PHILADELPHIA — First-year Riley Casey had the best shooting night of her young career, hitting 6-of-13 from beyond the arc on her way to a season-high 20 points, but defending Ivy League champion Penn proved to be too much, 70-51, Saturday evening at the Palestra.
Casey connected on at least one three in each period. Her first came as part of Columbia’s 7-0 start, which saw the Lions hit three of their first five shots while Penn missed its first six. The rookie out of Brentwood, Tennessee, hit two more 3-balls in both the second and third quarters before draining her final one with 3:54 to go in the fourth. She added two free throws to finish the night with an even 20 points.
Columbia (6-11, 0-2 Ivy) led 10-3 just over four minutes into the game after sophomore Maya Sampleton connected on her first from long range. Penn (8-5, 2-1 Ivy) then held the Lions scoreless for the next 11 minutes before Casey ended the drought with 4:36 to go before halftime. The Quakers scored 18 points in the meantime while Columbia missed 14 consecutive shots and turned the ball over four times. Penn took a double-digit lead into the locker rooms and led by as many the rest of the way.
Casey was the only Lion to score in double figures. Senior Camille Zimmerman saw a 43-game streak come to an end, finishing with nine on 4-of-15 shooting. She found other ways to contribute by going for eight rebounds and a team-high four assists. Sophomore Janiya Clemmons grabbed a career-high nine boards.
Penn was led by rookie Eleah Parker’s career-high 22 points and 14 rebounds. Parker was 11-of-23 from the floor and did most of her scoring off second-chance opportunities. Her eight offensive rebounds helped Penn to a 22-4 advantage in second chance points. The Quakers finished the night with a plus-18 margin on the glass, which included 21 offensive boards. Reigning Ivy League Player of the Year Michelle Nwokedi had 11 rebounds.
The Lions held Penn under 40-percent shooting, but never found their own offensive rhythm and finished the night just above 30 percent. Penn hit 10 of its 29 attempts from beyond the arc (34.5 pct.), including 5-of-8 attempts in the third quarter to pull away.
Columbia cut the margin back to 10 twice in the third quarter, but a 7-0 run capped by a Lauren Whitlatch three ballooned the lead to 18. Ashley Russell hit another in the period’s final seconds to give the home team a 20-point advantage.
Penn led by as many as 26 with a 12-2 run that spanned between the third and fourth quarters. Columbia did well to outscore the defending champs 10-4 over the final 4:32, but the Quakers ultimately completed a weekend sweep.
Columbia welcomes Cornell to the Big Apple next Saturday for its first home game of the Ivy League season. Tip is slated for 4 p.m. as the front end of a doubleheader with the men’s basketball team.
POST-GAME NOTES - Riley Casey’s six threes were the most by a Lion since Emily Surloff hit six against FDU on Jan. 6, 2016.
- The game featured the Ivy League’s two leading freshmen scorers. Riley Casey had 20 for Columbia. Eleah Parker had 22 for Penn.
- Camille Zimmerman passed Jewel Clark (Penn, 2000-04) for 11th on the Ivy League women’s basketball all-time scoring list
- Camille Zimmerman’s 43-game double-figure scoring streak came to an end. It also marked the first time this season Zimmerman did not lead the Lions in scoring.