Special to the AmNews

Last Saturday, Columbia University women’s basketball proved that with vision and commitment, history can be made. Sometimes victory is a matter of believing you can win, and the Lions proved just that. Trailing by as much as 12 points, Columbia came back, tying the game and sending it into overtime. In those final 5 minutes, the players asserted their dominance over a very determined and aggressive Cornell University team, pulling away for a 69–64 victory.

“Cornell came out with a mission. They could have ruined our season,” said Columbia head coach Megan Griffith. 

Instead, the Lions proved they know what it takes to win, doing so in front of a sold-out crowd of 2,602—quite the difference from the audience at games when Griffith took over the program seven years ago.

“I remember trying to recruit people to…come to our games,” said Lilian Kennedy, one of seven seniors honored before the start of the game. “It is insane the difference that has been since my freshman year to now.”

That sold-out crowd got to witness the program’s first Ivy League Championship in its 37-year history. Cutting down the net is not a familiar sight on Schiller Court at Levien Gymnasium, so the crowd savored the experience. 

For the seven seniors, this was a moment that took patience, persistence, and positive attitude. Let’s celebrate them, starting with Sienna Durr, who joined the program when it was mainly a vision in Griffith’s head. As new players came to Columbia, Durr has seen her minutes diminish, but she has always been an exemplary teammate.

Kennedy, Madison Hardy, and Hannah Pratt have played different roles at different times, but have always contributed to the team’s good energy and focus. Guard Carly Rivera has been a spark that has changed the momentum in many games.

Two players have been consistent standouts—Kaitlyn Davis and Jaida Patrick, both of whom have garnered Ivy League honors, including Player of the Week, this season. Patrick came to Columbia as a transfer after two years at Duke. She has proved to be the missing ingredient that pushed this team to the next level.

Lastly, Davis has been a remarkable player, teammate, and leader. Her accomplishments these past two years have been all the more amazing because she didn’t have a sophomore season, due to the Ivy League’s decision to cancel sports for the 2020–21 academic year. Her story continues at this weekend’s Ivy League Tournament. 

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