Dons split East Coast road trip with Columbia win

USA TODAY Sports

Just the Facts, Ma'am: USF held Columbia without a field goal for four minutes deep in the second half to pull away in an 83-69 win on the road. Rachel Howard led the Dons with 18 points, while Taj Winston added 17. Miwa Tachibana led the Lions with 13 points. For fouls, missed shots, fouls, reusable paint, fouls, back support, and fouls, join your intrepid blogger after the whistle. I mean jump.

The epic tour of basketball continues at Columbia today, as the Game Notes of Doom hook up with San Francisco once more.

I think they replaced the seats at Levien. The place looks very shiny. Extremely well organized.

We have a band today! Yesssssssssssssss. Here's hoping they do Korobeiniki. However, the DJ's music selection could use some work. You can't be an academic school and play "Started From the Bottom" when a) you are still at the bottom, b) Cal did it way better than you will ever dream of doing it.

San Francisco fans, I appreciate your passion, but those plastic cowbells are technically against NCAA regulations, but then again, the Columbia fanatics brought them as well, so it all comes out in the wash. Yes, there are fans with face paint and painted shirts for Columbia. Mostly older gentlemen, so I'm glad they stuck to the shirts instead of the painted chests.

Beautiful anthem. I wonder if she sings opera as an extracurricular.

At halftime of a game that started as a slopfest, San Francisco is up three on Columbia. Rachel Howard had eight early, with Taj Winston adding six late from the line. Tori Oliver looks pretty tough for the Lions, but it's been Miwa Tachibana who's carried the load for Columbia, with 10.

Columbia has a fairly impressive souvenir stand, but I can't find the concession stand and I'm hungry. :( I'm also amused by the fact that they're blowing out the Adidas gear; the switch to Nike must have been very recent. No tiny souvenirs I could put on Moooose, though.

I was not expecting USF to have the moxie to make a defensive stand like they did in the fourth quarter of that game to hold off Columbia. I'd have to look at the final play-by-play to double-check it, but they went on a fairly substantial run to finish off the game, fueled both by offense and defense.

Aundrea Gordon seems to have shaken off whatever was bothering her shot at Fordham, because she brought the offense today. She was critical to regaining control of the game in the second half. Claudia Price needed to assert herself more- the coaches were yelling at her to shoot most of the time that she was in the game. She did well when she shot, so she needs to build on that. Hashima Carothers looked lost out there- fumbled a pass into her face, couldn't keep control of the ball, and generally seemed content to let the Columbia forwards muscle her out of position. My scorecard says that Alexa Hardick played, but I can't put my finger on anything that she did. Jamie Katuna committed stupid fouls- don't foul a three-point shooter! But she got the three back at the other end, so that worked out. Brief minutes for Bryn Stark, nothing to write home about.

Paige Spietz had a monster block in the first half, but her overreaching hands would be her downfall- she fouled out on a reach-in (more precisely, a reach-over) that any referee worth his salt is going to call as a foul, even if you manage to get all ball. She did all right on the boards, but was content to let loose balls go by her. Taylor Proctor got herself into foul trouble fairly early in both halves, which limited her effectiveness. She was also one of the Dons (Donnas? Doñas?) who had issues with getting easy looks to go down. Zhané Dikes didn't have much luck with the rim in the first half, but changing baskets seemed to change her luck a little bit. She drove without fear and took a couple of hard hits on both ends of the floor- at one point she all but did a somersault. Taj Winston came up big during the run at the end of the game, with a huge three and some critical shots, including a gorgeous breakaway lay-up on a deft steal. Rachel Howard brought the offense again, including a beautiful floater in the lane.

The ball movement was better this time around, but they're entirely too passive when it comes to loose balls. Fordham knocked away rebounds left and right, and so did Columbia. They've got to learn to move without the ball, as well. Can't just stand around and wait for the pass, especially when the passing is extremely sloppy.

Carolyn Gallagher and Ara Talkov both threw me off because they were wearing numbers that were not their number on the website, and then Columbia's announcer announced Gallagher as Carolyn Binder (which got really confusing when she committed a foul and Binder was sitting on four). Talkov looked lost in her minutes. Gallagher was able to provide some decent minutes in the post. Amara Mbionwu was brilliant in her few minutes, banging down low and getting good putbacks. She mostly played in the second half, which makes me wonder if she's recovering from an injury or if Stephanie Glance likes to use her as a secret weapon of sorts. Devon Roeper has an interesting release to her free throws, and still needs to work on her screens. Carolyn Binder gave decent minutes, and I'm not sure if some of those fouls were legit. I really can't remember anything that Kayla Patton did.

Miwa Tachibana is a woman who knows no fear. She's tiny, but she drives full on into the lane like no one's business. Courtney Bradford is a load down low, but her finishing could use a little work. I like the potential of Tori Oliver- there's something about her that reminds me of Le'Coe Willingham, though that might just be her build and her hair. Taylor Ward missed a lot of very makeable shots. It wasn't pretty. Sara Mead was not as memorable these hours later as I think she was during the game. I must remember not to schedule social engagements immediately after games.

I realize that there are new points of emphasis this year in the NCAA, and they're really trying to clamp down on incidental contact, but it got ridiculous in this game, on both sides. One of the guys in the front row called out, "So you've decided that everything that happens on the basketball court is a foul?" There was no real flow to the game- how could there be, with all the stoppages?

Quote of the game, after Miwa Tachibana's fourth or fifth foul, which came down low, from Stephanie Glance: "Are you serious? She's four-foot-two, how could she foul in there?"

Columbia just could not finish at the rim. San Francisco was not pressuring much, and they still couldn't convert on all the chances they got. Glance has a ways to go with her team on the basics, but I think she can get them back up to snuff.

So tomorrow (today?) I get a day off, and then it's back to the basketball!

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