Women’s basketball opened its season, edging Hofstra 65-63 in a game that nearly came down to the buzzer.
In their first game since 2014 without Columbia’s all-time leading scorer Camille Zimmerman, CC ’18, the Lions (1-0) were in front for most of the game, leading Hofstra (1-1) by eight going into the fourth quarter, and managing to secure a victory by two in the end.
Although the Pride went ahead in the fourth quarter, a successful free throw from first-year guard Madison Hardy gave the Lions a lead they would ultimately maintain with one minute and 45 seconds remaining in the game.
Hofstra responded with two three-pointers, including one at the final buzzer, but three successful free-throws from first-year forward Sienna Durr in the final 15 seconds gave the Lions the advantage they needed to finish the game up by two despite the Pride’s efforts.
In the first quarter, Hofstra established an early lead that was quickly diminished by sophomore guard Imani Whittington, who quickly got the Lions going with four consecutive points. With a minute and a half left in the first quarter, a three-pointer by first-year guard Madison Hardy put Columbia ahead. In response, Hofstra one-upped the Lions with a quick layup in the last second of the quarter to end the period ahead by one.
The Lion’s fired back quickly, however, when Clemmons took back the lead at the start of the second quarter with a mid-range shot. Durr followed up with six points over the next four minutes to extend Columbia’s lead to nine. The Lions held the Pride off for the remainder of the first half and went into the locker room leading by four.
After halftime, the Light Blue controlled the third quarter, gaining as much as a 10 point lead against the Pride. Clemmons sank five points—a free-throw, layup, and jump shot—to leave the Lions ahead by eight going into the final quarter.
This time it was Hofstra who took control. In the fourth quarter, the Pride came from behind and rallied its way to a four-point lead with six minutes left in the game. Durr retaliated with two layups to tie the game, 55-55. A minute later, Hardy’s free throw sent Columbia on its way to a season-opening victory.
The Lion’s victory was led predominantly by first-years, with Durr leading the team in points at 15 and Mikayla Markham clocking in the most playing time with 38 minutes.
The Lions will host Army in their first home game of the season at Levien Gymnasium. Tipoff is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m.