NEW YORK - Columbia women's basketball fought to the final seconds but dropped a heartbreaking 71-64 decision to Cornell in double overtime Saturday evening in Levien Gymnasium.
The Lions bounced back from a tough first half 29-19 deficit with a commanding 34-24 advantage in the second frame to end regulation knotted with the Big Red, 53-53. The two teams were neck-and-neck in the first overtime. The Lions got a shot off with 1.7 seconds on the clock, but it fell just short, forcing a second overtime.
Columbia (2-14, 0-2 Ivy League) had three players in double figures, led by Courtney Bradford's double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. Tyler Simpson had a team-high 17 points, while Brittany Simmons fell just short of a double-double with 11 points and nine boards.
Allyson DiMagno was dominant on the glass, pulling down 22 of Cornell's 47 rebounds, and made it a double-double by adding 13 points. Clare Fitzpatrick led the way with a game-high 23 points, while Spencer Lane and Shelby Lyman added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
With the Lions leading 9-7, Cornell embarked on a 9-0 run to pull ahead, 16-9, midway through the first half. A three-pointer by Caitlin Unsworth halted the run, but the Big Red remained in front and built up its lead into double digits, 21-11, with an old-fashioned three-point play by DiMagno at the 6:44 mark.
The Lions came out ready to roar in the second half with consecutive baskets by Bradford and Miwa Tachibana, but Cornell answered with back-to-back Fitzpatrick layups. With 14:58 remaining, Tachibana nailed a three-pointer from deep beyond the arc and Simpson followed with a layup, bringing the crowd to its feet. Taylor Flynn extended Cornell's lead as she knocked down a three-ball for the Big Red, but Columbia was in it for the long haul, rattling off the next six points.
Taylor Ward was just getting started when she nailed a jumper as part of that run, following it up with three-pointer to put the Lions back in the lead with 7:22 to play. The senior followed up with her second three of the night just minutes later, pushing Columbia ahead, 49-45.
Simmons then went on her own mini-run with back-to-back jumpers to keep Lions in front, 53-49 with 3:18 on the clock. Cornell responded with consecutive baskets to close out the second half even with the Lions.
The first overtime lead belonged to Columbia following an old-fashioned three-point play on a fast-break by Taylor Ball, but Cornell responded with a basket from deep to once again knot the score.
Bradford and Simpson went back-to-back with layups for the Lions as Columbia took control, 60-56 with 2:50 to go. Lane and Spencer each hit one free throw shot apiece before Fitzpatrick took advantage of a one-and-one attempt from the charity stripe to make it 60-all.
It was Columbia's ball with merely 1.7 seconds on the clock. Tachibana's shot went up and fell just short, hitting the rim to send the game into double overtime.
Cornell opened the final frame on a 6-2 run before converting five free throws to come out with the victory. The Big Red finished with a 17-of-21 (81 percent) effort from the foul line, compared to 6-of-12 (50 percent) by the Lions.