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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Mike McLaughlin

Women's Basketball Kicks Off 2013 Ivy League Home Season vs. Cornell

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 01/24/2013
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LIONS KICKOFF 2013 IVY LEAGUE HOME SEASON VS. CORNELL
The Columbia women's basketball team welcomes Cornell to Levien Gymnasium, Saturday, Jan. 26, in a doubleheader with the men's team. The women will tip off against the Big Red at 4:30 p.m., followed by the men at 7 p.m.

NEW TWITTER HANDLE
Columbia fans can now follow the women's basketball team's new twitter account, @CULionsWBB. In addition, be sure to follow Columbia Athletics, @GoColumbiaLions, and use #RoarLionRoar

LAST TIME OUT
The game was tied at 37 at halftime but Cornell was efficient from the field in the second half and capitalized on its second-chance opportunities to pull away from Columbia in a 68-54 victory in the 2013 Ivy League opener at Newman Arena last Saturday. Columbia led by as much as six with 7:17 to go in the first half, and held a 34-32 lead with just two minutes left before Cornell scored the next five points to take over 37-34 at the 1:15 mark. Miwa Tachibana was on fire from deep and came through in the clutch, hitting her third three-pointer of the first half with six seconds on the clock to knot the halftime score, 37-37. The Lions opened the second half with a jumper by Tyler Simpson as a back-and-forth battle ensued. With the Lions down by three at the 12:02 mark, Stephanie Long hit back-to-back three-pointers in under a minute span to push Cornell's lead to 56-47. The Big Red slowly chipped away throughout the remainder of the game and did not look back in posting the win. Brittany Simmons led two Columbia players in double figures as the senior recorded a new career benchmark with 18 points and eight steals in addition to a team-high five boards. Simpson was the second Lion to score in double digits, dropping 13 points to go with four rebounds.

ALL-TIME IVY LEAGUE HOME OPENERS
Officially underway in its 27th season as an official member of the Ivy League, Columbia is 10-16 all-time in conference home openers Prior to falling to Princeton in the Ivy League home opener last season, the Lions had won their last four Ivy League openers, all against Cornell.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. CORNELL
The Lions and Big Red have a rivalry dating back 37 years to the 1975-76 season.The Big Red have won the last three meetings and lead the all-time series over the Lions, 40-23, but Columbia has won five of the last 10 contests. Last year, the Lions dropped a tough loss to Cornell at home, 54-44, and fell 77-54 on the road to end the season. Columbia had previously won the last four conference-openers over Cornell before having that streak halted in Ithaca last weekend.SCOUTING THE BIG RED
After closing out its non-conference schedule with an 8-6 mark, Cornell topped Columbia last Satuday by a 68-44 score in Ithaca, pushing its winning streak to three. Cornell was led by Clare Fitzpatrick, who went 8-of-9 from the line and scored 18 points. Allyson DiMagno added a double-double of 15 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, while Stephanie Long and Spencer Lane also reached double figures with 14 and 13 points, respectively. DiMagno leads the Big Red on both ends of the court this season averaging 13.9 points per game and a league-leading 11.3 rebounds. Setting the pace on the floor has been Spencer Lane, who sits atop the entire Ivy League averaging 3.9 helpers per game to go with a 1.4 assist/turnover ratio. The Lions and Big Red shared two common opponents this season: Colgate and St. Francis Brooklyn. Cornell edged Colgate 69-65 in its season opener and topped St Francis 74-56.

STEALER SIMMONS & THE LIONS
Brittany Simmons grabbed a career-high eight steals against Cornell on Jan. 19, and currently ranks third in the Ivy League with 2.5 steals per game. As a team, the Lions lead the conference, averaging 10.3 steals this season.

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.

(N)OTT JUST A ROOKIE
Columbia first-year Bailey Ott was selected as the Ivy League Rookie of the Week on November 19. Ott stepped it up in a big way to help lift Columbia to its first win of the season against Fairleigh Dickinson. The 5-11 forward/center scored a game-high 20 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field while grabbing eight rebounds in the 54-47 victory. Earlier that week, Ott finished one point and one rebound shy of her first career double-double as she recorded nine points and nine boards in the loss to Wagner.

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