South Carolina

Vanderbilt Comes Back to Spoil Women’s Basketball’s Home Opener, 74-63

By: Matt Sugam, Contributed by GoColumbiaLions.com

NEW YORK – After a historic 2021-22 season that ended with a trip to the Ivy League tournament title game and the WNIT Quarterfinals, coach Meghan Griffith felt her veteran team would be resting on their laurels from last March.

Kaitlyn Davis had a career-high 24 points while adding nine rebounds in the process Hannah Pratt added 15 points and six rebounds as Columbia fell to SEC opponent Vanderbilt, 74-63, on Schiller Court at Levien High School.

“Thanks, Vanderbilt, for waking us up. So did Delaware and we just won that game,” Griffith said in her post-game press conference. “This team plays and thinks like they are the team they were in March last year. We’re not that team yet. We have to work to get back to that level.”

After some back and forth in the third quarter, the Lions trailed the Commodores 58-54 and went into the final verse. Davis injured his left hand early in the fourth quarter, 60-54 down, and returned 67-54 down with 5:00 in the game, the culmination of a 14-0 run by Vanderbilt.

“Fourth quarter, we were just shocked,” Griffith said.

Davis would cut the lead to 67-60 at 3:13 to take two free throws. Unfortunately, that was the closest the Lions would get.

Columbia had a 15-4 lead, leading to Vanderbilt head coach Shea Ralph calling for time. Aided by 11 points in Davis’ opening quarter, the Lions shot 8 of 14 and were 22-14 en route to second.

Jaida Patrick rolled her left ankle and hobbled off the field in the second quarter but returned before halftime. Vanderbilt (3:0) used this time to defend himself and took the lead with 37:36. Patrick served it up Nicole Stephens for the triple buzzer beat just before halftime to give Columbia (2-1) a 39-37 lead at the break.

The Lions went down as much as eight points in the third quarter, thanks in part to nine more points from Davis. Her serve at the 5:58 mark had Columbia in the lead 47-39.

Vanderbilt scored the next nine points to reclaim the lead, then rolled off a separate 16-0 run that decided the outcome. Columbia went scoreless through the final 2:12 of the third quarter and opening 5:43 of the fourth quarter.

“We played great in the first five minutes of the game but lost our composure defensively [in the second half].

Columbia travels to South Orange on Thursday to face Seton Hall in a repeat of last year’s WNIT Quarterfinals. Kick-off at Walsh High School 7 p.m. at Walsh High School. Tickets can be bought here.

Follow @CULionsWBB for the latest on Columbia women’s basketball TwitterInstagram and Facebook or on the web at GoColumbiaLions.com.

Matt Sugam’s 23 SPS has been covering esports in the NYC metro area for over a decade. He has covered collegiate and professional sports as an associate for the Associated Press for the past eight years and has contributed to The New York Times, USA Today Network, NJ.com and SNY.tv. He reported on Lions Athletics for gocolumbialions.com while pursuing an MS in Strategic Communications from the Columbia School of Professional Studies. Keep following him Twitter @MattSugam or visit his website at www.mattsugam.com

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