Columbia junior Kaitlyn Davis Credit: Columbia Athletics

The Ivy League released its Ivy League Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll, and Columbia University was picked third, indicating confidence that the Lions will qualify for the four-team Ivy League Tournament next spring. Princeton University, an NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament fixture, was placed atop the poll, which is selected by 16 members of the Ivy League’s media contingent (two from each of the eight universities).

This is a return to action for the student-athletes of the Ivy League whose entire 2020–’21 season was cancelled due to the pandemic. They were not even residing on campus.

“We are thrilled to be playing again,” said Megan Griffith, in her sixth season as head coach. “The brand of women’s basketball that everybody is going to see this year is going to be very exciting. It’s just the start for us, building off of two seasons ago.”

Griffith said her team has unfinished business. After qualifying for the 2020 Ivy League Tournament and a shot at post-season play, Columbia saw that opportunity yanked away due to the pandemic. “We talk about that all the time as a staff, as a program,” said Griffith. “I think there’s a lot of momentum to build off of.”

The 2019–’20 team was young and promising. Most of those players have returned, including junior guard/forward Kaitlyn Davis, who garnered Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors her freshman year, and All-Ivy sophomore guard Abbey Hsu. 

Griffith likened Davis to Magic Johnson. “She makes the game so fun and she connects the pieces for you really well,” said Griffith. “She can literally do everything that you ask her to do. Some things better than others, but that’s where she’s a work in progress.”

Davis said skill work was very important during this time away from competitive basketball as well as staying connected with her teammates and coaches. She and her teammates are taking things one day at a time and sustaining a team-oriented perspective. 

“We’re all trying to lift each other up,” said Hsu, who thanked the coaching staff for building her confidence to shoot when she’s open. “It’s not just me in the gym shooting, we’re all getting in the gym. … Our main focus is growing as a program.”

Columbia women’s basketball kicks off its season on Nov. 9 against Hampton University at Levien Gymnasium.

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