Columbia University women’s basketball began the game against Vanderbilt University on fire, but by the end of the second quarter Vanderbilt had caught up. The Commodores brought energy in the second half, and by the fourth quarter there wasn’t much the Lions could do. Vanderbilt prevailed 74–63.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat this one. I thought we played terrible today,” said Columbia head coach Megan Griffith. “We had a great first five minutes of the game, but they completely lost their composure defensively and kind of fell apart.”
Senior guard/forward Kaitlyn Davis had 24 points and senior forward Hannah Pratt had 15 points, but senior guard Jaida Patrick and junior guard Abbey Hsu both had a disastrous shooting day. The team was weak from the free throw line. Griffith noted that the level play declined when Davis went out of the game and picked up when she returned, but one person shouldn’t change the way a team plays.
“Thank you, Vanderbilt, for waking us up,” said Griffith. “This team is thinking like they are the team they were in March [when Columbia advanced to the Elite Eight of the WNIT], but we’re not that team yet. We have to work to get back to that level. We’re making mistakes that are uncharacteristic of a team that plays in March. … This was a reality check for our team big time.”
It was an uplifting game for Vanderbilt. Head coach Shea Ralph was pleased with the way her team battled back. She said the players were energized by this trip to New York City, a first for several of them. On Friday, they ate at a nice restaurant. On Saturday, they visited the 9/11 Memorial and saw a Broadway show. On Sunday, they took care of business.
“Incredibly proud of my team for fighting back and playing the style of basketball in terms of the things we can control—our energy and our effort,” said Ralph. “That second half was more like what I think our team can be as we move forward.”
Ralph praised Griffith as a coach and noted that there are several teams the Commodores could have played in NYC, but she specifically wanted Columbia. “I love the fact that the kids that are going to school at Vanderbilt and the kids that are going to Columbia are trying to be great in every arena,” Ralph said. “You talk about wanting the best of both worlds, and you can get that at universities like ours.”