HANOVER, N.H. -- The Columbia women's basketball team had another rough go of it offensively on Friday night at Dartmouth, shooting just 23.3 percent in a 63-51 loss to the Big Green at Leede Arena. Junior Melissa Shafer scored a game-high 18 points and sophomore Tyler Simpson chipped in with 14 points as the two reserves combined for 10 of the Lions' 14 field goals in the contest.
Columbia started off the game by misfiring on its first 14 shots, and was 3-of-24 from the field over the first 16 minutes of the first half. Dartmouth, on the other hand, clipped the nets at 47.4 percent in the opening period and connected on five three-pointers to match its total output from three in the previous meeting between the two schools in late January.
A pair of three-pointers from the right wing by Big Green first-year Eve Zelinger helped propel the home team to a 25-9 lead with 4:08 left in the stanza. A jumper by Janelle Ross with 2:08 to go gave Dartmouth its biggest advantage of the period, 29-11, before the Lions mounted a charge.
Simpson converted on a short jumper in the paint and hit a pair of free throws to cut into Dartmouth's cushion, and a quick-release three-ball by Shafer from the left wing pulled the Lions to within 30-18 with just over a minute remaining.
After a Dartmouth score, sophomore Diana Lee provided a spark off the bench in the closing moments and got fouled on a nice move to the bucket. Lee canned both free throws and set up pressure defense alongside her teammates with 26 ticks on the clock.
A short jumper by Dartmouth's Kylie Kufield bounded off the rim and out toward the top of the key with eight seconds remaining. Shafer tipped the ball over the head of a Dartmouth player that appeared to have a beat on the loose ball, and regained possession with a 2-on-1 advantage on the fast break.
Shafer dribbled the length of the floor and made a contested left-handed layup as time expired to make the score 32-22 heading into halftime. Simpson had nine of her points at the break and was perfect from the field (3-for-3). Shafer finished the period with seven points.
For the third straight game, the Lions looked to have momentum heading into the break but could not find much of a rhythm offensively to keep the momentum going. Columbia began the second half much the same way as it did the first, missing its first nine shots from the floor. A three-pointer from first-year Brianna Orlich stopped the bleeding five minutes into the period, and made the tally 41-27 with 14:56 left.
Despite the struggles, the Lions didn't go down without a fight. Facing a 19-point deficit with 7:30 remaining, Columbia whittled its deficit to 10 points on a pair of free throws by Orlich with 2:06 remaining, but could get no closer. The Big Green converted on a pair from the charity stripe with 1:40 to close out the scoring and provide the final margin.
Columbia closes out its four-game road swing at Harvard on Saturday, Feb. 19. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
NOTES: Zelinger closed with a career-high 14 points, while adding five rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocks...Columbia's bench had 39 of its 51 points, as Orlich had nine of the 12 points for the Lions' starting five...Faziah Steen has just 12 points in the contest after going off for 28 points at Levien Gymnasium against the Lions on Jan. 29...Kathleen Barry had a career-high six steals.