Columbia women fall short at Kansas in WNIT title game


The deepest run for an Ivy League team in WNIT history ended in defeat in the tournament final Saturday as Columbia fell at Kansas, 66-59, before an Allen Fieldhouse crowd of 11,701.

Horrid shooting and a disadvantage in the paint doomed the Lions in a defensive struggle they slowly but steadily lost control over in the second and third quarters, requiring a comeback effort that came up short.

Columbia (28-6, 12-2 Ivy) only got closer than six points away from Kansas (25-11, 9-9 Big 12) in the fourth quarter once – on a three by Abbey Hsu that briefly slimmed their lead to 64-59 with 12 seconds left. Two free throws by senior guard Holly Kersgieter then put the game away.

The Lions had led 16-15 after one quarter but couldn’t muster the shooting touch needed to offset Kansas’ edge inside.

The Jayhawks outscored Columbia 24-10 in points in the paint. The Lions shot just 9-for-34 (26.5%) from three-point range. Hsu registered 19 points on 6-for-20 shooting from the field, while sophomore guard Kitty Henderson added three triples to finish with nine points, 10 rebounds and three assists.

Despite picking up a third foul with 5:26 left in the second quarter, Kaitlyn Davis notched 13 points – 11 in the second half – on 5-for-13 (38.5%) shooting from the field in 30 minutes.

Senior guard Zakiyah Franklin led Kansas with 19 points, including a 9-for-9 showing from the free-throw line.

Hsu and Davis were named to the WNIT All-Tournament Team.

Columbia coach Megan Griffith attributed the team’s shooting struggles to WNIT run fatigue.

After getting snubbed by the NCAA Tournament selection committee, the Lions had become the first Ivy ever to advance to a WNIT Fab 4 by defeating Harvard, a season after the Lions made a WNIT Great 8 appearance. Columbia hadn’t won any postseason games since joining Division I in 1986 prior to last season’s WNIT run.

“[T]he best is yet to come for this program,” Columbia coach Megan Griffith predicted after the defeat.


2 thoughts on “Columbia women fall short at Kansas in WNIT title game”

  1. Congratulations to the Lions for an outstanding season and a great run through the post-season. They made history for themselves, the program, and the Ivy League.

  2. The Lions showed in the postseason that they should have received an NCAA bid, Frankly, so did the Jayhawks. Griffith is losing several great players but it’s all about “the program” now. She will reload and have a real shot at an Ivy title next year, especially since the tournament will be held at the Lions’ home court.
    Should be quite a battle next season.
    What a tremendous year for womens’ basketball. My grandneice, Caitlyn Clark (I wish), has given us heart-stopping performances all year. Her shooting and playmaking has captured the interest of the nation, as demonstrated by the TV ratings. Allen Fieldhouse was sold out for the WNIT final, a tribute as much to the Lions as to the Jayhawks.

Comments are closed.