Last Monday night, Columbia University came within three points of leaving the Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh with a victory over NC State. In that game, junior Judie Lomax grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds for the Lions highest single-game rebounding total in 12 seasons.
It took just one week for the Lions next 20-rebound effort, as Lomax pulled down 23 rebounds to set the Columbia single-game record on the way to a 68-56 victory over St. Francis (NY) in Brooklyn Heights. Her 22 points also led all scorers as Columbia (9-5) finished its non-conference schedule with a perfect 6-0 record against Northeast Conference teams. St. Francis (1-14, 0-4 NEC) dropped its sixth straight game.
The 5'11" Lomax accomplished her feat despite playing just 34 minutes, reaching a double-double by halftime. The Terriers had no answer for last year's D1 rebounding leader as Kim Snauwaert and Stefanie Bingham each fouled out in their attempts to guard her. As a team, Columbia shot 48 percent from the floor for the first 20 minutes, taking a 35-17 into halftime. It might have been more, had the Lions not committed ten first half turnovers. Columbia emptied their bench early, giving everyone the chance to play in the Lions last game before Ivy League games begin.
St. Francis jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first three minutes of play but could not sustain the effort, shooting just 28 percent from the floor and managing only one three-pointer in nine tries for the half. Despite a 48 percent shooting effort in the second half which included 6-for-12 from three-point range, the Terriers wasted the third straight 20+ point effort from freshman Autumn Lau, trailing the Lions by as many as 26 points in the second half before ending up with a deceptive 12-point final margin.
The struggle continues for St. Francis as the reliance of a starting lineup made up of freshmen (Bingham, Lau, and Snauwaert) and two first-year transfer students (Jacinda Williams, Tiara Dunson) has taken its toll. Just two of the nine players in Monday's game saw any action for the Terriers last season. Monday's early lead and their ability to keep the game close for the first eight minutes of play should be considered a minor victory as the team looks for an improved "bridge" to their developing habit of stepping up their shooting efforts in the second half. Columbia on the other hand, seems poised to take their place at the top of the Ivy.