The two teams that started the Lions' Ivy woes prevailed once more. With the conference schedule now past its midpoint, Columbia was again unable to turn around a disappointing season this weekend. Coming out flat in both matches, the Light Blue fell 64-49 and 59-45 against the Quakers and Tigers, respectively.The problems started right from the start for the Lions at the Palestra on Friday, with the Quakers scoring eight unanswered points in the first four minutes of the game. Penn center Jennifer Fleischer was a force inside, scoring four points and corralling five rebounds in that initial stretch alone.But Columbia refused to let the game slip away entirely. The Lions traded baskets with their opposition for almost 10 minutes, resulting in a 28-20 score with seven minutes to play in the second half. However, Penn started to pull away after that, and Columbia was staring at a double-digit deficit at halftime.The second half saw Columbia stepping up the defensive intensity, pressuring the ball for 16 Penn turnovers. Unfortunately for the Lions, the Quakers kept getting scoring chances thanks to the offensive rebounding of Fleischer, who finished with 25 points and 21 rebounds, only the seventh 20-20 performance in Ivy League history. "Jennifer ruled supreme, shall we say, under the basket," Penn head coach Patrick Knapp said, "and that's where we called most of our plays."Head coach Paul Nixon was equally impressed by Fleischer's performance. "If you look over the course of her career," he said, "she's set a number of rebounding records here at Penn. She's a great player, and she had a great game."The team did not receive a warm welcome against Princeton on Saturday either. The Tigers jumped out to a 20-5 lead in the first 12 minutes, riding the strong play of freshman Jessica Berry, who scored all of her nine points in that run. Princeton maintained the intensity for the rest of the half, and the Lions entered halftime having scored only 13 points.Columbia shined again in the second half. Freshman Katrina Cragg had one of her best games of the season, scoring 10 points in just 11 minutes of play. "I don't really think about it, I just come out ready to play," she said. "Once you get in you have to play right out."But the Tigers answered back. Center Becky Brown, who was contained in the two teams' match earlier in the year, dominated the second half, scoring 17 points for the game, shooting 8-12 from the field. "The thing with our team is," she said, "if someone has an off night, there's people there to pick them up, I sometimes get frustrated if I miss my first couple of shots. I felt better about my performance tonight."As the team winds down their season, Nixon feels that greater mental toughness is needed to win. "I think one of the things that this team is battling right now is the negativity that comes with losing," he said. "It's very easy for the snowball effect to take over, to fall into a cycle, into a here we go again mentality. We have to sustain runs. The good teams sustain runs."
Lions Slow to Recover From Weak Start
May 17, 11:47pm
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