Columbia Returns Home to Host Houston Wednesday
NEW YORK – The Columbia women's basketball team (2-2) welcomes Houston (2-3) to Levien Gymnasium for a Wednesday matinée. Tip is set for 2 p.m. with the game airing live on ESPN+.
CANNED FOOD DRIVE • Columbia is hosting a canned food drive on Wednesday. Any fan who donates three canned goods at the game will be entered to win a Columbia Basketball prize pack. Canned goods can be donated at the second-floor lobby on the south end of Levien Gym. OPENING TIPS • The Lions return to New York after spending four days in the Midwest. They visited Milwaukee on Friday and dropped their first game of the season, 78-65. Columbia bussed down to Champaign for a battle against the Illinois on Sunday, rallying back from 16 points down in the second half to make it a three-point game in the final minute but ultimately coming up short, 76-69. It was the program's second game against a Big Ten opponent, the last coming in November of 2009 and resulting in a 72-69 loss to Iowa at the Nevada Nugget Classic.
• Columbia entered Monday ranked No. 16 in the NCAA and No. 1 in the Ivy League in fewest turnovers per game (12.0). Conversely, Houston ranks No. 19 nationally and No. 1 in the American Athletic Conference in turnovers forced per game (19.4). Last year, the Cougars forced Columbia into 25 turnovers, the most committed by the Lions all season, on the way to a 77-53 victory in Houston.
• First-year Sienna Durr was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on Monday. Durr averaged 15.7 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 57.6 percent from the field through three games. She made her home debut in style, scoring a season-high 21 points on 10-of-17 shooting to lead the Lions to a, 70-49, victory over Army West Point. She added seven rebounds in that performance and filled up the stat sheet with an assist, block and steal. The Iowa native scored 17 points on Friday at Milwaukee to become the first Lion to start a career with three straight games in double figures since all-time leading scorer Camille Zimmerman.
• Columbia leads the Ivy League in field goal percentage (.420) which ranks nearly three percentage points better than last year's final tally (.393) which ranked sixth in the league.
• Columbia has scored between 65 and 70 points in each of its first four games.
• First-year Sydney Brown is coming off a season-high 14 points on Sunday at Illinois in which she scored 12 points in the fourth quarter. Her 3-pointer with a minute to go cut the lead to 72-69.
• Janiya Clemmons has been named to the Ivy League Honor Roll each of the first two weeks. Clemmons is averaging 10.5 points, a team-best 6.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists. SCOUTING HOUSTON • Houston (2-3) if flying up to New York for just one game. The Cougars are coming off a, 64-57, loss to Boston College on Sunday down at H&PE Arena in Texas. Houston is playing all of its November home games at the home of Texas Southern until its new arena, the Fertitta Center, opens in December. Despite Sunday's loss, Houston forced BC into 26 turnovers to mark its fifth consecutive game of forcing an opponent into 20-plus turnovers. Jasmyne Harris averages 21.0 points per game, which leads the AAC and ranks No. 39 nationally. Harris is also No. 2 nationally in field goal attempts (90), No. 5 in total points (105), No. 6 in 3-pointers made (16) and No. 12 in total steals (14). Serithia Hawkins (12.0), Angela Harris (12.0) and Alyssa Okoene (10.6) also average double figures scoring. Hawkins heads the Cougars in rebounds (6.0/game). HOUSTON SERIES • Columbia and Houston met for the first time last season at H&PE Arena in Houston. The arena is home to Texas Southern but Houston played all of its home games there during the 2017-18 season due to renovations at its facility. The Lions lost last year's meeting, 77-53, committing a season-high 25 turnovers that led to a 27-11 Houston advantage in points off turnovers. Wednesday will mark the first series meeting in New York. FLYNN TAKES ON A NEW ROLE • Stephanie Flynn has taken on a new role in her junior season. After averaging 4.2 minutes as a first-year and 5.8 minutes as a sophomore, Flynn has started the first four games and is averaging 5.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 27.5 minutes. Her 23 total points this season have already matched her point total from the 21 games she appeared in last season combined. The Hanover, Massachusetts, native had a career day in the home opener against Army West Point, scoring 10 points on 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and going for six rebounds.
HOME OPENER TO REMEMBER • Columbia used a 40-point second half in which it shot 50 percent from the field (16-32) and over 50 percent from 3-point land (6-11) to defeat Army West Point, 70-49, in its home opener (Nov. 12). First-year Sienna Durr made a great first impression, scoring 21 points on 10-of-17 shooting to go with seven rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal. Columbia's 21-point margin of victory was its largest in a home opener since 2009 vs. Sacred Heart (W, 79-55). The Lions also went for 12 steals, which were its most in a game since going for 23 against Central Penn on Jan. 3, 2016. The 12 steals were the most against a Div. I opponent since recording 13 against Vermont on Nov. 17, 2015.
FIRST-YEAR IMPRESSIONS • Five Columbia first-years made their collegiate debuts in the season opener at Hofstra – Sienna Durr, Mikayla Markham, Madison Hardy, Lilian Kennedy and Sydney Brown. Durr (15), Hardy (11), Markham (8) and Kennedy (2) all got in the scoring column. Durr's 15 points were the most by a Columbia first-year in a season opener since Alexa Giuliano poured in 20 points in 2014. Markham had six assists, the most by a Columbia first-year in a season opener since Danielle Browne had seven against Loyola Maryland in 2006. Kennedy's four blocks were the most by any Lion in any game since Josie Little had the same amount against Yale on Feb. 5, 2016. Brown went on to score her first points in Monday's home-opening victory over Army. NEW-LOOK LIONS • Only two of Columbia's current starting five had started a collegiate game prior to this season. First-years Mikayla Markham and Sienna Durr debuted in the starting lineup each of the first four games. Junior Stephanie Flynn also made her first four collegiate starts. Flynn had appeared in 36 career games heading into the campaign. The only two members of the current starting five that had started a game prior to this season are junior Janiya Clemmons (25 starts) and sophomore Imani Whittington (11 starts). #ROADTOIVYMADNESS • The Ivy League men's and women's basketball tournaments have a new home this season. After the first two years of the tournaments were held at the Palestra in Philadelphia, this year's tournaments will be hosted by Yale at Payne Whitney Gymnasium. The top four men's and women's teams will earn berths to the tournament with the semifinals on Saturday, March 16, and the championships on Sunday, March 17. All six games will be broadcast live on ESPN's networks. For tickets and more information please visit IvyMadness.com.