NEW YORK -- Columbia women's basketball came out strong with a 25-19 first-half lead before ultimately falling short to Long Island, 53-42, Friday afternoon at Levien Gym.

The Lions opened with a solid defensive performance, including two early steals by Tyler Simpson, which led to seven unanswered Columbia points after Simpson knocked down two shots in the paint and Caitlyn Unsworth drained one from behind the arc.  

Columbia built its lead up to as much as nine after Unsworth hit another three-pointer, sparking a 6-2 run to help the Lions take a 15-6 advantage with 10:18 to go.

Overall, the Blackbirds shot just 5-of-30 for 16.7 percent in the first half as the Lions recorded eight steals and three blocks.

The momentum shifted in the second half as LIU got things started with two straight jumpers and a three-pointer to take its first lead of the day, 26-25.

Amara Mbionwu moved well in the paint to hit a layup and put Columbia back on top, 27-26, with just over 16 minutes on the clock. Taylor Ball followed that up with another two points in the paint, but a LIU three-pointer tied things up, 29-all.

With 10:28 remaining, Fanny Cavallo found a hole in the Lions defense and snuck her way in for a clean layup. Krystal Wells stole the ball back for the Blackbirds as they took off on an 11-0 run, pushing Long Island's lead to 38-31.

The Lions put up a fight as Taylor Ball snatched a steal and dished it over to Sara Mead for a layup, bringing the Lions within three points with 5:43 left to play.

LIU stayed hot to pull away, as Crystal Walls sank a three-pointer with 1:31 on the clock to give the Blackbirds their biggest lead of the night, 51-40.

Long Island's poor first-half shooting performance changed dramatically in the second half as the Blackbirds shot 12-of-19 for 63.2 percent from the field. Overall, the two teams shot evenly across the board, as Columbia went 17-51 for 33.3 percent and LIU went 17-49 for 34.7 percent.

Simpson led the way for the Lions with 12 points, while Courtney Bradford pulled down a team-best seven rebounds.

Columbia will look to bounce back on Sunday as the Lions head north to Vermont to take on the Catamounts at 1 p.m.