Shooting Star

Women’s basketball guard Abbey Hsu ’24 is set to break an all-time record.

Hsu Shot vs Yale 2024

She shoots, she scores! Hsu in winning form against Yale on January 15.



It’s a Tuesday afternoon inside Levien Gymnasium, and with a word from women’s basketball coach Megan Griffith ’07, the team plunges into its next drill. The players set up at one end of the court — shooters ring the three-point line and start firing at the basket while defenders try to block them. Still others scramble under the hoop, fighting to grab a ball and whip it back to the shooters. A total of four basketballs are flying around, motion in every direction.

Yet it doesn’t take long, in this scene of seeming chaos, to spot the serene, near-flawless shooting by guard Abbey Hsu ’24.

One, two, three in a row. A bounce off the rim. Five, six, seven — swish.

The 5-foot-11 Hsu is in fact one of the best shooters in the country. At presstime, she was ranked number 22 among current NCAA Division I players, with 1,879 career points. Her three-point prowess is even more impressive: She is one of only two active DI players with a career average of more than 3.0 made threes per game. (The other is perhaps the most famous player in the country, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark.)

Hsu portait


Within the Ivy League, Hsu ranks number 7 on the all-time women’s scoring list. She is number 2 in scoring in Columbia history — for both the women’s and men’s teams — and is likely to pass the current all-time record holder, Camille Zimmerman ’18, in February.

But ask Hsu (pronounced “shoe”) about these accomplishments and she shies away from the conversation: “I try not to focus on the individual accolades. I know it sounds like, ‘everyone says that’ — but to me it’s a distraction. I want to focus on who we need to beat next as a team, how to keep ourselves on track.

“I am extremely grateful,” she adds. “But I have a ‘the job’s not done’ type of mentality. When I hang up my Columbia jersey, then I’ll look back.”

The job, in this case, could be defined in one of several ways. The women’s basketball team has been rocketing upward for several years — in 2021–22 they notched the winningest record in program history, then topped that in 2022–23. Last year they also became Ivy League champions for the first time, a title shared with rival Princeton. This season, the Lions would love to wear the crown solo. Plus, after two consecutive years of advancing to the postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) — including a run to last year’s championship — the team is looking to earn its first trip to March Madness and the NCAA tournament.

Hsu has been a key part of this success. The Florida native had her choice of offers from more than 10 schools but was drawn to Columbia because she wanted a highly academic opportunity and felt “the most genuine connection” with the staff and players. For Columbia’s part, Griffith still recalls the first time she watched Hsu on the court, at a tournament after her sophomore year in high school: “Early in the game, she got the ball near half-court and pulled up for three at the top of the key … swish. I loved how she carried herself and how effortless it looked. She had ‘it.’”

Hsu also wanted to build a program rather than join an established one. Her freshman season, in 2019–20, was just Griffith’s fourth as coach. “When she was recruiting me, Coach G said, ‘We are going to win championships. It’s not there yet, but it’s going to get there — I promise that.’

“It’s been so surreal to be a part of this, to watch the blueprint unfold from Day One,” Hsu continues. “It’s those types of journeys where the people next to you, going through it with you, they become your family. We’ve been through a lot of hard stuff together.”

Hsu vs Cornell 2024

Hsu hustling against Cornell at a home game on January 13.


Indeed, Hsu’s first year coincided with the start of a triumphant new era; the team earned its first-ever trip to the Ivy League’s postseason tournament. Then Covid-19 arrived, leading to the cancellation of the tournament — and later, the 2020–21 season. Hsu took that year off from school altogether. Now a senior and co-captain, she credits Griffith for helping her become a better athlete as well as a leader: “From the start, she saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself,” Hsu says. “She knew I had a strong work ethic, which I’d prided myself on from a young age, but she saw that [quality was also what] could set me apart. And she gave me confidence to use my voice, especially with my peers.”

“Abbey has always been the example, even when she was a first-year. Now, she has the most experience of anyone on the team — in game especially,” Griffith says. “I’ve really seen her maternal instincts come out this year. She is extremely protective of her sisters and this program and would do anything for any of them and us. When your best player is your best leader, it is a dangerous combination.”

While Hsu is a guard at heart — “I’ve always wanted to shoot the ball; that’s what drew me to the game” — she says she’s focused this season on becoming more of a two-way player. “I wanted to defend in tight situations, defend the best players. Coach G has really challenged me, putting me on those match-ups and trusting me with those. It’s a work in progress, but I’ve made strides.”

Talking in early January, Hsu still had a lot of season to play. She says that so far, last year’s WNIT run rates as her Columbia highlight. The Lions fell to Kansas in a heartbreaker of a final, but she says being in that atmosphere in Kansas was very special: “That’s a historic gym — I think we played in front of 11,000 fans. That’s the type of thing you tell your kids about when they grow up.”

She pauses, then adds, “But I just know that this year we’ll make it to the NCAA tournament. I have that much confidence in our team. Every year it gets better and better.”