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Miwa Tachibana tied her career-high with 17 points.
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Mike Kowalsky

Tachibana Leads Strong Team Effort, as Women’s Basketball Downs Dartmouth, 65-59

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 02/15/2014
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HANOVER, N.H. – Junior Miwa Tachibana matched her career-high with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting to lead the Columbia women’s basketball team to its second Ivy League win, topping Dartmouth 65-69 at Leede Arena Saturday night.

Taylor Ward and Tori Oliver also reached double figures for the Lions with 10 and 12 points, respectively. On the glass, Courtney Bradford matched her season-high with 11 boards, while also swatting two shots.

Dartmouth opened the contest on a 6-0 run, but the Lions quickly regrouped and an 8-2 run sent the game to the first media tied at 8-8. First-year Oliver scored Columbia’s first four points with classmate Devon Roeper and junior Tachibana also scoring. Tachibana went to the line after the break, completing the and-one to put the Lions ahead 9-8 with 13:27 left in the half.

Columbia’s offense started to take advantage of open passing lanes towards the midway point of the half, beginning with Carolyn Gallagher finding Bradford in the paint for an easy two. Two possessions later, Bradford worked the inside-out, sending an offensive rebound to Ward, who drilled the trey from the left wing. In similar fashion the next time down the court, Bradford found Tachibana whose long two from the right wing made it a 21-18 Columbia lead at the under-eight media timeout.

The Bradford and Tachibana duo teamed up again at the 3:45 mark, this time Tachibana kept both feet behind the 3-point line to put Columbia ahead 26-23. Dartmouth had an opportunity to knot the game with under 20 seconds left in the half, but an Ara Talkov steal for Columbia turned into a Gallagher jumper in transition, giving the Lions a 30-26 lead at the halftime break.

The Lions shot 48 percent (13-of-27) from the field in the opening half, while Dartmouth managed just 31 percent (8-of-26). Long range shooting also cost Dartmouth in the first 20 minutes, as the Big Green missed all seven of its attempts, while Columbia hit 3-of-5 attempts. The Big Green did hold one distinct advantage, knocking down 10-of-12 free throws, while Tachibana’s made attempt on the and-one was the only shot from the charity stripe for Columbia in the first half.

Dartmouth came out in the second half and scored the first four points, evening the game at 30 apiece. Amara Mbionwu swung the scoreboard back in Columbia’s favor, hitting twice from the free throw line and then putting back a hard-fought offensive rebound for two more.

The teams continued to trade baskets throughout the first 10 minutes of the second half, eventually tying the game at 40-40. Tachibana and Bradford connected on a nice pick-and-roll play, but Dartmouth fired back with a jumper from Fanni Szabo. Gallagher gave the Lions the lead right back, bringing down another offensive board and finishing with a quick lay-up and the foul. Tachibana extended the Lions’ lead to four on the next trip down the floor, swishing a running teardrop shot from the right side.

Columbia began to pull away, creating a nine-point lead, at the 7:08 mark after Ward drained two free throws. Dartmouth continued to fight, but Columbia was aggressive on the boards and was able to maintain a seven-point cushion, 56-49, at the final media break with Oliver also sinking a pair of freebies. The lead extended to double-digits in favor of the Lions with just 2:39 remaining, as Tachibana swished another from downtown.

The lead would be too much for Dartmouth to overcome with Columbia limiting the quality scoring opportunities for the Dartmouth offense down the stretch.

After only shooting one free throw in the first half, Columbia hit 14-of-19 attempts in the second half. From the field, the lions shot 45 percent to Dartmouth’s 35. The battle on the glass also fell in favor of the Lions, 37-33.

Columbia continues its stretch of road games next weekend, visiting Brown and Yale. 

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