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NEW YORK, NY(SMI-SPORTS-UNIVERSITY-MARCH-04-06, 2023)-The Columbia women's basketball team defeated Cornell 69-64, during a thrilling ending in overtime, and historic regular season finale to claim its first Ivy league title in 37-year program history at Levien Gymnasium, Columbia University.
With the victory, The Lions closed-out the season with 22-4, overall & 11-2 Ivy to share the Ivy League conference title with Princeton who also finished in first place with 21-5, record and 12-2 in Ivy League play.

The top four teams in the Ivy League standings: Princeton, Columbia, Harvard and Penn advanced to the 2023 Ivy League women's championship to be played next weekend at Princeton University. The Tigers are the 1-seed in the tournament after it was decided this morning (Sunday March 05 ,) through the NCAA NET Rankings and will face #4 Penn in the semifinal rounds while #2-seed Columbia will take on #3 Harvard with both games to be played next Friday March 10, and the final championship game on Saturday March 11, 2023, at 5:00PM ET.

Prior to the start of the game, Columbia honored its seven seniors with a special ceremony : Madison Hardy, Kaitlyn Davis, Jaida Patrick, Hannah Pratt, Carly Rivera, Sienna Durr, & Lilian Kennedy for their contributions to the Columbia women's basketball athletic program during the last four years.


Photo:Carly Rivera, Lilian Kennedy,Sienna Durr,Hannah Pratt,Madison Hardy,Jaida Patrick,Kaitlyn Davis

The much anticipated historic celebration for Columbia with a sold-out crowd  took a different turn in today's season finale, when Cornell who came to Levien Gym without a chance for postseason play tried to play the spoiler and sabotage the lions first Ivy league title in 37-year program history by leading almost the entire (29 Minutes) of the first three quarters combined.

With Cornell leading 39-27, and 6:50' minute remaining in the third quarter, Columbia re-grouped and overcame the score with a 17-4, run during a span of 5:30' minute for its firs lead of the game since the start of the contest.

Carly Rivera led the attack with a triple and guard Paige Lauder scored 8-points consecutive points with a layup, 3-FTs and a triple to cut the deficit 43-42, in favor of the Reds with 1:29 remaining in the third frame. Then Sienna Durr scored on a fast break from inside the paint to put the Lions in front for the first time in the game 44-43, and Kitty Henderson added couple Free throws with time running out to closed out the third frame 46-45, in favor of Columbia.

In the fourth quarter, both teams traded baskets back-and-forth resulting in
11-lead changes and headed into overtime period after the game ended in  61-61,  tied in game regulation time.

The Lions outscored Cornell 8-3, in the overtime period with Abbey Hsu leading the attack with a jumper from inside the paint, and Jaida Patrick netting 5-points with 3fts and a layup to sealed the win and secure the Ivy League title for Columbia.

Columbia had by 4-players in double-figure with Abbey Hsu leading the pack with 16 points, Jaida Patrick (15), Kitty Henderson(11) and Kaitlyn Davis contributing with 10 points in the historic victory.


Photo:Megan Griffith(Head Coach), Jaida Patrick & Lilian Kennedy

After all the wild celebration and photo-shoot on the court, Women Starlight Illustrated attended the post-game conference and asked couple questions to head coach Megan Griffith prior to the 2023 Ivy League women's basketball tournament to take place next weekend at Princeton University.

Women Starlight: Congratulation on the historic victory and winning the first Ivy League Women's Basketball title for the Columbia athletic program. Columbia fell behind from the start and almost most for the first three period of the game, and of course the Lions eventually overcame the score and finished victorious in overtime. What have you learned from this game and how do you feel with your accomplishment as an alumna, former player of Columbia (Women's Basketball team) and now as head coach winning the first Ivy league title for Columbia in program history ?

Megan Griffith: For one, nothing is going to be giving to you and I tried to tell our players all the time. Life is just never that easy and if it's that easy, it's coming for you later. Everything has to be earned and I really felt like Today,  Cornell came out with a mission and they could it totally ruined our season. They played so well and give them huge props to them and Dayna (Cornell's Head Coach Dayna Smith), she coached a great game and she is somebody I look-up in this league. I'm happy I've had to work for it  because we have to work  for this next weekend in March Madness. This team like the specific of this team, our average win margin is extremely high, it's in the teens, and it's something we feel comfortable with and this is what March is about "March Madness".

In terms how I feel about the program and the community, the experience at Columbia it's really hard to put it into couple words for me. It's so close to home and it's home for me.I've been really embraced by the people here, the administration, the players and the other athletes people in campus.I just have a ton of gratitude for all. 

Women Starlight: With the upcoming postseason competition (2023 Ivy League Women's Basketball championship)  next weekend at Princeton University. How is your team feeling physically and psychologically  for the tournament ?

Megan Griffith: They are ready.They knew like they knew today.I knew we will win Today but I did not know that It will be that interesting but it was. I have a group of people that I trust  and I love when you have those two things  I think you can accomplish great things. I though we needed today to mature and able to execute in the stretch. We needed to be able to comeback after a team put us on our heels and that was great I think for us.

Women Starlight:  Thank You Coach and Good Luck in the Tournament.

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