game and 24th in free throws made.
• Last Ivy League season, Zimmerman scored 342 total points and averaged 24.4 points per game. Those marks each rank fourth in Ivy League women's basketball history.
• Columbia will be looking to snap an 18-game losing streak against Princeton and a 12-game losing streak to Penn. The Lions are in search of their first win at Princeton since 2008 and their first win at Penn since 2010.
• Senior Camille Zimmerman leads the Lions in points (20.0), rebounds (8.8), assists (3.3), steals (1.0) and blocks (0.7). Last season, she was the only player in the country to lead her team in all five categories.
• Zimmerman is scheduled to make her 99th and 100th career starts against Princeton and Penn.
• Zimmerman has scored in double figures in 42 consecutive games and led Columbia in scoring in all 15 games this season. She is coming off her 40th career 20-point game last Wednesday at Hampton.
• Zimmerman is 10 rebounds from passing Shawnee Pickney (1997-01) for third all-time at Columbia.
• Zimmerman averaged 29.5 points and shot 47 percent (22-47) last season against Penn. Her 31- and 28-point performances were the two highest totals the Quakers allowed to an opposing player all of last season. She also did well against Princeton, averaging 25.5 points on 42.5 percent shooting (17-40).
• Columbia is in the middle of a stretch in which it plays nine of 10 games on the road.
• Columbia is among the top-25 in the NCAA in 3-point field goal defense (27.0 pct.) and free throw percentage (76.1 pct.). Senior Camille Zimmerman, junior Abby Lee and first-years Riley Casey and Madison Pack are all hitting at above 85 percent from the charity stripe. Lee has yet to miss (6-6 FT).
• First-year Riley Casey is second among Ivy League rookies in scoring at 10.0 points per game. She has scored in double figures nine times, including a season-high 18 points against Buffalo (Dec. 9). She averaged 13.8 points and shot 53.3% (24-45) over a five-game stretch from Nov. 29 - Dec. 11.
• Sophomore Maya Sampleton has scored in double figures in four of her last eight games, including back-to-back career-high scoring performances of 12 points against Hofstra (Dec. 11) and Houston (Dec. 28). She is averaging 9.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and shooting 47.2% (17-36) over her last four games.
• Columbia has been outrebounded in all nine of its losses and held to 60 points or less in six.
• Columbia held Hampton to 28.2 percent shooting in its last outing (Jan. 3). It marked the lowest shooting percentage by an opposing team since Dec. 29, 2016 in a 61-46 victory at Cal State Fullerton.
• Princeton (11-3, 1-0 Ivy) enters Friday on a five-game winning streak, including a victory over defending champion Penn, 70-55, last Saturday to begin Ivy League play. The win was Princeton's first over the Quakers since March of 2015, snapping Penn's five-game series winning streak. Princeton carries an RPI of 38, the best in the Ivy League, and has a strength of schedule that ranks 60th nationally according to the Jeff Sagarin ratings. The Tigers are first in the conference in scoring defense (55.5) and rebound margin (+3.9), while ranking among the top-three in nine other statistical categories. They are led by sophomore Bella Alarie, who averages 15.7 points and an Ivy League-best 9.2 rebounds. Alarie is 19th nationally in blocks per game (2.57) and has been named Ivy League Player of the Week three times this season, including this past week after going for 18 points (7-11 FG), 12 rebounds and eight blocks against Penn. Leslie Robinson also averages double figures scoring at 10.5 points, while Carlie Littlefield, who scored 17 off the bench against the Quakers, averages 9.6.
• Penn (6-5, 0-1 Ivy) had won four straight before falling to Princeton to begin the Ivy League season last Saturday. The Quakers have won the Ivy League each of the last two seasons, including the first ever Ivy League Tournament championship a year ago. They went up against then-No. 3/2 Notre Dame in this year's non-conference schedule, putting up a fight but falling to the Irish, 66-54, back on December 9. Penn butters its bread in the assist/turnover department, ranking second in the Ivy League in assists (14.9), turnover margin (+3.73) and assist/turnover ratio (1.14), while leading the Ivy League in fewest turnovers (13.1). The Quakers also rank second behind Princeton in scoring defense (59.6). Senior Michelle Nwokedi, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, is averaging a team-best 11.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.45 blocks. Eleah Parker (11.1) and Lauren Whitlatch (10.0) also average double figures scoring. Eleah is shooting a team-best 50.0 percent (57-114) from the field, while Whitlatch is the leading 3-point threat, having made a team-best 33 from beyond the arc.
