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Megan Griffith Discusses Columbia Lions' Hot Start Following Lost Season

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Columbia Daily Spectator

It's one thing to follow up your previously successful regular season a handful of months after it happened but nearly two years later? That's an entirely different ball game. Head coach Megan Griffith had just led the Columbia Lions women's basketball team to their first-ever Ivy League Tournament appearance before it was canceled because of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020.

As other conferences planned and resumed action in the fall, Griffith’s Lions and their Ivy League counterparts remained on the sidelines. While battling the impatience and uncertainty that defined the last 18 months for her team, Coach Griffith relied on the one trait that mattered most: perspective.

"Going back to the beginning [when the 2020 Ivy League tournament got canceled], we quickly learned anything can change," Griffith said. "It was hard to accept that we couldn't assume what was going to happen, but there's something about this team where we're so focused yet having a lot of fun."

The balance between fun and focus is front and center for the Lions so far this season. For the first time in school history, they're 5-0 and have racked up impressive wins over the likes of Clemson, Davidson, and Georgetown. ONE37pm spoke with Coach Griffith about this year's Lions and how the nearly two-year layoff impacted every team, especially in their conference. 

ONE37pm: Following you and your team's return to the court, have you experienced that moment of relief that you're back in action?

Griffith: When we had our exhibition before the season, I had that feeling [laughs]. But now, I'm settled in and focused on being the best coach I can be for my team every single day because that's what it's all about. Our collective preparation and calmness will be the byproduct of our success.

ONE37pm: Upon looking at your roster, you have this quartet of guards that you can rely on and are versatile. How does it feel having that?

Griffith: It's incredible and makes everything easier. As someone who watched this team, you know we always relied on one or two players to be our go-to players. But now, we have four options to choose from (Abbey Hsu, Kitty Henderson, Mikayla Markham, and Jaiyda Patrick), and they can contribute every night while also enabling our other players to do what they do best.

ONE37pm: Given what has happened to the Ivy League over the past year and a half, is there a common understanding that every team is on level zero?

Griffith: There is an understanding of that but honestly, who cares? We've all experienced the same kinds of change and readjusted the best ways we could. So at this point, it's a matter of managing what you have. I'm proud of what we have, and the entire league should understand we have unfinished business, so we're coming after them.

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