The biggest story of the off-season was Miye Oni being selected in June’s NBA Draft. The Yale junior and reigning Ivy Player of the Year decided to leave school early and leave his name in the draft. Despite falling to the late second round, a perilous spot to making an NBA roster, Oni impressed in the Summer League and earned a guaranteed contract with the Utah Jazz. He is playing just as well in the pre-season and looks to be a real steal for the Jazz.
The Columbia women’s basketball nonconference schedule was released on July 30 and the league potion of the schedule was finalized on Monday morning. Coach Megan Griffith’s Lions have a 13 game pre-Ivy schedule featuring seven home contests and four games against NCAA Tournament teams.
After starting the season on the road at Albany and opening up the home slate against St. Joseph’s, Columbia faces three straight NCAA teams in an eight day period. First up is Fordham on November 10. The Atlantic 10 champion Rams were 25-9 last season, including a 68-49 victory over the Lions.
Five days later, the Light Blue travel to upstate New York to take on defending MAC champion Buffalo. Two years ago, Felisha Legette-Jack’s Bulls, visited Levien Gymansium and escaped with a buzzer-beating 65-63 win. Buffalo would eventually go on to the Sweet 16 that season. The Lions close the streak at NEC champion Robert Morris on November 17.
In Coach Megan Griffith’s first year at her alma mater, the Lions went 13-14 and its 10-3 non-conference record was an all-time best. Columbia faced a more challenging non-conference schedule in 2017-2018, but hoped to use it to build upon the 3-11 league record in 2016-2017. As the season began, the Light Blue & White had major losses that deprived them of a significant amount of their experience, front court depth, and three point shooting. While the coach was left with one of the Ivy League’s all-time offensive talents, the inexperience of the rest of the roster made for a disappointing 8-21 (2-12 Ivy) season. A spot in the Ivy Tournament may be too much to expect in 2018-2019, but the coach will bring in a large class of newcomers to help the young returnees move the program in the right direction.
The Lions lose Camille Zimmerman, Paige Tippet, and Jillian Borreson to graduation. They will also be without the play of seniors Josie Little and Sarah Elston, who, according to Columbia Athletics, have both medically retired. Zimmerman averaged 19.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, finishing the season with her second straight selection to the All-Ivy first team. She finished her career with 1,973 points, fourth in Ivy history, as well as Columbia’s all-time leader in points, rebounds (940), field goals made (728), field goals attempted (1,707), free throw percentage (82.6), games played (113) and games started (112). Zimmerman joined the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx as a free agent, but was released at the end of the preseason. She recently signed a professional contract to play for Kouvottaret in Finland.