Columbia (3-7) earned its first home victory on Saturday, taking down the Lehigh Mountain Hawks (7-4) 87-80 in what proved to be a historic game.
Senior forward Courtney Bradford pulled down a defensive rebound in the game's opening seconds—the 512th of her career—which tied her for 10th all-time in Columbia's record books. She would finish with 10 boards to give her sole possession of 10th place with 521 career rebounds.
The Lions, now riding a two-game win streak, scored a season-high 87 in the win. Columbia seems to have overcome its early-season shotmaking woes, as six players recorded double-digit point totals.
Senior guard and team leader Taylor Ward's back-to-back layups early in the first half sparked a 10-0 run for the Lions, giving Columbia an early lead. The Light Blue maintained its lead through most of the half, in part because of perfect free throw shooting to which first-years Tori Oliver and Carolyn Gallagher both contributed, each going 2-for-2 from the charity stripe.
Columbia was ahead 44-42 going into the break, led by sophomore guard Sara Mead, who had 10 points at halftime. Mead and first-year guard Carolyn Binder would both finish with 16 points to lead the Lions.
The Lions picked up where they left off in the second half, opening with a 13-4 run to secure the lead.
Guard Katie O'Reilly and forward Kerry Kinek both scored 16 to lead the Mountain Hawks' offense, but the visitors could never close the gap as Columbia secured the win.
Lion junior forward Amara Mbionwu came up just short of a double-double, finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Up next for the Lions is another home contest, this time against the Bryant Bulldogs (4-6).
The well-balanced Bulldogs feature an experienced starting five composed of three seniors and a graduate student.
Columbia is 1-1 all-time against Bryant, losing the most recent matchup last December at Bryant, 68-54. That game was tied at 22 at the end of the first half, but the Bulldogs capitalized on a 6-0 run early in the second half and took the win.
Bryant will travel to Manhattan riding a two-game win streak. The Bulldogs took down Dartmouth 79-69 on Dec. 10, and most recently dominated UMass Lowell in a 100-52 victory on Dec. 20.
Either team can make it three in a row with a win. The game is set to start at 7 p.m. on Dec. 30 in Levien Gymnasium.