Butler Benches His Starting Rotation

As the player who scored 33 points against Harvard on Valentine’s Day last year, Columbia’s Sue Altman would be expected to see a lot of time on the hardwood.

And she did on Friday night in Lavietes Pavilion, only it was time on the bench rather than the floor.

A mere three minutes into the game, Lions coach Jay Butler took three of his starters—Altman, Lisa Copeland and Erin Jaschik—out of the game. They did not play again until the second half, when the Crimson had already gathered an enormous lead.

“We had a defensive philosophy going into this game and our team decided at the start of the game that they didn’t want to follow my defensive philosophy,” Butler said. “At that point my starting team wasn’t worth my time…

“My defensive philosophy was to have one player double down—Lizi Chorney—and I started the game with two players—Sue Altman being one of them, Lisa Copeland being the other—leaving their players wide open for shots.”

Harvard had amassed a nine-point lead on the strength of three-pointers when Butler’s starters left the game.

Altman ranked eighth in the league in scoring going into the weekend, averaging 15.4 points per game. She appeared to have gotten out of the doghouse on Saturday night when she tallied 22 points against Dartmouth in 39 minutes of play. Copeland notched 14 while playing all but three minutes.

On Friday, however, the fact that Altman and Copeland had scored all of Columbia’s seven points was not enough to keep them in the game.

“The tone of the game was set by the first five minutes,” Butler said. “The bottom line is that, as a coach, I’m not ready to accept a team who is not ready to go with the game plan that we practiced all week long.”


The Crimson swung from one extreme to the other from three-point land on Friday and Saturday nights.

On Friday, Harvard was unstoppable as the Crimson registered five three-pointers from four different players in the first five minutes of the game.

Harvard made 8-17 three-point attempts in the first half and 3-5 in the second. Junior center Reka Cserny led the trey frenzy with a perfect 4-4 for the night.

A different team began the game on Saturday. The Crimson missed three three-point attempts and three jumpers before junior guard Katie Murphy hit a jumper at 15:55 to finally give Harvard its first score.

The Crimson did not convert any of its eight shots from behind the arc in the first half, and managed only 3-8 in the second.

In the past, similar poor shooting has caused Harvard to tighten up, and resulted in losses such as last weekend’s at Yale. On Saturday, however, the Crimson remained composed and found other ways to score.