George J. Ames '37:   Financier and   Philanthropist
Those Were the Days,   My Friend!


Roar, Lion Roar!

Nicole Marwell '90
Mignon Moore '92
Joshua Harris Prager   '94
Cristina Teuscher '00
Winter Sports Highlights:
Cagers Sweep "Killer Ps," Fencer DuPree Wins NCAAs

By Jonathan Lemire '01

Craig Austin '02 drives to the hoop against Syrcause early in the 2000-2001 season

Craig Austin '02 drives to the hoop against Syracuse early in the 2000-2001 season.

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The best way to judge whether this year's Columbia men's basketball team had a successful season probably will require waiting to see how the team fares in 2001-02. Only then, after witnessing if next year's team - which will return all five starters - builds from the experiences of this year's edition, will it be clear if this past season was a disappointing near-miss or a promising sign of what's to come.

Regardless of how the Light Blue does next year, the one legacy from this past season that is certain to endure is the magical weekend in mid-February in which the Lions defeated both Princeton and Penn in front of boisterous, sellout crowds at Levien Gym. The stunning victories - 59-42 over Ivy League champion Princeton and 69-57 over Penn - were the first time that Columbia had swept the league's two traditionally dominant teams since 1986, and the first time the "Killer Ps" had been swept in a weekend by any team since 1989.

"Remember how this feels," coach Armond Hill told his players moments after the Penn win. "This is the ultimate."

The celebrations on Morningside Heights were tempered, however, by the knowledge that if the Lions had won at Brown and Yale the weekend before - games in which the Lions squandered substantial leads and then lost at the buzzer - the Light Blue would have held a share of first in the Ivy League and would have controlled its own destiny toward a possible league crown and NCAA berth. Instead, the Lions finished the season tied for fourth with a league record of 7-7, the same as last season, and could only look back and rue their inability to win on the road in order to compliment their dominant 8-2 home record. The Lions were 12-15 overall.

Despite the mixed emotions produced by the season's end result, there were plenty of bright spots to reflect upon, the most luminous being the continued stellar play of junior forward Craig Austin. The Ivy scoring champion at 20.1 points per game, Austin was named Ivy League Player of the Year by the league's coaches and Honorable Mention All-America by the Associated Press, joining such stars as Cory Bradford of Illinois, Eddie Griffin of Seton Hall and Loren Woods of Arizona on the latter list.

Austin's counterpart on the women's basketball team also received a prestigious honor at the season's end. Forward Shawnee Pickney '01, who led the Lions in scoring and helped them to six Ivy wins, was invited to attend the WNBA Pre-Draft camp in Chicago in early April, where she hoped to impress coaches and scouts. The four-round draft itself was held on April 20, after this issue went to press.

"I am not nervous because I don't want to be nervous," Pickney told Spectator before leaving for the Windy City. "I just feel tremendously blessed to have the ability to go and compete among college basketball's best women."

Pickney is one of the best women basketball players ever to don Columbia's uniform. She finished her career with 1,180 points, fourth on the Lions' all-time list, and 783 rebounds, second all-time.

Hoopsters were not the only Morningside Heights athletes to put together outstanding seasons in the winter of 2000.

Building upon Columbia's tradition of outstanding fencers, Jed Dupree '01 won the foil competition at the NCAA Championships in March to become Columbia's 29th national champion, and the first since 1993. Dupree, who had won numerous USFA, international and NCAA honors but had never before performed well in the NCAA championships, won 23 of his 25 matches at the University of Wisconsin.

"A lot of things came together for me this year, whereas in the past I was lacking something," said Dupree, whose goal is to compete in the 2004 Olympics. "Last year, I was really sick, and the year before that I was not as strong nor did I have much experience. I think this year it all just came together."

While he didn't win an individual championship like Dupree, diver Mark Fichera '01 also turned in an impressive performance at the NCAAs. Fichera, who finished eighth overall at the meet, won his preliminary round at the tournament, finishing ahead of several Olympians and wowing his coach.

"It was so fantastic," coach Gordon Spencer told Spectator. "It would have been ridiculous of me to even fathom it. This will never happen again. I may have someone make the finals, but I don't think I'll ever have someone win the prelims. This is by far the greatest moment of my coaching career."

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