PROVIDENCE, R.I. - After leading by two at halftime, the Columbia women's basketball team (2-18, 0-6 Ivy League) suffered a heart-breaking loss to Brown (13-8, 4-3 Ivy League) Friday, 72-63 in overtime.
Junior Tyler Simpson set another new career high in points with 26 to lead all players, going 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Senior Melissa Shafer had 18 points, while sophomore Taylor Ward had nine points from behind the arc in the loss.
The game opened with the two teams trading threes for five minutes. Lauren Clarke and Lindsay Nickel each had treys for the Bears, while Taylor Ward and Melissa Shafer went back-and-forth for Columbia with two threes each to make it 13-12 Brown at 15:43.
Aileen Daniels sparked a 7-0 run for the Bears with a jumper at 15:29, and Brown was up 20-12 at 10:28. It wasn’t until junior Tyler Simpson hit a baseline jumper at 10:11 that Columbia got back into the game. Ward got the Lions within striking distance with a three at 7:05, which closed Brown’s lead to 22-21.
Columbia took the lead two minutes later with a baseline jumper from Shafer, 23-22 with just over five minutes left in the half. Simpson went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the last two minutes to give Columbia the lead at the half, 31-29. It was only the third time this season Columbia has led at the half, the first since November 27, when the Lions led Army in a game that Columbia turned into a win.
The beginning of the second half was a back-and-forth affair between the two teams, as the score would tie twice more and the lead changed hands as many times. Nickel sparked a run for Brown at the 15:40 mark, as she made two free throws, the first two points of a 7-0 run by the Bears. A jumper by Daniels made it 44-39 in Brown’s favor with 13:14 left in the game, in what would be the widest lead of the second half.
Sophomore Courtney Bradford tied the game up four minutes later with a traditional three point play, making it 46-46 with 9:03 to play. Though Brown would pull ahead once more, sophomore Nicole Santucci tied it up again with a bucket in the paint at 7:32, 48-48.
The game stayed close right to the last minute, when Simpson made a layup on a fast break at 1:14 to give Columbia the 57-55 lead. Daniels hit a jumper for Brown to tie the game up at 57 with just under a minute left to play. Columbia had the ball with one second left in regulation, but Santucci missed an opportunity under the basket with 0.9 seconds left, and the game went to overtime tied at 57.
Overtime saw the Bears come out firing, as Clarke hit a quick layup to put Brown up, 59-57 15 seconds into the period. Sheila Dixon scored eight points in the overtime period, including a jumper at 3:17 to give Brown a five point lead, 64-59, but Simpson hit a jumper of her own one minute later, and the Lions were within one, 64-63 at 1:28.
But that last minute and a half proved to be the difference maker, as Dixon had two steals converted into layups for the Bears, and made two free throws in the last two second to clinch the win in favor of Brown, 72-63.
Tyler Simpson set a new career high in points for the third time this season, with 26 points, including a perfect 8-for-8 from the line … Simpson also added seven rebounds … sophomore Courtney Bradford tied her season high in rebounds with 13 … Senior Melissa Shafer had four three-pointers in the loss, which now puts her seven away from Columbia’s all-time record … sophomore Taylor Ward added nine points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals … Sheila Dixon had 20 points to lead the Bears, after scoring only six in the first half … Lindsay Nickel and Hannah Passafuime had 11 each for Brown.