Photography by Claire Cenovic
Filled with students, alumni, and locals alike, Saturday, February 3rd, found Levien Gym buzzing with excitement for the Columbia Women’s Basketball team’s annual Barnard-themed game against Dartmouth. The game celebrated forty years of the Columbia-Barnard Athletic Consortium, which uniquely offers Barnard students an opportunity to join NCAA D1 athletics.
“It’s wonderful to see women having the same opportunity to compete, to build those teamwork skills, and have the focus and dedication only sports can provide,” said Barnard President Rosenbury on the impact of the Consortium and Title IX in an interview with Lance Meadow.
Many Barnard students eagerly anticipated this game, as it came just months after their president Sian Beilock left for her new position at Dartmouth. Despite hopeful murmurs that Beilock might be in attendance at the game, she was not spotted.
Prior to the game, the basketball team took to Instagram to share their favorite parts of Barnard. Player Blau Tor BC ’27 highlighted “the people” of Barnard as hers, and as the game made clear, this supportive community showed up and showed out for their team. Even before gameplay, students donning Barnard and Columbia merch sat shoulder to shoulder on the bleachers.
“This game was the first Columbia Women’s Basketball game I’ve attended and [it] made me want to support them more,” said Grace Petrusek BC ‘25. “I was excited that it was Barnard-themed. It made me feel more a part of the community as a Barnard student!”
Tip-off started promptly at 5 p.m., with Columbia winning possession. After a steady back and forth on the court, the Lions pulled into the lead. Announcements for upcoming Barnard events, such as the annual Sheila Abdus-Salaam Memorial Fund Lecture, peppered the gymnasium between plays, a reminder of the game’s Barnard focus. By halftime, the Lion’s lead grew to a nine-point difference (37-28).
In between halves, the Columbia Dance Team performed to “SOS” by Rihanna before a local all-girls youth team from St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s took the court for a scrimmage. It wasn’t hard to draw parallels between these young girls (perhaps future players for the Lions?) and the powerhouse basketball players of Columbia and Barnard. Spectators erupted into encouraging cheers when a few successful baskets were made. After the scrimmage, newly inaugurated Barnard President Rosenbury made an appearance, wearing a “Barnard Blue” suit as she posed for a quick photo.
In addition to celebrating the Columbia-Barnard Athletic Consortium, it was also the basketball team’s alumni weekend. Alumni from varying graduation years came onto the court for a t-shirt toss of Columbia merch.
A standout moment from the game came in the second half from Habti Calvo BC ‘27 and Abbey Hsu CC ‘24. Hsu made a quick behind-the-back pass to Calvo, who then successfully scored a basket, bringing the Lions up to 54 points. Many of her teammates patted her on the back, celebrating the score a few minutes later as they congregated on the sidelines for a team timeout. Calvo was one of the eleven Lion athletes playing in this game, each scoring at least once–an unusual feat in basketball.
The energy briefly shifted in favor of Dartmouth at the start of the fourth quarter, as they gained six points on Columbia. Ultimately, the Lions finished on top with a final score of 71-52. This win marked Columbia’s seventh consecutive win against Dartmouth.
“New York, New York” played over the speakers, a tradition with every Columbia win, and drew the Barnard night to a close. Players thanked fans by waving and smiling towards the bleachers before heading off to the locker room.
The next Columbia Women’s Basketball game is set for Friday, February 9 at 7 p.m. against Brown. If the Lions’ strong record can predict anything, it’s that this game will likely be one you don’t want to miss!