• Columbia traveled to the state of Texas during the holiday break for two games in the city of Houston against Houston and Rice. Senior Paige Tippet, senior Jillian Borreson and sophomore Maya Sampleton all hail from the state of Texas. Tippet calls League City her hometown, just outside of Houston, and played three years at Clear Springs High School. The Lions practiced at Tippet’s alma mater during the trip. Borreson is from 180 miles west of Houston in Mountain City, which sits between Austin and San Antonio. Sampleton isn't far from Borreson in the capital of Austin.
RECORD OFFENSIVE NIGHT
• Columbia defeated Saint Francis University, 94-81, on December 6 at Levien Gymnasium, achieving offensive numbers the program had not seen in quite some time.
• Columbia's 94 points were its most against a Div. I opponent since Dec. 29, 1990, when it defeated St. Francis Brooklyn, 95-81. Its last 90-point game against a Div. I opponent was a 93-83 win over Longwood in 2009.
• Columbia shot 57.9 percent from 3-point range (11-19), marking its highest 3-point percentage (min. 10 made) since Feb. 26, 2010 when the Lions shot 60 percent (12-20) against Penn.
• Columbia shot 54.2 percent from the field (32-59), marking its highest shooting percentage since Feb. 28, 2014 when the Lions shot 54.7 percent (29-53) against Dartmouth.
• Columbia had 23 assists in the game, its most against a Div. I team since Feb. 20, 2009 against Brown (23).
• Six Lions scored in double figures for the first time since Dec. 28, 2013 in an 87-80 win over Lehigh.
PICKING A FIGHT
• Columbia has shown its not afraid to play anybody, as evidenced by the strong opponents on this year's non-conference schedule. Heading into the start of Ivy League play, Columbia has faced five teams in the RPI top-50, which includes Mississippi State (3), Green Bay (10), Arizona State (19), Buffalo (35) and Houston (47). Princeton (38) will mark the sixth different opponent on Friday. According to the Jeff Sagarin ratings, Columbia's strength of schedule ranks 115th, which is second-toughest in the Ivy League behind the Tigers (60).
ON THE APPROACH
• Senior Camille Zimmerman is steadily making her way up the Ivy League's career record books. She enters the weekend four points from passing Christine Clark for 12th on the Ivy League's all-time scoring list. Clark scored 1,711 points at Harvard from 2010-14. Zimmerman is 71 points from becoming one of the league's top-10 all-time scorers. She is also eight made field goals from cracking the top-15 in that category. Zimmerman is among the league's top-10 all-time in scoring average (17.3) and field goal attempts (1,474), while ranking among the top-20 in free throws made (379) and free throw percentage (82.0 pct.).
• Camille Zimmerman is Columbia's all-time leader in points (1,708), field goals made (632), field goal attempts (1,474) and free throw percentage (82.0 pct.). She is also among the top-five all-time in rebounds (777), free throws made (379), free throw attempts (462), blocked shots (91) and games started (98). She passed Columbia Hall of Famer Ula Lysniak '87BC earlier this season to become the all-time leading scorer, and later passed Kathy Gilbert '91CC for the top mark in field goals made. Zimmerman passed another Hall of Famer, Nora Beck '83SOA, for one of the top-five spots in career rebounds.
• The Ivy League men’s and women’s basketball tournaments return to Philadelphia, where they will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11, 2018. The top four teams will earn berths to the tournament, with the semifinals on Saturday and the championships on Sunday. All six games will be broadcast live on ESPN’s networks. For tickets and more information please visit IvyMadness.com.