NEW YORK – Despite a close first half, and shooting 50% from the field in the second half, Columbia fell to Brown in the final home game of the season Saturday, 75-63. The Lions honored seniors Melissa Shafer and Jazmin Fuller prior to tip-off, in what was their final game in Levien Gymnasium.
Junior Tyler Simpson led the Lions in scoring for the third straight game, knocking back 23 points in the win, including 7-for-11 from the free throw line. Sophomore Taylor Ward had 12 point in the loss, while junior Taylor Ball added nine points of her own. Junior Courtney Bradford led the Lions on the boards with seven, despite early foul trouble.
The game opened with the two teams trading leads back and forth, with neither squad ever leading by more than five points. It wasn’t until Aileen Daniels hit a free throw at 4:14 to put Brown up by one that the Bears were able to maintain a lead. Senior Jazmin Fuller would tie the game up 20-20 with a jumper at 2:28, but a three pointer by Lindsay Nickel for Brown at 1:15 put the Bears up at the half, 26-24.
Brown came out of the break with explosive power, going on a quick 6-0 run with threes from Nickel and Lauren Clarke. The short run was part of a larger 14-6 run that put the Bears up by 10 points at the 14 minute mark. Though Columbia shot 50% in the second half, and Simpson scored 13 points of her own, Columbia could not close the gap. A layup by Ball with just over 30 seconds remaining cut the score to 73-62, but the Bears would score twice more on foul shots, and the game ended in Brown’s favor, 75-63.
Daniels was an unexpected leader for the Bears with 25 points, while Nickel was 6-for-7 from the field and 4-for-5 from behind the arc to hit 16 points for Brown. Hannah Passafuime was also in double figures for the Bears with 14 points. Columbia had 30 rebounds in the loss, including seven from Bradford, six from Simpson and four from sophomore Nicole Santucci. Fuller had two points, one rebound, three steals and two assists in her final game in Levien Gymnasium, while Shafer had five points, two rebounds and three assists in the loss.
Up next for the Lions is a three-game road trip, as Columbia will travel to Harvard, Dartmouth and Cornell, starting Friday, March 3, and culminating with a game in Ithaca to finish the season, Tuesday, March 6 at 7 p.m.