Abbey Hsu making a splash for Columbia just two games into her collegiate career

Just two games into her collegiate career, Abbey Hsu is averaging 17.5 points and five rebounds in 31 minutes per game. (Columbia Athletics)

A season after Columbia got crucial contributions from first-years Sienna Durr (eventual Ivy Rookie of the Year), Mikayla Markham (led the Ivy League in assists) and Madison Hardy (ranked eighth in the conference in three-pointers), the Lions are now getting Rookie of the Year-level contributions from another first-year whose resilience is already clear.

Rookie guard Abbey Hsu has had a terrific first two games at the collegiate level, posting 13 points on 6-for-12 shooting in 25 minutes in the Lions’ season-opening 82-78 loss in overtime at Albany and a team-high 22 points on 10-for-17 shooting and eight boards in a game-high 36 minutes in their 71-57 home defeat at the hands of St. Joseph’s.

Hsu accounted for half of Columbia’s first-half scoring in the latter matchup as Durr struggled with foul trouble, and the 5-foot-11 talent from Parkland, Fla. has shown that she’s capable carrying the scoring load for a team whose offense was among the Ancient Eight’s most potent last season.

Hsu was a basketball standout at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when tragedy struck on Feb. 14, 2018.  From a Feb. 2019 South Florida Sun-Sentinel story:

Abbey Hsu, then the injured star of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas girls basketball team, was sitting in class, like thousands of other students in the Parkland school on Feb. 14, 2018.

Hsu was in Building 3. On her side of campus, it was a normal day until the fire alarm went off.

“We all thought it was a fire drill,” Hsu said.

Before Hsu knew what was happening, the news of what was unfolding in Building 12 was spreading around the community and around the world. Hsu’s brother, who attends the University of Central Florida in Orlando, called their mother, Terry Hsu, and told her there was a shooting happening at Stoneman Douglas.

Hsu’s parents tried to reach her, but they didn’t hear from her for 45 agonizing minutes.

“I was just sick to my stomach for a while,” Terry said.

Hsu escaped the campus and sought refuge at a friend’s nearby house, where she got in touch with her parents.

The details of what happened that day at Stoneman Douglas are well-known now. Seventeen people died in the shooting, 14 of whom were students, and seventeen more were injured, including Hsu’s teammate, Maddy Wilford.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Hsu knew some of the students killed in the shooting casually and also knew football coach Aaron Feis and Chris Hixon, who were both killed in the shooting.

From the Sun-Sentinel:

“It was tough on all of us,” Hsu said. “But it brought our community closer, I feel like, in ways. People were just more aware of not only their actions, but things they said, and made people want to be there for others and work hard at anything they did for those people that aren’t able to walk today or aren’t able to live today.”

Hsu was already facing adversity, having suffered a torn ACL just seven days before the mass shooting.

“Staying still for what, seven, eight months, drove me a little crazy,” Hsu told the Sun-Sentinel.

Hsu transferred from Marjory Stoneman Douglas to St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. before the 2018-19 school year, helping power the latter to district and regional titles.

Hsu was a great get for coach Megan Griffith and her staff, having chosen Columbia over Ivy rivals Brown, Dartmouth, Penn and Princeton and power-five schools like Alabama and Pittsburgh.

Now Hsu’s perseverance through adversity is paying off. The latest splash on the Ivy hoops scene is definitely worth appreciating.

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