It wasn’t the dream ending that Columbia University women’s basketball had hoped for, but it was still pretty special. After a victory over Bowling Green last Wednesday, Columbia advanced to the championship game of the postseason WNIT. Playing at Allen Fieldhouse with 11,000 spectators in attendance, Columbia fell to the Kansas Jayhawks 66–59. Thus ends the most successful season in program history, with a record of 28–6.
“It’s hard to end your season this way when you’ve battled so hard and you’ve come this far,” said Columbia head coach Megan Griffith after the game. “We have such a special group of seven seniors. Really grateful that we had this opportunity.”
It was a tight and tough championship game that had multiple lead changes. The top scorer for Columbia was junior Abbey Hsu with 19 points. Senior Kaitlyn Davis had 13 points. They were the only Lions in double figures.
“We just didn’t hit shots when we needed to,” said Griffith. “I think that’s the fatigue of a WNIT run, and Kansas made more plays than we did when they needed to. I think it was a battle today, and I think this only showed why we should have been playing in March Madness, in my opinion.”
Griffith has been vocal about Columbia deserving a spot in the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament. Clearly, the players, coaches, and staff used that disappointment to fuel them to victory during the WNIT.
While Columbia will lose seven seniors to graduation, they leave behind players who are accustomed to winning. Hsu returns next year as does sophomore point guard Kitty Henderson.
“I have two classes of freshmen and sophomores that all they know is winning 27 games a season and playing late into March or April,” said Griffith. “This just shows me the best is yet to come for this program. When I got here in 2016, we were one of the worst teams in the country. Tonight, in 2023, I’m really proud of my staff for all the hard work we put in to get to this point.”
The team even got a mention on the local news. After the sports reporter gave the story, the anchor replied with “Roar, Lion, Roar.”
“Did our leaders and our seniors get us here, and are they resilient? Absolutely, but I thought our young players really stepped up today, and that’s what I was really proud to see,” said Griffith.