ITHACA, N.Y. - The game was tied at 37 at halftime but Cornell was efficient from the field in the second half and capitalized on its second-chance opportunities to pull away from Columbia in a 68-54 victory in the 2013 Ivy League opener at Newman Arena Saturday afternoon.
Columbia (2-13, 0-1 Ivy League) led by as much as six with 7:17 to go in the first half, and held a 34-32 lead with just two minutes left before Cornell (9-6, 1-0 Ivy League) scored the next five points to take over 37-34 at the 1:15 mark. Sophomore Miwa Tachibana was on fire from deep and came through in the clutch, hitting her third three-pointer of the first half with six seconds on the clock to knot the halftime score, 37-37.
The Lions opened the second half with a jumper by Tyler Simpson as a back-and-forth battle ensued.
With the Lions down by three at the 12:02 mark, Stephanie Long hit back-to-back three-pointers in under a minute span to push Cornell's lead to 56-47. The Big Red slowly chipped away throughout the remainder of the game and did not look back in posting the win.
Brittany Simmons led two Columbia players in double figures as the senior recorded a new career benchmark with 18 points and eight steals in addition to a team-high five boards. Tyler Simpson was the second Lion to score in double digits, dropping 13 points to go with four rebounds.
Cornell was led by Clare Fitzpatrick, who went 8-of-9 from the line and scored 18 points. Allyson DiMagno added a double-double of 15 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, while Stephanie Long and Spencer Lane also reached double figures with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
The Lions will renew their rivalry with Cornell next weekend when Columbia hosts the Big Red on Jan. 26 at 4:30 p.m. in Levien Gymnasium.