NEW YORK -- For the second straight night, the Columbia women's basketball team found the rims away from Levien Gymnasium quite unkind. The Lions fought through their offensive miscues in the opening half, and headed into the locker room tied with Penn at 25-25 at halftime. But Penn used a smothering defense and relentless offensive rebounding to take home a 60-40 win over Columbia at the Palestra on Saturday evening.
The Quakers limited the Lions to just 26.1 percent shooting in the second half and 30.6 percent shooting for the game, and snared 19 offensive boards as they won their second straight Ivy League game. With the loss, Columbia falls to 4-4 in the Ivy League and 5-17 overall.
Penn began the game on a 9-0 run over the first four minutes, as the Lions missed their first five shots from the floor and committed six turnovers. First-year Brianna Orlich finally got the visitors on the scoreboard with a three-pointer, and had three trifectas as part of an 11-2 run that knotted the game at 11-11 at the 12:19 mark of the first half.
Meghan McCullough, the Quakers' first-year guard, buried a three-pointer of her own to spark a quick 9-2 spurt that rebuilt Penn's lead to 20-13 with just under eight minutes remaining in the stanza. McCullough was the key to Penn's success in the period, scoring all eight of her points in the game in the first 20 minutes and registering four steals which tied a career high.
A layup by Penn's Courtney Wilson built the lead to eight at 22-14 before the Lions would make a charge to close the half. First-year Blaine Frohlich provided a spark off the bench as she knocked down a 12-foot jumper in the lane to ignite an 11-3 run that knotted the contest heading into the break. Frohlich also grabbed three boards in her eight minutes of play, including an offensive board that led to the game-tying three from senior Lauren Dwyer with 44 seconds remaining.
Unfortunately for the Lions, they could not build on the momentum that they had established to finish out the first half. Penn began the second half by scoring 12 of the first 13 points to open up a 37-26 advantage with 12:29 left in the contest.
A pair of three-pointers by Orlich and classmate Taylor Ward trimmed the Columbia deficit to seven at 39-32 at the midway point of the second half. But from there, Penn went on a 10-2 run to re-up its lead to 49-34 with 7:11 to go to put the game out of reach.
Erin Power and Jess Knapp were the difference in the second half for the Quakers, scoring eight points apiece. Power also added 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double. Penn outrebounded the Lions by a 23-11 margin in the second half and had a 30-8 edge in points in the paint.
Orlich finished with a game-high 15 points for Columbia, while Dwyer closed with seven points, seven rebounds and a pair of assists.
Columbia continues its four-game Ivy League road trip on Friday, Feb. 18 at Dartmouth.
NOTES: Dwyer became just the sixth player in Columbia history to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career with her second rebound of the night...She also became just the second player (Kathy Gilbert) to have 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks in a career...Senior Kathleen Barry had a team-high four assists and added four steals...Penn had 15 steals in the game and its bench outproduced Columbia's, 20-7...Sophomore Sabaah Jordan converted on a tough jumper in the paint to record the first field goal of her career (her first two points of the season came at the free-throw line)...The Lions tied a season low with six free-throw attempts (Iowa State on Dec. 12).