NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Behind 26 points from Camille Zimmerman, Columbia (12-6, 2-3 Ivy) downed Yale (10-8, 1-4 Ivy) 72-68 in a closely contested game.
The game started slowly, with no baskets until 2:49 into the game. But then a surge of scoring resulted in a 21-15 Columbia lead after the first quarter.
Yale's leading scorer entering the game, Lena Munzer, got into foul trouble early and missed most of the first half. Joel E. Smilow '54 head coach Allison Guth said, "You can't have a kid like that who does so much offensively for us on the bench for as long as she was. So, that definitely deterred our offense in the first half." With Munzer out, the second quarter turned into a defensive struggle, as Yale outscored Columbia 8-7 in the frame and trailed 28-23 at the half.
Yale got off to a hot start in the third quarter, scoring 6 straight points to take a 29-28 lead. Jen Berkowitz scored 5 of those 6 points. She was fouled on consecutive made baskets, and she made one of the free throws. The lead did not last long, however. Later in the quarter, Columbia went on an 8-0 run to take a 43-34 lead, and the Lions led 52-47 heading into the fourth. Yale got off to a strong start in the fourth quarter. Back on the floor, Munzer stepped up with a 3-pointer to bring the Bulldogs within 1.
Then a critical sequence unfolded after Berkowitz appeared to tie the game on a layup with just over 7 minutes to play. Upon review, the referees nullified the basket and assessed a flagrant foul to Berkowitz for the contact she made with Zimmerman. Zimmerman made both free throws, Columbia kept possession and scored again to take a 57-51 lead.
That lead grew to 67-58 with 1:50 remaining. Yale tried to claw its way back into the game by fouling repeatedly and scoring inside down the stretch, but it was too little, too late.
On the foul situation in the fourth quarter, Guth said, "I don't think it's what determined the game. We could have controlled the controllables with finishing at the free throw line [Yale was 19-for-30] and doing our job. So, excuses are for losers. We're not losers, we lost tonight. We're winners, and we're going to move forward from it and figure out a way to get it done."
Zimmerman, whom Guth called "a fantastic player," delivered arguably the best performance by any opposing player against Yale this season, with 26 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists in 39 minutes of play. Paulina Koerner (10 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds) and Devon Roeper (11 points, 9 rebounds) also made substantial contributions.
Guth said of Columbia, "They're playing great. They're playing with a lot of confidence. They fight in every game. Even their record [12-6, 2-3 Ivy] is not indicative of how good they are because they played Harvard [16-2, 4-1 Ivy] to a close one on the road, and then what they showed in their gumption with going into four [overtimes] against Dartmouth is just really impressive." In terms of the Lions' performance tonight, Guth said, "A lot of credit I give to Columbia and how they defended us." Columbia held Yale to 37.9% shooting from the field and continued the trend in which Yale has been outshot in each of its losses this season (Yale has outshot its opponent in all but one of its wins).
Berkowitz finished with a career-high 21 points, as well as 7 rebounds and 2 steals, in the loss. The junior forward was efficient, making 7 of 12 shots in 24 minutes of play. Freshman Megan Gorman continued her improved play on the glass, snatching 12 rebounds one game after registering a career-high 15. Gorman added 9 points and 4 assists in the game. Alexandra Maund substituted for Berkowitz on multiple occasions, and she also exceled in relief. Maund scored a career-high 11 points on 5-for-6 from the field.
The Bulldogs head right back out to the court tomorrow, (Saturday, Feb. 4) against Cornell, in another Ivy League home contest at John J. Lee Amphitheater.
Filed by Andy Dougherty, Yale Sports Publicity