Postgame press conference with @CUCoachG, @kittyhendo4 & Kaitlyn Davis.#RoarLionRoar
FULL PRESS CONFERENCE:https://t.co/2Ap06jR5Ic pic.twitter.com/Bs6nCMEkCE
— Columbia Women’s Basketball (@CULionsWBB) March 27, 2023
Columbia women’s basketball didn’t miss its unexpected shot at revenge at Levien Gym Sunday.
A dynamite third quarter proved just explosive enough for Columbia to hang on in a 77-71 win over Harvard, advancing to the Ivy League’s first ever WNIT Fab 4. Columbia’s triumph ended the Crimson’s season 16 days after their Ivy League Tournament of Columbia questionably compelled the NCAA selection committee to exclude the Lions from the NCAA Tournament.
“That loss really hurt us, and we wanted to kill them this game,” sophomore guard Kitty Henderson told ESPN3 after the game. “So we came out and showed them who should have won every single game against them.”
Columbia will face the winner of Monday’s matchup between Bowling Green and Florida.
Driving the Lions’ third win in four games against Harvard was a 34-point third-quarter that allowed them to build a 63-43 lead 40 seconds into the final frame after a first half that proved more of a defensive struggle than expected between the Ivy League’s top two offenses.
But Harvard mounted a furious comeback, delivering a 28-point fourth quarter that featured 11 points from standout sophomore guard Harmoni Turner and 3-for-7 team three-point shooting (versus Columbia’s 0-for-6 showing from three).
Harvard got as close as a 68-66 deficit with 3:27 to play off a three by senior guard McKenzie Forbes before Columbia stood tall, as Henderson responded with a layup and the Lions clamped down defensively, allowing just two more baskets the rest of the way.
Columbia had led 27-23 at halftime despite missing shots inside.
“I think honestly coming out of halftime, we were just like, make layups, guys,” Columbia coach Megan Griffith told ESPn3 postgame.
Senior guard/forward Kaitlyn Davis stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, leading her team in all three categories. Henderson posted 15 points, five assists and nine rebounds, including five offensive boards.
Harvard was led by Turner, who registered 23 points, seven assists and four boards, and sophomore guard Elena Rodriguez, who kept Harvard in the game early and finished with a 7-for-8 field-goal shooting clip and 15 points along with seven turnovers.
“When you have a kid like No. 14 [Turner] who can just get to the basket in about four seconds, it makes it difficult,” Griffith said. “But I was proud of our players for making sure we could weather that storm, and here we are going into the final four here.”