Both Columbia University and Stony Brook University women’s basketball headed into the pre-Thanksgiving game at 5–0 for the season. Only one team could continue its winning streak and that was Stony Brook, which handed Columbia its first loss of the season with the score of 91–82.

“They taught us a lot,” said Columbia head coach Megan Griffith. “We’ll be ready moving forward. This is one where we learned a lot of lessons.

“This was the most complete team that we’ve seen to this point,” she added. “They weren’t more talented than some of the teams that we’ve played, but they were more complete and they were a better cohesive unit.”

It was a strong performance for the Seawolves, said first-time head coach Ashley Langford, who was named to the position in April of this year shortly after Stony Brook made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Langford not only provides representation for the players as a Black female head coach, but she also understands competing under unusual circumstances such as the current COVID precautions. As a freshman at Tulane University in New Orleans, Langford experienced the campus being evacuated due to Hurricane Katrina. She knows what it means to be resilient as the players continue to adapt to restrictions driven by the pandemic.

“I would consider myself a players’ coach,” said Langford. “I want them to enjoy their experience in four years and remember how it felt. Not only wins. If you’re doing it the right way—you have connections, you have relationships—the wins will come. I want them to invite me to their weddings. If they don’t enjoy their time here, I won’t get invited to weddings. I want them to call when they get their first jobs, when they get a new contract to play overseas. That’s what’s important to me.”

The game marked a return to NYC for Brooklyn native Earlette Scott, who delighted in playing in her hometown. “Being from New York City and everything we go through…to be successful, so it was great playing in New York,” said Scott, whose family was in attendance. “It was a tough game. Columbia is a great team. Probably by far the best team we’ve played yet, so it’s a great win.”

Columbia and Stony Brook both played last weekend. Columbia played in the Christmas City Classic, dropping its first game to Missouri 87–80 and winning over Rider 63–60. Stony Brook remains undefeated, picking up its seventh win over St. Francis College 71–64 on Sunday.

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