DES MOINES, Iowa -- Down by as many as 13 points in the second half, the Columbia University women's basketball team fought back to cut the lead to two at 47-45 with 12:44 remaining in regulation but could not push any closer as it fell to Drake, 69-59, at the Knapp Center on Saturday afternoon. Junior Danielle Browne scored 10 of her 13 points in the second stanza, while sophomore Judie Lomax recorded her third double-double of the year with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
The Bulldogs led 40-30 at intermission and hit for the first three points of the second half to build their lead to 43-30 with 18:58 remaining. But the Lions were able to cut down on unforced errors and dug in defensively to limit Drake to just four points over the subsequent six minutes. In that span, Columbia would score 15 points of its own with Browne being the catalyst. Browne came down with a Drake miss at the 16-minute mark and went coast-to-coast for a fast-break layup to put the score at 43-34.
After a steal by junior Sara Yee, Browne nailed a long-distance three to further trim the Bulldog lead. A jumper from Brittnye McSparron put an end to the quick 5-0 run, but Browne was not done. On the next possession, the junior guard again found the range from deep to cut her team's deficit to five at 45-40. A minute later, the Lions cut their deficit to just two following a three-pointer by first-year Katherine Goodwin.
The two teams would battle back and forth over the next seven minutes. Lomax hit a layup off an offensive board to make the score 54-51 with 8:53 left. After a turnover by Drake, Goodwin had a chance to tie the contest with a three-ball from the right wing but could not find the range. Columbia would have two more opportunities to cut into the lead but missed each time.
From there, Drake's Kristin Turk would score nine of her team's 11 points in a crucial stretch and a driving hoop in the paint pushed her team's lead to eight, 65-57, with 2:23 remaining. Drake would hit four free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Each team shot 44.8 percent from the floor for the game on 26-of-58 shooting, but problems at the free-throw line proved costly for the Lions. Columbia shot just 2-for-9 at the charity stripe while Drake converted on 13 of 17 attempts. The Lions held the edge on the glass, 41-29, and had 15 second-chance points.
In the opening half, Yee started things off for Columbia just seconds into the game, as her driving left-handed layup gave the Lions a quick 2-0 lead. A layup by Lomax would break a 7-7 tie and briefly put Columbia up as the game would stay close for much of the first 10 minutes.
Drake’s bench would be the difference in the opening period, as the Bulldogs would get 20 points from their reserves, half of the team’s scoring output. Amber Wollschlager had five consecutive points off the pine in the middle part of the half, including a three-pointer that pushed the Bulldogs lead to double figures at 23-13 with 8:20 remaining. Drake would maintain its 10-point lead into halftime at 40-30.
Lomax led the Lions in the first half with eight points, four rebounds and a pair of assists, while junior Chelsea Frazier had six points on 3-of-5 shooting. Columbia shot 51.9 percent from the field but had 11 turnovers, which led to 11 Drake points. The Bulldogs also held on to the ball and were charged with just one turnover in the period.
The Lions will return home to Levien Gymnasium for their next contest on Saturday, December 6, against Denver at 4 p.m.