Lauren Wheeler and Kayla Burchill scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds each to lead the Vermont Catamounts to a 46-40 victory over Columbia in the home opener for UVM at Patrick Gymnasium.
Vermont picks up its first win of the season and moves to 1-1 overall. Columbia falls to 0-2 on the year.
"Really pleased with our effort today," said Vermont head coach Lori Gear McBride. "Things weren't perfect out there, they were a little bit ugly at times, but I credit Columbia. That's what they do they try and make it ugly and force turnovers. I thought we made some big plays and our defense was very good and we were able to grind it out."
Both teams started the game off slowly offensively, but the Catamounts were able to build a 10-point lead, 18-8, at the 5:31 mark behind a 10-1 run that was fueled by eight combined points from Wheeler and Burchill.
UVM's lead grew to 12 on a free throw by Wheeler at the 4:28 mark, but the Lions battled back with a 10-2 run of their own to slice Vermont's lead to four, 22-18, with 1:24 remaining in the half.
The Catamounts would push their lead back to seven on three free throws from Lauren Buschmann and would take a 25-18 lead into halftime.
At the 13:51 mark of the second half, Amara Mbionwu scored on a layup to bring Columbia within four, 31-27. Vermont answered with an eight-point spurt to quickly push the lead back to 12. Columbia could not get closer than six the rest of the way as the Catamounts posted their first win of the season.
Despite shooting 24.5 percent from the floor for the game, the Catamounts were aided by a 17-for-28 effort from the foul line. Vermont also forced the Lions into 25 turnovers in the game and limited them to 32.6 percent shooting from the floor.
Tyler Simpson led Columbia with 14 points and Brittany Simmons grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
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