NEW YORK - The Columbia women’s basketball team welcomes Cornell to Levien Gymnasium, Saturday, January 21, in a doubleheader with the men’s team sponsored by Bed Bath & Beyond. The women will tip off against the Big Red at 4:30 p.m., followed by the men at 7 p.m. Both Cornell and Columbia women's basketball will be in search of their first Ivy League win of the year.
LAST TIME OUT
Columbia will be fighting back after a tough Ivy League opener, as the Lions fell to Princeton, 94-35, Sunday, January 15 in Jadwin Gymnasium. Senior Melissa Shafer
led the Lions with 10 points in 24 minutes of play, while sophomore Courtney Bradford
led on the boards with eight rebounds in the loss.
SCOUTING THE BIG RED
Cornell, similarly to the Lions, suffered a tough loss at Princeton last week, as the Tigers took the Big Red’s first Ivy League game, 64-35. Cornell bounced back on January 17th, with a 60-40 win over local rival Ithaca College, putting the Big Red at 6-9 overall and 0-1 in the Ivy League.
Cornell has two players who average in double figures, as Clare Fitzpatrick leads the team at 10.7 ppg, while Allyson DiMango is second on the team at 10.5 ppg. Fitzpatrick and DiMango are also 1-2 in rebounding for Cornell and 2-3 in the Ivy League, at 7.5 rbg and 7.1 rbg respectively. Fitzpatrick is more of a threat in the paint for the Big Red and leads the team in blocks with 20 this season, while DiMango is shooting .322 from the three-point line. Both are trouble if they make it to the free throw line, as they’re both shooting over 70% from the charity stripe. Other key contributors for the Big Red include Maka Anyanwu (7.7 ppg), Taylor Flynn (7.0 ppg) and Shelby Lyman (6.1 ppg).
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. CORNELL
The series between Columbia and Cornell has picked up the pace in recent years. The Big Red lead the all-time series, 37-23, but Columbia has won five of the last seven meetings. In 2010-11, Columbia won in the Ivy League season opener, 61-54 in Levien Gymnasium, while Cornell won the second game of the series in Ithaca, 53-50, in a game that saw Kathleen Barry
miss a last second game-winner.
PERK FROM PRINCETON
Though the Lions suffered a tough loss against Princeton, there was one bright spot for Columbia: the team brought down a season-high 29 defensive rebounds against the Tigers.
WHAT’S WITH THE WEIRD SCHEDULE?
Attentive fans may have noticed that Columbia’s Ivy League schedule is different from past years: the Lions, who normally open with travel partner Cornell faced Princeton first, and the traditional Penn-Princeton weekend has been split apart. Why the change? Princeton’s final exam schedule conflicted with the Ivy League season, and shifted the whole league around. The Lions played Princeton last weekend and Penn on Friday, January 27th in Philadelphia. Columbia will host Cornell Saturday, January 21st, and end the season with an early March trip to Ithaca, as they will close the year at Cornell, Tuesday, March 6th.
TOPS FOR TYLER
had one of the best games of her career against Morgan State, January 11, as the junior set career highs in five different categories. Simpson had a career-high 20 points, played a career-high 30 minutes, and also had career bests in Field Goals Made (7), Field Goals Attempted (20) and Free Throws Attempted (10). Simpson also had a season-high in Free Throws Made with six, just short of her career high of eight.
The Lions have out-rebounded opponents just twice this season. The December 11 game against the Blackbirds marked the first time this season the Lions out-rebounded their opponents. Columbia notched 38 total rebounds, including 27 defensive rebounds, while LIU had 31 total rebounds. The January 4 game at Lafayette is the most recent best effort for the Lions on the boards. Columbia snagged 44 rebounds to the Leopards’ 31, including 24 defensive rebounds to Lafayette’s eight offensive rebounds.
T-BALL PASSING THE BALL
Junior guard Taylor Ball
is sixth in the Ivy League in assists per game, with a 3.0 assists per game average. And when Ball passes the ball, the Lions win. She had her season-high assist total in the win against Army (7), and nearly matched that in Columbia’s win over Bryant (6). The only time Ball has had more than five assists and the Lions haven’t won was the game against Hawai’i on December 3.
Columbia has had seven different players lead scoring in 15 games this season. Senior Melissa Shafer
has led the Lions in scoring in seven games this season, including five of the last six. Meanwhile, Columbia has gotten contributions from six other athletes, as Taylor Ward
and Tyler Simpson
(12 pts) led at Sacred Heart. At Wagner, Ward and first-year Miwa Tachibana
both had 11 points, while sophomore Courtney Bradford
led the Lions with a career-high 17 points against Army. Against San Diego, junior Brittany Simmons
and first-year Lizzy Stachon
got in on the action as well, both with six points to lead Columbia’s scoring.
First-year Caitlyn Unsworth
earned her first career Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors for the week of January 2. She is the third Lion to earn the honors this year. Unsworth had a breakout week, hitting two career-scoring highs. She had a career-high six points in Columbia’s loss to Fairleigh Dickinson, and bested that mark with 12 points in Columbia’s 77-74 win over Bryant. The first-year hit two free throws with three seconds left in the game to clinch the win for the Lions, and was 3-for-4 from three-point range. The win snapped Columbia’s five game losing streak, and helped the Lions improve to 2-10 on the season.
Columbia first-year Amara Mbionwu
was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the week ending November 13. She became the first Lion to earn Rookie of the Week honors since Lauren Dwyer
took home the award on Feb. 18, 2008. The Bowie, Md. native averaged 6.5 points and a team-best 8.5 rebounds in two games for the Lions, who fell to Vermont, 63-52, and Sacred Heart, 60-42. Mbionwu grabbed a team-high eight rebounds to go along with 11 points against Vermont. She shot 5-of-8 from the field. In the Lions’ next game, Mbionwu set a new personal-best with a game high nine boards against Sacred Heart. After the first week of action, she led all Ivy League freshmen in rebounding and ranked tied for third overall.
MATCHED BY MIWA!
Columbia notched its second-straight Ivy League Rookie of the Week nod, as first-year Miwa Tachibana
was named the Rookie of the Week for the week ending November 18. Tachibana led the Lions in scoring that week, as she was 4-for-7 against Wagner, scoring 11 points, a new collegiate career high for the Los Angeles native. She went 3-of-4 from the free throw line, and recorded two assists, one rebound and a steal.
LIONS CHOSEN SIXTH IN PRESEASON IVY LEAGUE MEDIA POLL
The Lions exceeded the expectations of last season’s Ivy League preseason poll, as the team finished tied for fourth in the conference, after being projected to finish fifth. This year, the Lions will look to do the same as the media has picked them to finish tied for sixth in the Ivy League. Princeton, who went 13-1 in Ivy League play last year, garnered 14 of the 17 first-place votes to come in atop the poll while Harvard (three first place votes), Yale and Penn round out the top four.