The Columbia women’s basketball team will try to win a second consecutive game when it hosts St. John’s on Friday afternoon. The Lions (4-3) overtook Delaware by a 75-63 score on Wednesday night.
Columbia last won consecutive matchups when it beat Long Island by two points on Nov. 18 and Manhattan by three points on Nov. 24. Instead of extending their winning streak, however, the Lions then dropped both of their games at the University of Nevada Nugget Classic. Columbia suffered a 17-point loss to Nevada and a three-point loss to Iowa at the tournament.
Columbia’s free-throw shooting, outside shooting, rebounding, and bench production were key factors in the team’s victory over Delaware. The Lions sank 25 of 33 foul shots and made eight 3-pointers. In addition, Columbia grabbed 21 offensive and 19 defensive boards. Sophomore guard Mary Beato led the bench with 17 points, while sophomore guard Melissa Shafer contributed eight points.
In order to be successful against St. John’s (6-0), the Lions must open both halves of the game with intensity. Columbia built an 11-point halftime lead against Delaware but struggled at the start of the second period, allowing the Blue Hens to get within four points of the Lions.
“We did not come out of the locker room [at halftime] quite as strong as I would have hoped,” Columbia head coach Paul Nixon said after the game. “They [Delaware] got a couple of quick scores, and then I had to burn one of the timeouts before we even got to the media [timeout] to try and stem the tide. But I thought after that, we kind of held them at bay, and obviously we were able to build our lead back up.”
Columbia needs to protect and extend leads on a consistent basis if it wants to win on Friday. The Lions also need to stay out of foul trouble. On Wednesday, three Columbia starters accrued four fouls apiece and one, junior center Lauren Dwyer, fouled out of the game. Columbia cannot afford to have its best players on the bench against St. John’s, a team that is winning games by an average of 23.5 points.
Not only is St. John’s undefeated, but the Red Storm also has scored at least 80 points in five of its six matchups this season. On Tuesday night, St. John’s beat Stetson by an 87-51 score. Sophomore forward Da’Shena Stevens leads the Red Storm with 16.3 points per game, while senior forward Joy McCorvey pulls down a team-high 8.2 rebounds per contest.
Tip-off is set for 12:30 p.m.