Coming off a tough 2-2 road stretch in which it showed some serious improvement, the women’s basketball team (6-19 , 3-8 Ivy) took its act back home against Dartmouth (5-20, 2-9 Ivy) on Friday night. Although the Lions fought hard to stay in the game late, they couldn’t overcome Dartmouth’s hot-shooting first half, dropping the contest, 82-75.
The only time the game was tied was at tipoff. The Big Green immediately took the lead for good, courtesy of a three-point play from forward Abbey Schmitt. By the end of the first half, the Big Green led 45-31 thanks to strong 17-for-27 shooting, including 5-for-7 from downtown. Guard Nicola Zimmer led the Big Green in the first half with 13 points, including three three-pointers. She went on to finish the game with 23 points, as well as five assists and five boards.
“She’s their catalyst,” Lion head coach Stephanie Glance said. “They have a ball-screen offense, and she is really good off those screens. I thought she shot it exceptionally well. She’s great off the dribble and she’s great off the pull-up.”
The Lions began closing the gap early in the second half, but couldn’t muster the defense to hold Dartmouth within striking distance.
“I was disappointed with how we started the first half. We went into the locker room down 14 and we ended up outplaying them the second half. But you can’t let a team shoot 63 percent all night,” Glance said.
Having the best game of her young career for Columbia was first-year forward Tori Oliver, who finished the contest with 33 points on 11-for-17 shooting from the field and 11-for-15 from the free-throw line.
“It’s senior weekend, so I wanted to go out and play my hardest for the seniors. They have put a lot of work in for us, so I wanted to give my best for them,” Oliver said.
Glance said that although she was disappointed with the team’s first-half effort, she was proud of Oliver for stepping up and taking control on the offensive side of things.
“What I liked about Tori tonight is two things. She is learning how to get a better angle when she goes to the basket,” Glance said. “The other thing is finishing strong through contact, and there couldn’t have been a better display of that tonight.”
The Lions are back at it tomorrow when they host Harvard for Senior Night. The action starts at 7 p.m. in Levien, with a ceremony honoring the team’s seniors preceding the game.