NEW YORK - Columbia women's basketball is hitting the road this weekend for its first Ivy League overnight weekend. The Lions will travel to Providence, R.I. and New Haven, Conn., to take on Brown, Friday, February 10 at 7 p.m., and Yale, Saturday, February 11 at 7 p.m. Columbia (2-17, 0-5 Ivy League) is still in search of its first Ivy League win this weekend.
LAST TIME OUT
The Lions will be looking to rebound from a tough two-loss weekend at home in Levien Gymnasium. Friday, February 3, Columbia suffered a 59-44 loss to Dartmouth, in a game that saw junior Tyler Simpson score a career-high 21 points and senior Melissa Shafer chip in 13 overall. Columbia trailed by just three points at the half, 26-23, before the Big Green pulled away in the second stanza.
Saturday, February 4 saw a strong showing by the Lions, as sophomore Courtney Bradford notched her second double-double of the season with 13 rebounds and a career-high 17 points. Simpson and Shafer both scored in double figures as well, but the Lions could not stop the Crimson, falling to Harvard, 68-56. Harvard went 21-for-21 from the free throw line in its win over Columbia. The first half saw the two teams trade leads and stay close, while costly runs in the second half set the Lions back in the long haul.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. BROWN
The Bears hold a sizable all-time lead over the Lions, as Brown is 35-15 against Columbia. But recent history falls on the side of Columbia, as the Lions have won seven of the last eight, including a win at the start of the 2011 Ivy League season. The 65-55 loss to Brown in the final game of the 2011 season marked the first in four years. Consequently, Columbia's seniors, Melissa Shafer and Jazmin Fuller, have a 5-1 all time record against Brown, and will look to stay on the winning side of that equation this weekend.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. YALE
Columbia holds the recent edge in this matchup as well, as the Lions have won three straight against the Bulldogs, including a 48-42 thriller on the road last March, as the Lions handed then-second place Yale a loss at John. J Lee Amphitheater. Yale holds the all-time edge in the series however, 34-16.
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SCOUTING THE BEARS
Brown stands at 12-8 overall this season, and 3-3 in the Ivy League. The Bears have suffered Ivy League losses at the hands of Princeton (57-45), Harvard (65-57) and Yale (75-65), but are coming off a thrilling win on the road, as they beat Penn in overtime, 59-55. The Bears are led by Sheila Dixon, who's averaging 13.3 ppg and 6.2 rpg (both team highs), along with Hannah Passafuime, who's averaging 12.7 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Yale is also 12-8 overall, but slightly ahead of Brown, standing at 4-2 in the Ivy League. The Bulldogs' two losses in the league so far came from Brown (60-55) and Princeton (72-47). Yale, who is hosting "Yale Athletics Pink Zones" this Saturday (with all proceeds from the game being donated to the Smilow Cancer Hospital), will be looking for two major milestones this weekend.
Head coach Chris Gobrecht is 499-424 all time, and seeking to earn her 500th career win. Though a win over Cornell Friday night would seal the deal for Gobrecht, she may be seeking the career mark against the Lions if the Big Red can pull out a win. And junior Megan Vasquez is 20 points from 1000, as the guard has scored 980 career points. She leads the Bulldogs in scoring this year, with a 14.6 points per game average. Sophomore forward Janna Graf will also be a factor, as she's second on the team with 10.8 ppg, and leads the Bulldogs on the boards, with a 6.0 rebounds per game average. Yale currently leads the Ivy League in three point field goal percentages, shooting .311 as a team this year, and they've racked up a league-high 124 3FGM this season.
SUPER SHOOTER SHAFER
Senior Melissa Shafer, who's led the team in scoring for most of the season, is currently setting her sights on becoming Columbia's all-time best perimeter shooter. Shafer is second all-time in both three-pointers made and three-pointers attempted, and she's 11 3PM and 16 3PA away from Columbia's all-time records.
