PHILADELPHIA - Columbia women's basketball held a five-point lead midway through the first half against Penn Saturday night but the Quakers had four players score in double figures to hand the Lions a 66-48 loss at the Palestra.
Columbia (3-20, 1-8) was led by Taylor Ward's 13 points and five rebounds. The junior knocked down a trio of three-pointers for the sixth time this season.
Alyssa Baron led the way for Penn (14-9, 7-2) with a 21-point, nine-rebound performance. Also scoring in double figures was Kara Bonenberger with 13 points, and Kathleen Roche and Keiera Ray, who contributed 12 points apiece.
Both teams went deep in the first half, as Columbia knocked down five three-pointers and Penn hit six. However the Lions were held 0-of-7 from beyond the arc in the second frame while Penn added another three to go 9-of-21 for 42.9 percent on the night.
The Quakers got off to an early 5-0 lead but Columbia kept pace and took over 11-10 thanks to Ward's second three-pointer of the night at the 14:37 mark.
Ward followed up with a seamless layup and a huge defensive rebound to keep Columbia ahead as the Lions embarked on an 11-2 run to take a five-point advantage, 17-12, with 12:01 to go.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Baron regained the Quakers' lead, but Ward knocked down her third shot from downtown in as many attempts to keep the Lions ahead, 18-20.
Penn evened things out as Ray converted one of two attempts from the charity stripe, but Columbia first-year Bailey Ott nailed a three-ball to snatch the lead back. A back-and-forth battle ensued over the next several minutes as the score was tied twice more before Roche hit one from beyond the arc to give Penn the lead for good.
Up next, Columbia heads north for another pair of Ivy League games as the Lions take on Yale on Friday, March 1 at 7 p.m. and Brown on Saturday, March 2 at 7 p.m.