Lady Monarchs Fall to Columbia 62-59 in Second Round of WNIT Tournament

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Nicholas Clark

#23 Amari Young goes up for the short jumper in the Second Round matchup.

Benjamin Draper, Sports Editor

The Old Dominion women’s basketball team 24-9(12-6 C-USA) returned to action at home with a second round matchup against Columbia 23-6(12-2 Ivy League) in the Women’s NIT tournament. ODU had recently defeated the University of Towson on Friday evening 72-66 and were awarded the home game for the second round contest. Monarchs faithfully showed out to support their team, and a chance to advance or be done for the season was on the line. Both teams broke from their huddles and took the floor for tip-off. 

#2 Iggy Allen finds a hole and drives the lane to the basket. (Nicholas Clark)

The Lady Monarchs got things going with a layup from junior Amari Young. After a missed shot from the Lions, ODU moved down the floor and junior Brianna Jackson got the layup that made it 4-0. Columbia responded on the next possession with a fast break layup. On the ODU inbound, the Lions would get the steal and another fast break layup that tied it up at four. Jackson would get another layup that gave the Lady Monarchs the lead again. After a Columbia miss, graduate student Iggy Allen scored the next two baskets for ODU after making both free throws and hitting a jumper that made it 8-4. Columbia would get fouled on the shot and they made one of two from the foul line that cut it to three. On the ensuing possession, Jackson responded with another basket in the paint that made it 12-5. Columbia would find their rhythm late in the quarter, nailing back-to-back 3-pointers that cut the lead to one. Before the end of the quarter, senior Aziah Hudson got fouled on her three point attempt and converted all three free throws to make it 15-11. 

The second began with a layup from Columbia that cut the margin to two. ODU then got down the floor and Allen sank a jumper from the top of the key to bring the lead back to four. The Lions found some space and threw up the three-pointer from beyond the arc and cut the lead to 17-16. ODU inbounded and gave it to senior Amari Young as she hit the fade away shot to make it 19-16. Columbia responded to the score with another 3-pointer that tied the game at 19. The Lions then scored three more points with a free throw and layup that made it 22-19. Allen would get fouled on her shot and made one of two from the foul line. Columbia continued to shine late in the half as they sank another bucket to extend their lead to four. They then nailed another 3-pointer that gave them the biggest lead of the game at seven. Before the end of the half, Allen drained a 3-pointer to end the scoring drought and went into the break down 27-23. 

#1 Mariah Adams dribbles the ball down the floor as ODU goes on the attack. (Nicholas Clark )

Columbia opened the second half with a quick layup. ODU responded to the score with another layup from Jackson. The Lions got back down the floor and found a lane inside that gave them the six-point advantage. After an ODU miss, Columbia responded with another layup that made it 33-25. On the next Lady Monarch possession, Young threw up the jump shot that cut it to 33-27. Both teams went back and forth in the next few minutes with multiple scores, but Columbia held a comfortable 40-32 lead late in the third quarter. ODU began to claw back as junior Kaye Clark found a lane and drove to the basket for two. Clark got another bucket on the next Monarch possession and the lead was down to four. After a Columbia miss, Allen got down the floor and dazzled her way up for the bucket to make the game 40-38. Columbia ended their scoring drought with a short jumper. Allen got fouled on her shot and made both free throws to cut it to 42-40. Columbia ended the quarter with another three-pointer that gave them a 45-40 advantage going into the final ten minutes.

The Lady Monarchs got things going as Allen got the layup and made it 45-42. Columbia retaliated with two made free throws after the technical foul called on ODU. They then added a mid range shot that extended the game to 49-42. Clark would come up big again for the Lady Monarchs as she nailed another three-pointer. The Lions got back down court and got the easy layup to make it 51-45. On the next ODU possession, Young got the short floater and made it a four point ballgame. Later in the fourth, Columbia began to pull away as they outscored ODU 7-2 to make it 58-49. The Lady Monarchs sank a 3-pointer that cut the game down to six. ODU made it interesting in the final minutes of the matchup as they cut the game down to 61-59 and had a chance to tie the game with under ten seconds to go, but they could not sink the shot. Old Dominion would go on to lose the contest 62-59 to Columbia. They were eliminated from the tournament and called it quits for the season. 

#11 Kaye Clark throws up the three-point shot. (Nicholas Clark)

Allen finished the afternoon with 21 points, eight rebounds and three steals, followed by Young and Jackson both tallying 23 points, 16 rebounds and two assists. Hudson finished with six points and two rebounds, while Clark finished with seven points, four rebounds and two assists. 

In the post game presser, head coach Delisha Milton-Jones shared her thoughts on the outcome of the game and what it meant to be back in Norfolk. She also mentioned how much it means to have an opportunity at playing postseason basketball. “It definitely felt good to come back to Chartway Arena one more time. I’m disappointed because I felt like we should have won this game,” she said. “I love the fact that we got these reps in the postseason. These reps breed success. We’re grateful that we were able to play in the WNIT.” 

Old Dominion finishes the season with a 24-10 overall record and 12-6 in conference USA. It was a remarkable season for the young Monarchs team as they look to improve over the offseason. Presumably, next season is going to take place in a new conference as Old Dominion plans to move to the Sun Belt Conference.