With 3:25 left in the game, the women’s basketball team had cut Dartmouth’s 17-point lead to four and had a chance to win its first Ivy game of the season in comeback fashion. But the Lions only scored one point after that 3:25 mark. Four Columbia turnovers later, the Big Green (6-13, 4-1 Ivy) was able to finish off a 62-52 victory, dropping the Lions to 0-5 in Ivy play, 2-17 overall.
“I thought once we cut the lead to four with three minutes left that we had a great opportunity with a couple of possessions to continue cutting into the deficit and possibly taking the lead, but unfortunately those possessions didn’t work out for us,” head coach Paul Nixon said. “For me, the difference in the game was the hole we dug ourselves in the first half.”
A string of missed jumpers put the Light Blue down 33-20 at halftime. At that point, Columbia was shooting 24.2 percent from the field and just 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. Conversely, Dartmouth drained 63.6 percent of its field goals and every one of its treys in the first half.
“The first half, I feel like they were just on fire, honestly,” senior guard and co-captain Brittany Simmons said. “I think over the course of the whole game, they only missed 20-something shots and most of those came from the second half.”
Simmons provided the fire necessary to rev up the Lions’ own shooting game, dropping two foul shots and narrowing the score to 53-45 with 5:10 to go. Stealing the ball a minute later, she made it to the line again for two easy buckets. On Columbia’s next possession, sophomore guard Miwa Tachibana made good on a three to reduce the margin to four.
But in the last three minutes before the buzzer, Columbia botched two critical possessions, turning the ball over while attempting to feed the post and missing a much-needed trey.
“Those two possessions were two great opportunities I thought we had to continue the comeback and complete it,” Nixon said. “But unfortunately, instead of completing the pass for the layup and making the open three, we got the turnover and then the missed shot.”
The game didn’t rest only on those two missed opportunities.
“Our poor free throw shooting reared its ugly head again, so that was a big factor,” Nixon said.
In the first half, Columbia shot just 25 percent from the charity stripe, and finished the game at 47.7 percent. Dartmouth, on the other hand, made 66.7 percent of its free throws.
“They were executing on their offense,” Simmons said. “They were taking competitive shots for the most part but, you know, they were just on fire. Yeah, it was one of those days.”
The match-up, following the worst of the blizzard Nemo, was pushed back to 6 p.m. Saturday from Friday in Hanover, N.H. The Harvard contest, originally slotted for that time, has been rescheduled for March 12.