After Yale cut a 16-point third-quarter deficit to two early in the fourth quarter, Columbia got four three-pointers from four different players to pull away and grab a 74-65 win over the Bulldogs at the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Saturday evening.
The two teams battled evenly through most of the first quarter, when Tori Andrew hit a driving left side layup to put Yale (16-7, 6-4 Ivy) up 13-11. The Lions (15-8, 6-4) responded with a 21-2 run between the last two minutes of the first quarter and the first 3:15 of the second frame to open up a 17-point lead.
The Light Blue would finish the half up 14, 39-25.
After Kaitlyn Davis went coast to coast to stretch the lead to 16 early in the third quarter, the Bulldogs would start making a move. Yale went on a 10-2 run, with forward Megan Gorman hitting two three pointers, making it a 43-35 game with six minutes left in the frame. The senior forward had three triples by that point, doubling her entire long distance shooting for the entire season.
Hannah Pratt came off the bench for Columbia to go on a personal 6-0 run to stop the bleeding. The sophomore forward from Boca Raton made back-to-back three pointers in a 40-second span with the first a deep jumper over the outstretched arm of Camilla Emsbo and the second an old fashioned and-one layup after being fouled by Emsbo.
Emsbo, Andrew and Roxy Barahman would bounce back with their own 12-0 from the last two minutes of the third quarter and the first minute of the final frame to get Yale within one, 49-47. Six of those points came off a flagrant foul on Andrew with excessive contact by Lilian Kennedy. Andrew made the layup and two free throws, while Barahman hit a driving layup on the right side when the Bulldogs were given the ball back.
With the Lions still up two, 51-49, Sienna Durr, Abbey Hsu and Mikayla Markham hit four three-pointers to stretch the lead to 63-57 with just under four minutes to go in regulation.
After a right baseline jumper by Markham and a layup by Emsbo kept the Lions lead at two, Emsbo, Andrew and Barahman missed their next four shots while Columbia hit four straight free throws to make it an insurmountable 69-59 advantage with 30 seconds remaining.
Last-ditch threes from Barahman and Jenna Clark were not enough to offset Columbia’s 5-for-6 effort from the line and the Lions came away with the 74-65 victory.
Columbia had a solid effort on offense, shooting 52% from two, 41% (9-for-22) from three and 72% (13-for-18) from the line. Defensively, the Lions held Yale to 45% from two and 25% (5-for-20) from beyond the arc. The Light Blue also controlled the boards, holding a 40-31 advantage.
The Lions were led by Durr, who had a team-high 18 points and eight rebounds. Davis, a first-year wing from nearby Norwalk, had 14 points and seven boards. Hsu, who entered the game leading the Ancient Eight with 19.6 points per game in league play, only had eight points on 38% shooting.
Yale was led by Emsbo, who finished with a game high 28 points (73% field goal and 86% free throw shooting) and six rebounds. Gorman ended the night with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds. Two of the team’s leading scorers had a tough night with Barahman scoring 13 points on 33% shooting and Ellen Margaret Andrews putting up only two points on 11% shooting.
Ultimately, the biggest reason for the difference between the two teams came down to depth. On the second night of a back-to-back Ivy weekend, the Lions were able to bring frequent starters Clemmons, Markham and Pratt off the bench for a combined 25 points in 47 minutes. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, got only three points and 18 minutes of production from its bench.
The Columbia victory was its fourth in a row and second straight Ivy weekend sweep. In addition, the win ended the team’s six game losing streak to Yale and moved the Lions into a tie with the Bulldogs for third place. With the season series split, the Light Blue presently hold the No. 3 slot due to their win over fifth-place Harvard. Other than the earlier win over Columbia, Yale’s other five triumphs have come against the bottom three teams in the conference.
Columbia will stay on the road for the league’s penultimate weekend with an important match against Harvard (5-5) on Friday night at 7:00 pm, followed by a Saturday 5 p.m. game against Dartmouth (2-8). Yale, which has lost four of its last six, faces the daunting task of traveling down south to take on the league’s top two teams with a contest against Penn (7-2) on Friday night and a trip to Princeton (9-0) on Saturday.