Columbia women’s basketball heads to California to wrap up the 2012 portion of its schedule with a pair of games against Long Beach State (Dec. 29 at 4 p.m.) and Cal State Fullerton (Dec. 31 at 5 p.m.).
LAST TIME OUT
Columbia finished out the 2012 home season with a bang as the Lions defeated St. Francis Brooklyn 49-45 in Levien Gym, snapping a five-game losing skid.The Lions rallied with a 9-0 run to comeback from a early seven-point deficit and take a 20-18 lead with just over six minutes to play in the first. Sara Mead drained two consecutive three-pointers to extend the Lions’ run to 15-0, giving Columbia a 26-18 advantage as the Lions did not miss a basket for five consecutive posessions. Miwa Tachibana kept things exciting as she knocked one down beyond the arc with nine seconds on the clock, sending the Lions into the locker room with a lofty 31-23 lead. A much slower pace overcame the second half, during which the teams alternated scores until the Terriers posted seven unanswered points to cut the Lions lead to three, 38-35, with 5:28 to go. Courtney Bradford came through in a major way in the final minutes. A crucial steal by Bradford with 2:30 remaining resulted in a Taylor Ward layup with 1:38 on the clock. Then, a huge tip by Bradford secured possession for the Lions with just over a minute to play. Bradford made it count by sinking both tries from the line to extend the Lions’ lead, 44-39. St. Francis responded with a three-pointer with 14 seconds left to make it 44-42, but a three-point play by Taylor Ball put the game away for good.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. LONG BEACH STATE
Columbia and Long Beach State will be facing off for just the second time on Saturday. In their first meeting a season ago, the Lions staged a late-game rally to nearly take the win from the 49ers in Levien Gym, but Long Beach held Columbia off, taking the victory, 70-61. Despite the loss, the Lions had a strong offensive output with a season-high 46.8% overall in field goals and 40% from the three-point range.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. CAL STATE FULLERTON
Monday will mark the third meeting between Columbia and Cal State Fullerton as the Lions hold a 2-0 mark over the Titans. Most recently, Columbia came away with a 65-63 road victory during the 2008-09 season.
SCOUTING THE 49ers
Long Beach State defeated Canisus with a 72-67 overtime victory before squeaking by Sam Houston State 50-49 to claim the third annual Beach Classic title last week at the Walter Pyramid. The 49ers have been strong at home, holding a 5-2 record to date. Leading the way for Long Beach is Alex Sanchez, who is averaging 12.4 points, 4.2 assists and a .822 free throw percentage (37-of-45). Defensively, Devin Hudson holds a team-best 5.9 boards per game average.
SCOUTING THE TITANS
San Jose State received the ball down by just a point with seven seconds left, but failed to get a shot off as Cal State Fullerton hung on to defeat the Spartans 60-59 last Saturday afternoon at Titan Gym, snapping a seven-game losing streak. Accumulating all three of their wins at home this season, the Titans are led by sophomore guard Chante Miles, who is averaging 13.5 points, 3.4 assists and 2.7 steals. Kathleen Iwuoha is pulling down a team-best 7.2 rpg.
COLLEGE SPORTS MADNESS
Senior Brittany Simmons earned College Sports Madness Ivy League Women’s Basketball Player of the Week honors after lifting the Lions to a 49-45 victory over St. Francis Brooklyn. Simmons tied her career best with a game-high 11 points, including a perfect 4-of-4 effort from the charity stripe. The McIntosh, Ala. native also led the way with seven rebounds, five assists and four steals in an all-around impressive performance.