NEW YORK - Senior Tyler Simpson scored a season-high 22 points and grabbed five rebounds as the Columbia women's basketball team was edged by Iona in the final minutes 67-63 Friday night. The Lions hit nine three-pointers on the night and scored a season-high 63 total points, but it was Damika Martinez of Iona who posted a game-high 34 points and seven rebounds to hand the Lions the loss.
Columbia fell to 1-8 on the season as Iona improved to 4-5 overall.
The Lions took the first lead of the game but soon trailed 9-2 at the first media timeout following a 7-0 Iona run. Tyler Simpson kept Columbia in the game as she posted the next six points for the Lions.
Despite trailing by as much as 13, Columbia posted eight consecutive points to make it 26-21 with 3:21 on the clock. Iona responded with the next four, but Columbia battled on as Taylor Ward knocked down a three-pointer and Simpson converted both shots from the charity stripe to bring the Lions within four, 30-26, heading into the break.
A layup by Courtney Bradford made it 30-28 less than two minutes into the fresh half. Sara Mead drained her second three of the night to bring the Lions within one, 32-31, and a layup by Simpson put the Lions ahead at 16:49 to take the lead, 33-32, bringing an energized crowd to its feet. Iona regained its lead with a layup by Sabrina Jeridore at the 16:21 mark, but the Lions battled on.
An 11-2 rally pushed Columbia's lead to as much as eight, taking a 48-40 advantage with 11:57 remaining. But the Gaels used a 10-3 run to regain control, 53-28 with 4:22 to play.
The final minutes of the game turned into a back-and-forth battle as the Gaels ultimately took over for good.
The Lions remain home to take on Saint Francis (N.Y.) on Tuesday, Dec. 11 for a 7 p.m. tilt.