Saturday, November 16, 2019

November 10th, 2019: Fordham at Columbia

Just the Facts, Ma'am: Columbia took second-quarter momentum with them to the second half and dominated Fordham 70-51. Abbey Hsu had 15 points to lead the Lions, with Kaitlyn Davis adding 14 off the bench. Kaitlyn Downey had 19 points to lead Fordham before fouling out.

For bewilderment, confusion, a lack of effort on so many people's parts, exhaustion, and an inability to can even, join your intrepid and repetitive blogger after the jump.

They say there's no rest for the weary, and there's also no rest for the nerdy, as your intrepid blogger heads uptown to watch Fordham take on Columbia at Levien Gymnasium.

Whoever put the "Espresso Patronum!" sign up on the coffee stand, I appreciate your geekiness and your flair for puns, but your grasp of Latin needs some work.

I don't see Isis Young on the Fordham bench, so I don't think she's playing. I'm not even sure if she traveled.

Well, this is not what I was expecting after the fight we gave Notre Dame. Columbia is up one at the half, 32-31. Madison Hardy made a splash with five points in the last couple of minutes, while program-featured player Kaitlyn Davis is carrying the load with 10 points. Kaitlyn Downey has 14 to power Fordham, but no one else seems to be able to hit shots.

I would have expected more originality from an Ivy League school than the Imperial March for opposing introductions.

The PA guy is terrible. So terrible. He doesn't seem to have read the Fordham pronunciation guide, he seems to think the women's game is played in halves, he's inconsistent about announcing subs, he takes forever to announce fouls, and forget knowing the opposing roster- he doesn't even seem sure who Columbia's players are. This is a problem when you're the Columbia announcer, I'm just saying.

For the love of all that is sweet and holy, please turn down the sound system slightly. The music is ridiculously loud.

Allow me to sum up my feelings about this game in one quote from in-game commentary: Sarah Karpell, for reasons beyond human imagining, decided to go one-on-three and ballhog in a way that would have made Cappie Pondexter say, "Nah, you should have passed that ball." My reaction, literally: "I- I- I- I- that was so bad my inability to can can't even." I'm very glad Kaitlyn Downey decided to show up for this game. I just wish the rest of her teammates had bothered to join her. This wasn't even a hangover game, this was a "woke up in a tub of ice with a kidney missing" game.

I will give all the credit in the world to Columbia's ball movement on offense and the way they extended their defense. They forced us into very uncomfortable positions, and we weren't ready for it. I can understand the freshmen not being prepared. The returning players have far less of an excuse.

I would desperately like to know what is up with Zara Jillings. She's gone from one of our top reserves last year to not even getting off the bench in the first half and ending up a billionaire in the second half. I realize Sarah Karpell is doing a lot of the same things on defense, but Zara has the advantages of height and a year of experience. Something seems extremely off here. Katie McLoughlin saw some time in the second half to try and start something with hustle, but it didn't work. Nothing worked and I am so very tired. Catherine Polisano saw some garbage time at the end of the game, when Coach Gaitley finally threw in the towel (more or less). Megan Jonassen got maybe two stretches of play, if that, and was ineffective.

I'm going to break my usual rhythm here, because the minute splits were just that pronounced. Sarah Karpell brought the defense, but her offense is definitely a work in progress, and that one-on-three possession broke my brain. I have never so thoroughly lost my ability to can even before. She played heavy minutes, for reasons I don't completely understand. Vilisi Tavui got the start, but she didn't play a lot, between foul trouble and what appeared to be straight-up fear. She's a weapon, but she's a weapon we can't use until she figures out how to be used, and that's a problem.

Something is deeply wrong with Bre Cavanaugh's shot, at least through these first couple of games. Her floaters/lay-ups don't look good coming off her hand, and her jumper hasn't been consistent enough to make up for that. She was at least able to force a little action from the Columbia defense, but she's not playing like someone who can command the opposing defense's respect. Anna DeWolfe did not know how to deal with the defense Columbia was throwing at her. They extended the defense almost all the way to the halfcourt line and put a lot of pressure on the ballhandler. Some handled it better than others. Anna did not handle it well.

Oh, Kene. I love Kendell Heremaia dearly, but one of these days she's going to be the death of me. Squashing Bre on a loose ball like she had momentarily forgotten she was not playing rugby is pretty close. She and most of the rest of the guards had this bizarre fixation on trying to force the ball inside. I have no idea why. I just don't. I don't know what the thought process was there. I don't know if there even was a thought process there. Kaitlyn Downey was the only bright spot in this game, hitting her corner threes, nailing her midrange jumpers, and getting open on backdoor cuts. I know I've come down hard on Kaitlyn to start the season, but she made up for being overwhelmed against Notre Dame. I just wish the rest of the team had come along for the ride.

Madison Hardy certainly knows how to make a splash. Her two buckets at the end of the second quarter gave Columbia huge momentum going into the half with the lead, and she added one during the fourth quarter to help put the game away. Most of the rest of the bench didn't play much: Carly Rivera saw a little time in the first half, Madison Pack hit a three as part of our continuing fourth-quarter humiliation, and Stephanie Flynn saw spot minutes in both halves. The only other bench player to see heavy time was Kaitlyn Davis, who demonstrated a marvelous ability to draw fouls and get to the line. She shot as many free throws by herself as Fordham did as a team.

What first drew my attention about Mikayla Markham was her vocal communication on the court- she was calling signals quickly. She picked up her offense in the second half. Janiya Clemmons drove hard and didn't make a lot of her shots, but her penetration helped set up her teammates. Abbey Hsu's three-point ability is extremely useful for Columbia, and every one of her shots seemed to bury us a little deeper emotionally, like we had failed in our plan on top of failing everything else.

I don't know what else to say about this game. It's been a few days, frankly because I don't want to write about it. We gave up. We gave up threes and we gave up drives and we gave up on offense. I don't understand how a team that took Notre Dame to the final minute could fall apart so badly against Columbia. I respect what the Lions did, and how they executed their game plan, but we went toe-to-toe with a bigger and more talented team than them. I don't understand any of this.

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