NEW YORK – The Columbia women’s basketball team (9-3) begins the New Year back on the East Coast, closing out the non-conference season across the Hudson River at NJIT (7-7) on Wednesday. The game will tip at 11:30 a.m. as part of NJIT's Education Day.
• ESPN3 will carry Wednesday’s broadcast. Columbia's radio feed will be available on the Ivy League Digital Network. Live stats will be provided by NJITHighlanders.com.
• Columbia is tied for its best 12-game start in program history (1984-85) and is off to its best 12-game start of the program's Division I era. The Lions won seven straight games from Nov. 27 - Dec. 29, tying for the longest winning streak since becoming a Division I program in 1986-87. The streak included an overtime win over Providence, which marked the program's first BIG EAST victory.
• With a win, Columbia would finish the non-conference season 10-3 (.769), which would go down as the winningest non-conference season in program history in terms of winning percentage. Last season, the Lions went 11-4 (.733) in non-conference play, totaling the program’s most non-conference victories.
• The Lions are coming off a West Coast trip to close out the 2016 calendar year, in which they defeated Cal State Fullerton, 61-46, and fell to Long Beach State, 73-60. The 49ers snapped Columbia's seven-game winning streak.
• Junior Camille Zimmerman has been named Ivy League Player of the Week four times this season. Zimmerman leads Columbia in scoring (20.5), rebounding (9.0), steals (1.3) and blocks (1.0). She ranks atop the Ivy League in points per game, total points (248), field goals made (100), field goal attempts (206) and double-doubles (6). Nationally, Zimmerman is top-20 in scoring average and field goals made.
• Zimmerman is seven rebounds shy of 500 and would become the seventh Lion in program history to eclipse both 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. Earlier this season, senior Tori Oliver became the sixth member of the exclusive club, moving above 500 rebounds in a victory at Loyola Maryland (Nov. 30). Oliver (1,213 points) and Zimmerman (1,046 points) are Columbia's first pair of active 1,000-point scorers since Kathy Gilbert (1987-91) and Jennifer Beubis (1987-91), who both hit the 1,000-point milestone in the 1990-91 campaign.
• Columbia is 3-0 all-time against NJIT, which includes a 72-52 win last January in New York. In that game, the Lions held NJIT to 29.3-percent shooting. Tori Oliver paved the way for Columbia with 16 points and 11 boards.
WEST COAST NOTES
• Columbia tied the program's Div. I record for consecutive wins (7) with a 61-46 victory at Cal State Fullerton.
• Columbia posted season-lows in turnovers (11), points allowed (46) and FG allowed (16) against the Titans.
• The Lions reached 9-2 for the first time in program history with the win at Fullerton.
• Tori Oliver pulled down a season-high 13 rebounds at Fullerton, one off her career high.
• Camille Zimmerman made it five straight 20-point outings when she scored 20 at Fullerton.
• The Lions took a 3-2 series lead over CSU Fullerton, snapping the Titans' two-game series winning streak.
• Camille Zimmerman passed Jennifer Beubis (1987-91) for ninth on the all-time scoring list with a 17-point effort against Long Beach State.
• The Lions fell to 0-3 all-time against the 49ers.
• The Highlanders (7-7) have won three straight and four of their last five. The three-game winning streak started on December 16 with a 70-55 win over Howard, and also includes a 31-point rout of Rutgers-Newark (Dec. 28), as well as a 57-42 victory at Chicago State (Dec. 30). NJIT has taken on one other Ivy League opponent this season, losing at Harvard, 59-38 (Dec. 4).
• NJIT is led by senior Alana Dudley's team-best 11.3 points per game. Dudley and Leah Horton (10.8 ppg) have started all 14 contests and are the team's only two scorers who average double figures. Dudley also leads the team with 55 total assists, while Horton, a 6-1 senior, boasts a team-best 82 total rebounds (5.9/game) and 12 total blocks.
• NJIT relies on its defense, ranking atop the Atlantic Sun Conference in points allowed (58.6 ppg), field goal percentage defense (36.3 pct.), steals per game (10.7) and turnovers forced (20.43). The Highlanders are among the top-75 nationally in all four categories, including No. 41 in both steals and turnovers forced. Meanwhile, their offense averages only 55.8 points, ranking 310th nationally, and shoots just 36.5 percent from the field.
• Columbia (9-3) is tied for its best 12-game start in program history with the 1984-85 Lions. Columbia secured the program's best start on December 12 when they defeated LIU Brooklyn to move to 8-2 for the first time ever. Along the way, Columbia won seven straight games, tying for the longest winning streak of the Div. I era with the 1986-87 team. The program's all-time longest winning streak is eight, accomplished in the 1985-86 season.
CRASHING THE GLASS
• Columbia ranks No. 4 in the NCAA in rebound margin at +13.7 (through Sunday, Jan. 1). The Lions have outrebounded every opponent this season, including three opponents by more than 20. Columbia outdueled Loyola Maryland on the glass 45-23 on Nov. 30, followed by a 47-23 advantage over UMass Lowell two days later. Earlier in the season, Columbia outrebounded Richmond by 21, 54-33.
• Senior Tori Oliver and junior Camille Zimmerman have each totaled over 1,000 career points, marking the first time since the 1990-91 season that two active 1,000-point scorers have taken the court together. Oliver enters the game fourth in program history in scoring (1,213 points), moving into the top 5 with a 15-point performance at Richmond (Nov. 13) and passing current head coach Megan Griffith (2003-07) and Ellen Bossert (1984-86) in the process. Zimmerman ranks ninth all-time in scoring (1,046 points), breaking the 1,000-point plateau against LIU Brooklyn (Dec. 12). The last pair of active 1,000-point scorers was Kathy Gilbert (1,309 points) and Jennifer Beubis (1,039 points), who played together from 1987-91.
COLUMBIA BASKETBALL PODCAST
• The Columbia University Sports Management program is producing a series of podcasts involving the Columbia men's and women's basketball programs this season. The podcasts are part of the program's podcast series, The CUSP Show. Several episodes are already available and can be downloaded for free in the App Store. Fans can access the podcasts in a variety of other ways as well, which includes going to BlogTalkRadio.com/TheCUSPshow. The podcasts will also be posted as they become available to GoColumbiaLions.com.
• The Lions begin the program’s 31st Ivy League season next Saturday, January 14, when they head upstate to Cornell. Tip is slated for 1 p.m. from Newman Arena. The Big Red’s men’s and women’s teams make a return trip to New York one week later, January 21, as part of a basketball doubleheader.