PARKLAND, FL– Columbia first-year guard Abbey Hsu dazzled her way to a career-high 28 points and nearly led the Lions to their first victory over Penn in nine years. Despite her efforts, the Quakers survived a half-court heave to prevail in overtime, 86-84, Friday night in Ivy League action at The Palestra.
Columbia (11-7, 2-3 Ivy) rallied from five points down with less than 1:20 remaining in regulation to force overtime. First year Carly Rivera tied the game after being freed up off a screen by classmate Kaitlyn Davis in the final 30 seconds.
The Lions took the first lead of the extra period but Penn answered and led by five with less than 30 seconds to go. Rivera hit a triple with 4.8 on the clock that cut the margin to a single point. After Penn’s (12-5, 2-2 Ivy) Kayla Padilla hit 1-of-2 at the line, Rivera nearly won the game at the buzzer but shot from just beyond half court rimmed out.
“I’m proud of the team but there comes a point in the season where you have to make adjustments that separate you,” head coach Megan Griffith said. “We’re not quite there yet. I think we’re getting closer and I think these close games really teach us a lot about what we need to do, how we manage a game, who we can lean on and who can show up for us … If we can keep taking small steps every day to getting all of us on the same page I think we’re going to be just fine.”
Despite the result, Abbey Hsu stole the show. The rookie out of Parkland, Florida hit 11-of-17 from the floor and was a remarkable 6-of-9 from deep. After Columbia trailed by as many as 10 late in the first half, Hsu came out and scored 11 third-quarter points. Her third trey of the period gave Columbia its first lead since the first quarter, 50-48.
“I just had that attack mindset and had my teammates and my coaches in my ear just telling me to continue to attack,” said Hsu, who also recorded eight rebounds and three blocks on the night. “It gave me a lot of confidence.”
The back-and-forth affair hit its peak in the fourth quarter. Hsu mesmerized the Quaker defense with her sixth triple of the night just 30 seconds in before the two sides went shot-for-shot. Each team answered the call to electrify the crowd at The Palestra. Sienna Durr connected on three straight attempts from the perimeter, her last of which gave the Lions a 68-67 lead with 4:17 remaining.
Penn used a 6-0 run to take a five-point lead. Another Columbia rookie, Kaitlyn Davis, showed off her range by hitting a shot that cut the margin to two with just over a minute remaining. After the Lions stopped Penn with a charge drawn by Lilian Kennedy, Davis set a screen for first-year Carly Rivera that gave her a wide-open lane to the bucket, tying the game at 75 with 28 seconds left.
Columbia struck first on a second-chance layup from Kennedy to go on top 77-75 in overtime. However, Penn answered with the next seven points before Rivera ended the run. The first-year out of Arlington, Virginia wound up with seven points in the extra session, including a triple with 4.8 seconds left that brought the Lions within one.
Davis inbounded the ball to Rivera with Columbia needing to go the length of the court on the final play of the game. Rivera dribbled to her right and made it just beyond half court before getting off a good look. Her shot was right on line but had just too much on it, bouncing off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Durr finished the night with her second double-double in as many games, scoring 16 points on 4-of-10 from deep to go with a career-high 15 rebounds. Davis rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 points, while Rivera scored seven of her nine in overtime and dished out a career-high six assists.
For Penn, Eleah Parker matched Hsu with 28 points to go with 13 rebounds and three blocks. Kayla Padilla sored 22 while Phoebe Sterba came in with a dozen.
The game’s opening 10 minutes featured seven lead changes. The Lions led 15-14 after a period but Penn slowed the game down in the second and took advantage. Hsu got wide open for a layup that chipped a 10-point deficit to eight at the half.
The Lions make the short trip up to Princeton tonight in preparation for Saturday’s game against the Tigers (16-1, 4-0 Ivy). Tip from Jadwin Gymnasium is scheduled for 5 p.m.
For the latest on the Columbia women’s basketball program, follow @CULionsWBB on Twitter and Instagram, on Facebook at Facebook.com/ColumbiaWBB, on the web at GoColumbiaLions.com.