NEW YORK – Using an outstanding defensive performance that held Yale to just 23.9 percent shooting from the field, the Columbia women’s basketball team picked up its first Ivy League win of the season, 56-52, over the Bulldogs Friday evening. The win snapped an 11-game losing streak for the Lions, and handed second-place Yale its fourth conference loss of the year. 

Sophomore Courtney Bradford was a force to be reckoned with in the paint, grabbing a career-high 18 rebounds, while scoring eight points and adding two blocks and two steals. Junior Tyler Simpson led the Lions on offense, scoring 20 points, while Taylor Ward and Melissa Shafer added seven each. 

Trailing by two with 6:58 remaining, Bradford led the charge back with a jumper in the paint that tied the game up at 46-46. 50 seconds later, Bradford was fouled on a rebound and made both her shots to put Columbia up, 48-46 with 6:17 left to play. Yale’s Megan Vasquez would hit a layup and two free throws to keep it close, but a layup by Simpson at 1:26 and a made free throw by Ward with 20 seconds left proved to be the fatal blows, with Columbia taking the win, 56-52. 

Vasquez, who had a career-high 28 points against the Lions earlier in the season, was held to just eight points Friday night, going 1-for-12 from the field, thanks to Columbia’s defensive efforts. 

The first half of the game saw Yale pull out to a 7-0 lead on the Lions, but Simpson went on a 7-0 run of her own, tying the score up with a layup in a crowded paint, 7-7 at 12:39. That tie would be just one of 11 times that the two teams would be knotted up, as the lead changed hands five times throughout the night. Columbia’s widest lead of the day came with 55 seconds left in the first half, when two free throws by Taylor Ball made it 28-22.  

The Lions, who improve to 3-21 overall, 1-9 in the Ivy League with the win, will look to make it two in a row, as Columbia hosts Brown, Saturday, February 25 at 7 p.m.