Courtesy of Drew Dummer

The Columbia women’s basketball team (21–5, 12–2 Ivy) raced out to a 10–0 lead to open its semifinal matchup against the Yale Bulldogs (16–11, 9–5), and never looked back on their way to a 67–38 victory Friday night.

Jaida Patrick and second-team All-Ivy guard Abby Hsu set the tone for the Lions early, scoring 20 of Columbia’s first 22 points, helping their team build a 22–5 lead by the end of the first period. The two players combined for 41 points, more than Yale’s entire team.

Patrick scored most of her points on the fastbreak, getting 14 of her points off of transition layups. Hsu, who led the Ivy League in three-pointers during the regular season, continued her dominance from beyond the arc, knocking down four of her 11 three-point attempts.

Patrick credited her team’s ball movement for her success, saying in her postgame press conference, “Shoutout to [my teammates]. They were finding me in transition, finding me open shots, getting me the ball where they knew I would be able to do something with it. Really, all my teammates did a great job finding me when they needed to.

The Bulldogs, on the other hand, struggled to score across the board, as they shot just 25 percent from the field and 10.5 percent from three. 

The Blue and White tried to get something going on offense, attempting to feed the ball to their unanimous first-team All-Ivy forward, Camilla Emsbo ’23. But Emsbo faced double teams nearly every time she caught the ball, and sometimes even before the Bulldogs could get it to her. The Bulldogs’ star forward finished with only 9 points on just 3–6 shooting.

“Scoring makes up for a multitude of sins,” Yale women’s basketball head coach Aliison Guth said. “We could not find the rim tonight… Shooting 25 percent from the field is extremely uncharacteristic for us. Shooting 10 percent from three and fifty-four from the line is just not the offensive performance to put us in position to win. We pride ourselves on our defense. When we were taking poor shots, it set us up poorly on the defensive end.”

Alex Cade ’22 scored six points in the third quarter, but the Yale squad failed to bring the game back within reach. Columbia used the second period to stretch their lead to 39–15, as the Blue and White struggled to find any way to stop the Lions potent transition attack.

The second half began with another Patrick transition layup that set the tone for the third quarter. The Lions kept the Bulldogs at bay, as Patrick and Hsu scored the first 11 points of the quarter. Mackenzie Egger ’25 scored seven of her nine total points in the third quarter, but her contributions couldn’t narrow the deficit.

First-year guard/forward Mackenzie Egger ’25 drives during Friday night’s Ivy Madness semifinal. (Courtesy of Drew Dummer)

“I think we just didn’t execute our gameplan in any sense of the word,” Emsbo said. “I think defensively — right before the game, in our pregame presser, we talked about transition being the main thing we needed to focus on. And I think that was the story of the game tonight. They ran in transition, and we didn’t really do anything to stop them… I think they were the scrappier team and just wanted it more.”

The Lions’ first-team All-Ivy forward, Kaitlyn Davis, had a relatively quiet night by her standards, but still contributed nine points, five assists and five rebounds. Her defense was also key in shutting down Emsbo.

Cade and Emsbo combined to grab 22 rebounds, including 15 by the latter. However, other than that duo, the Blue and White struggled on the glass. Columbia outrebounded Yale 44-39, and also shared the ball better on offense, with 18 assists to the Elis’ seven.

“We had high-low opportunities with seals in the post that we absolutely bypassed and moved the ball across the nail with no intention of playing to our strength,” Guth said. “I think what you saw was a little tightness in our decision-making.”

The outcome was nearly certain by the fourth quarter, as the Lions entered the final period with a 53–28 lead. The Lions rested their starters for most of the quarter, saving their legs for tomorrow’s matchup with the tournament’s top seed, Princeton (23–4, 12–2), who bested Harvard 72–67 in the first game of the day.

The Bulldogs allowed their three graduating seniors — Cade, Robin Gallagher ’22 and former walk-on-turned-captain Roxanne Nesbitt ’22 — to finish the game on the floor. The Lions milked the clock in the final period, but didn’t take their foot off the pedal, on their way to a 67–38 final score.

“Our seniors took our program to new heights over the course of their career here,” Guth said. “They’ve been a part of our programs to the most wins in program history two times. One game does not define their careers here.”

Columbia and Princeton will compete for the league’s automatic bid for March Madness at 5 p.m. on Saturday night.

Andrew Cramer is a former sports editor, women's basketball beat reporter, and WKND personal columnist at the YDN. He still writes for the WKND and Sports sections. He is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College and is majoring in Ethics, Politics & Economics.