1. Emily Roller (1995-99) 161
2. Melissa Shafer (2008-Present) 150
3. Megan O’Neill (1999-03) 120
4. Sue Altman (2002-05) 119
5. Susan Kern (2001-05) 118
1. Emily Roller (1995-99) 467
2. Melissa Shafer (2008-Present) 451
3. Shawnee Pickney (1997-01) 383
4. Megan O’Neill (1999-03) 376
5. Megan Griffith (2003-07) 356
SOMETHIN' ABOUT SIMPSON IN THE SECOND HALF
Tyler Simpson and the calendar year 2012 are getting along just fine, thank you. The junior has seen dramatic improvement in the second half of the season, including two career games, and an incredible output. After averaging 8.2 points per game in the months of November and December, Simpson has skyrocketed to the top of Columbia's offense, averaging 14.2 points per game in the month of January, and leading the Lions in scoring in five of the six games played since January 1. Since earning her first start of the season in December, Simpson has started every one of Columbia's last ten games, and has set new career highs in points, minutes (36), field goals made (8), field goals attempted (20), free throws made (11) and free throws attempted (14). She's scored in double figures in seven of the last eight games, including a career-high 21 points against Dartmouth, February 3. She is leading the Lions with a 10.9 ppg average, and shooting .429 from the field. She's also ranked 10th in the Ivy League in PPG, and seventh in the league in field goal %.
Sophomore Courtney Bradford had one of the best games of her career against Harvard, February 4. The forward tied her career high with 17 points, and set new career highs in minutes, field goals made and field goals attempted. She also tied her career high in blocks, and set a new season high in rebounds, with 13.
- Columbia is currently ranked second in the Ivy League in offensive rebounds, with a 13.4 average per game. And sophomore Courtney Bradford is second in the league in offensive rebounds, with a 2.5 rebounds per game average.
- The Lions have out-rebounded opponents just three times this season, including most recently, against Cornell. The Lions grabbed 38 rebounds, including 21 offensive rebounds, to Cornell's 28 total rebounds. Courtney Bradford had seven offensive rebounds, matching Cornell's team total. The December 11 game against the Blackbirds marked the first time this season the Lions out-rebounded their opponents. Columbia notched 38 total rebounds, including 27 defensive rebounds, while LIU had 31 total rebounds. The January 4 game at Lafayette is the other best effort for the Lions on the boards. Columbia snagged 44 rebounds to the Leopards' 31, including 24 defensive rebounds to Lafayette's eight offensive rebounds.
JAZMIN IN JANUARY
Senior co-captain Jazmin Fuller had her Columbia coming out party this January, as her statistics skyrocketed. Earning her first two starts of the season against Princeton and Cornell, Fuller averaged 15.75 minutes per game in the month of January, compared to just 5.75 minutes per game in November and December. And her other numbers have gone up as well. In Columbia's loss to Cornell, Fuller matched her career-high with six points scored, and set new career highs in minutes (22), assists (3), FGM (3) and FGA (6).
T-BALL PASSING THE BALL
Junior guard Taylor Ball is sixth in the Ivy League in assists per game, with a 3.0 assists per game average. And when Ball passes the ball, the Lions win. She had her season-high assist total in the win against Army (7), and nearly matched that in Columbia’s win over Bryant (6). The only time Ball has had more than five assists and the Lions haven’t won was the game against Hawaii on December 3.
ROCKIN' OUT ROOKIES
Columbia has had three different Ivy League Rookies of the Week this year. First-year Amara Mbionwu was the first to earn the honor for the week of Nov. 13, as she averaged 6.5 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds in two games for the Lions. The next week, Miwa Tachibana took the honor, as she led the Lions in scoring against Wagner. Tachibana was 4-for-7, scoring 11 points. And in January, Caitlyn Unsworth made it 3-for-3, as she was named Rookie of the Week, scoring 18 points in two games for the Lions.