EASTON, Pa. – Junior Miwa Tachibana scored a career-high 17 points and first-year Carolyn Binder eclipsed the 20-point plateau for the second time in three games, tallying 23, but the Columbia women’s basketball team (1-2) fell on the road Friday evening to Lafayette (3-0), 95-83.
The Leopards came out hitting on all cylinders, building a 9-2 advantage on 3-pointers from Kelly Loughney and Brya Freeland. The Lions stormed right back though, going on a 16-5 run that put them up 18-14 with 11:52 remaining in the first half. Binder led the charge off the bench, dropping in six points that included knocking down three from the charity stripe after the first media break.
Using a nice spin move and bank shot just before the halfway mark of the half, first-year Tori Oliver extended the Lions’ lead to seven points, 23-16. Lafayette responded with an 11-4 spurt of their own to bring the game to a 27-27 tie just two minutes after Oliver’s bucket.
The teams traded baskets over the next few possessions until the Leopards strung together yet another 7-2 run spurned by treys from Loughney and Jamie O’Hare to go up 41-36 with 3:08 remaining in the opening period. In the final minute of the half, Binder drained her third 3-pointer of the half and Tachibana connected from the wing to keep Columbia within six, 49-43.
Binder led all scorers at the break with 16 points, going 4-of-8 from the field, while Linnel Macklin led the Leopards with 12 points. Tachibana, who chipped in 11 points, also grabbed three boards and a trio of steals for the Lions.
The familiar duo of Binder and Tachibana sparked an 11-4 run in favor of Columbia to put the Lions ahead by one, 54-53, just minutes into the second half. Lafayette bounced back once again though to regain a 64-58 advantage, but Amara Mbionwu scored lay-ins on consecutive trips down the floor to close the gap to 66-62 with 11:25 left to play.
After the media timeout, the Leopards took control of the game. Tachibana sank another from long range with under seven minutes left to play, but Lafayette continued to be efficient on the offensive end, going up 82-68 to force Columbia to call a timeout with 5:45 on the clock.
A Sara Mead layup with a minute remaining inched Columbia within nine points, 89-80, but the Leopards were able to close out the victory, 95-83.
O’Hare recorded a game-high 24 points to lead four Leopards in double figures. Oliver joined Tachibana and Binder in double figures with 13, a new season-high for the first-year, while Taylor Ward and Mbionwu each ended with nine. The 83 points scored by Columbia is the highest total since the Lions fell at San Diego, 91-87, back on Nov. 27, 2010.
Next up for Columbia is a home matchup against Cal State Fullerton next Friday, Nov. 22. The game will be NYC Education Day at Levien Gymnasium, with tip-off set for noon.