NEW YORK, NY - Sophomore guard Damika Martinez sparked the offense with 34 points, including the team's final 12, as the Iona College women's basketball team came from behind in the second half to capture a 67-63 win over Columbia University Friday evening at Levien Gymnasium.
After a quick layup by Tyler Simpson gave Columbia a 2-0 lead, Iona would score the next 11 points, with three consecutive layups by freshman Joy Adams, five straight points by Martinez and a jumper by sophomore guard Aleesha Powell. The Lions would end the Iona run with a bucket, but Iona continued its hot shooting, opening up a 22-10 lead with 9:54 remaining in the first on a three-pointer by Martinez.
A layup by freshman center Jordan Henry gave Iona's its biggest lead of the half, 26-13, with seven minutes remaining, before an 8-0 run by Columbia cut the margin to five. Two straight Iona buckets pushed the lead back up to nine, before Columbia scored the final five points of the half, trimming the Iona lead to 30-26 after the first 20 minutes of play.
In the second half, Columbia came out on a 7-2 run, taking a 33-32 lead on a layup by Simpson. The teams would trade leads with Iona taking a 38-37 advantage on a jumper by Martinez with 13:37 remaining. Columbia would fight back and after an 11-2 run in just over a minute and a half, sparked by a pair of three-pointers by Taylor Ward, had its largest lead of the contest, 48-40, with 11:57 remaining.
After a three pointer by freshman forward Cassidee Ranger cut the deficit to five, Iona would continue to shrink the Columbia lead until four straight points by Martinez tied the contest at 51 with 7:47 remaining.
With the game tied at 55 with 3:30 remaining, Simpson a jumper to give the home team a two-point lead. On the Gaels' ensuing trip down court, Martinez would knock down her second three-pointer of the game to give Iona a 60-59 lead, a cushion the Maroon & Gold would hold on to for the remainder of the game.
Giving the Gaels a 63-59 lead on the free throw of a three-point play, Martinez would convert four crucial free throws down the stretch, including two with five seconds remaining after Columbia's Brittany Simmons cut the Iona lead to two on a three-pointer.
Martinez's 34 points and 12 field goals matched a career high set a season ago at Rider. Adams picked up her second straight double-double, finishing with 12 points and 14 rebounds in the contest. Junior centerSabrina Jeridorefinished with seven blocks, and has swatted away 19 shots over the last three games. Simpson led the Lions with 22 points.
Iona is idle for the next two weeks until Dec. 21, when they welcome Colgate to the Hynes Athletic Center.
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