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Yale Suffers Setback at Columbia

Michelle Cashen. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Michelle Cashen. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)


NEW YORK, N.Y. — The Yale University women's basketball team had a chance to take a 1½ game lead in the race for second place in the Ivy League standings, but Columbia, winless in Ivy play entering the weekend, played the spoiler role perfectly, stunning the Bulldogs Friday night.
Tyler Simpson scored 20 points and Courtney Bradford added eight points and 18 rebounds to help Columbia pull out a 56-52 victory over Yale inside Levien Gymnasium.

For the Bulldogs, it was a setback in their quest to earn a second-consecutive postseason berth. The second-place finisher in the Ivy League earns an automatic bid in the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs (15-10, 7-4 Ivy League) remain in second place by a half-game over Harvard, which lost to Princeton Friday night to fall to 6-4 in the Ivy League standings. Yale has three games remaining in the regular season — at Cornell Saturday and home vs. Princeton and Penn next weekend. Harvard, however, has four games remaining on its schedule — at Penn, followed by home games against Columbia and Cornell next weekend and the season finale at home vs. Dartmouth on March 6.

Freshman guard Sarah Halejian scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead Yale. Junior guard Megan Vasquez added eight points and six rebounds.

Yale opened the game with a 7-0 run, which turned out to be its largest lead of the game. However, Columbia turned the tables in a hurry with a 7-0 run to tie the score, and then it was a back-and-forth battle through most of the remainder of the first half. There were five ties in the half and one lead change.

The Lions managed to open up a 28-22 lead inside the final minute of the half and appeared ready to carry a significant amount of momentum into the locker room at the half, but Allie Messimer drained her first 3-pointer of the game with 29 seconds remaining to pull the Bulldogs within a possession, 28-25, going into the break.

It was much of the same in the second half, with the two teams pulling even six times and the lead changing hands four times in the half, but the Bulldogs could never gain enough of an advantage to gain complete control of the game.

For every move the Bulldogs made in the second half, the Lions seemed to always have an answer.

Columbia (3-21, 1-9) earned its first Ivy League win of the season by limiting Yale to 16-for-67 shooting (23.9 percent), including 4-for-22 from 3-point range (18.2 percent).

Despite the dominating inside effort from Columbia's Bradford, Yale outrebounded Columbia 48-46. It was Yale's first loss of the season when outrebounding its opponent (8-1).

Columbia outscored Yale 30-24 in the paint, 12-8 off of turnovers, and 9-0 off the fast break. Yale forced 22 Columbia turnovers but could not capitalize on the extra chances.

The Bulldogs return to the court Saturday when they take on Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity