NEW YORK – Columbia stuck with the Princeton women’s basketball team for the first 20 minutes of the game, but the Tigers put together a strong second half to down the Lions, 70-41, Friday night at Levien Gymnasium.
Junior Miwa Tachibana led the Lions with 12 points, while Princeton’s Alex Wheatley led all scorers and three Tigers in double figures with 18. Amara Mbionwu won the battle on the glass with nine boards for Columbia.
The opening minutes of the contest stayed close with Princeton taking just a one-point lead into the first media break, 6-5. A 6-0 spurt for the Tigers out of the break pushed their advantage to 12-5 before first-year Carolyn Binder drilled a triple off a feed from senior Taylor Ward at the 13:32 mark.
Over the next six minutes, game flow favored Princeton, as the Tigers steadily increased their lead until it was 20-10 with seven minutes left in the half. Columbia fired back though, going on a 9-1 run over the next 2:24 to make it a two-point affair, 21-19. Sophomore Sara Mead capped the Columbia charge with a deep trey from the left side, set up once again by Ward.
Princeton once again pulled away, holding a 29-20 lead with a minute left, but junior Miwa Tachibana connected from long range and first-year Tori Oliver scored with just three ticks left on the clock to send the teams to the locker room with Princeton leading by just four, 29-25.
The Tigers scored seven of the second half’s first nine points to go up 36-27 three minutes in, bringing a timeout from the Lions’ bench. The stoppage in play did little to halt the Tigers’ offense, with Princeton putting together a 9-2 run that ended with Blake Dietrick scoring in transition to bring the score to 45-29.
Ward nailed a 3-pointer at the 13:26 mark to keep Columbia within 13. The next five minutes passed with minimal scoring, as Princeton added just three points to their tally, while Columbia went scoreless. Tachibana ended the Lions drought with a trey with just under seven minutes remaining, but Princeton continued to play strong defense, keeping Columbia off the scoreboard for another long stretch while extending its lead to 63-36 late in the half.
Princeton finished the game shooting 56.3 percent from the field, while the Lions’ offense mustered only 26.4 percent. Columbia is back in action tomorrow at Levien Gym hosting Penn in its Play 4Kay game at 7 p.m.