November 11, 2023
Columbia’s Abbey Hsu sets Ivy League career 3-pointers record
Hsu has 289 and counting with most of her senior season left to play
Hsu hit three 3-pointers, including two in the final quarter of a tight game against Seton Hall, to break the Ivy League career record for made 3-pointers. In 95 games wearing Columbia blue, the 5’11 guard now has 289 triples, two more than Harvard alumna Katie Benzan and well clear of everyone else who came before her.
“I haven’t been thinking about [the record] too much,” Hsu told ESPN+’s Lance Medow postgame. “I knew it would probably come this game, that’s true. But I just stuck to the game plan … and it went in the hoop, so it felt good.”
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Hsu tied Benzan’s mark just over three minutes into the game, catching the ball in the right corner and jab stepping to create space for her shot. She remained tied with Benzan for the next two-plus quarters as she scored only inside the arc.
But, with just under seven minutes left in the game, point guard Kitty Henderson found Hsu in transition in front of her own bench. As she rose for her shot, so did the bench. And on the court, Henderson and guard Cecelia Collins threw their hands in the air as Hsu’s landmark 288th 3-pointer swished through the net.
“I love playing with Ab because I’m always looking to get her open,” Henderson told reporters at Ivy League media day in October. “I mean, our team knows how we want to play and Ab, she shoots that ball very well.”
Hsu’s shot extended the Columbia lead to five points, prompting Seton Hall to call timeout. But the Pirates couldn’t stop Hsu from nailing her 289th career 3-pointer from a similar spot a little over two minutes later, pushing the lead to six and prompting another timeout. The Lions maintained their advantage the rest of the way, getting their first win of the season 72-61.
After the game, when Hsu was asked how it felt to have the record, she told reporters with a laugh, “I don’t really feel any different. But it is cool.”
Hsu, a WBCA All-America Honorable Mention last season, had broken Columbia’s career 3-point record as a sophomore and had been nearing the Ivy League record for a while. It felt inevitable, to the point that she was asked about it even in the preseason, challenging her efforts not to think about it.
Henderson said in the preseason that she planned to help Hsu get the record “as early as possible.” Though Hsu hit only one 3-pointer in a season-opening loss at Stony Brook, she got over the hump in front of Friday’s home crowd.
Hsu, a 37.9% career 3-point shooter, now holds five 3-point records at Columbia and in the Ivy League:
- Columbia single-game record (nine, set in December 2022)
- Columbia and Ivy League single-season records (112, set in 2022-23)
- Columbia and Ivy career records (289)
The only major 3-point record she’s missing is the Ivy League single-game record of 10, which was set by Princeton’s Sandi Bittler in 1990. Hsu is also chasing Columbia’s career scoring record for men’s and women’s basketball (1,973 points) and could break it by the end of the season.
As Hsu nears that scoring record, she is likely to pad her new Ivy League 3-point record considerably. In her career, she is averaging 3.04 3-pointers per game, and if she maintains that pace, she’ll have 365 triples at the end of the regular season, likely with a few more games to play.
It’s actually conservative to assume Hsu will stick to her career average, though, because those around her say she’s playing at an even higher level now. Against Stony Brook, she had 23 points and 12 rebounds despite shooting 1-for-13 from 3-point range. And against Seton Hall, she poured in 21 points on 6-for-12 shooting, including 3-for-6 from deep, and chipped in seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
“A player like her that’s such an amazing, consistent 3-point threat, I want her to shoot as many shots as she can take,” Columbia head coach Megan Griffith told reporters on Thursday. “I don’t care if she makes or misses all of them. To me, the gravitational pull that she has on the basketball court is like nothing I’ve seen in a long time. …
“If you look at her statistics, she has improved literally in every facet of the game, and she’s now playing at a higher, more intense level. She is playing like a professional basketball player.”
Griffith added after Friday’s game, “She’s literally doing everything for us right now.” That even included taking the jump ball, as Columbia started a relatively small, four-guard lineup.
Some of Hsu’s improvement stems from her time playing for Team USA at the FIBA AmeriCup this summer. Though she didn’t see the court as much as she does at Columbia, the experience was invaluable. She learned that she belonged on that stage, with American college players she considered “pretty much famous,” and played at a faster pace against senior national teams from other countries. She gained confidence and found more ways to affect the game besides scoring or even playing, such as giving a teammate a pep talk.
Impacting the game beyond scoring has been a theme for Hsu this season, both in the way she stuffs the stat sheet and in the way she leads. After the loss to Stony Brook, for example, Griffith said Hsu and Henderson challenged their teammates to step up, and several of them did against Seton Hall. Columbia has six freshmen and two transfers this year after graduating seven seniors, so Hsu has a major leadership role and is a steadying presence as the team gels.
“With the absence of all of her buddies, the … seven kids that just graduated … she has a bunch of people literally looking up to her saying, ‘What are we doing? We go as you go,’” Griffith said on Friday. “… The maturity for her to be able to handle that in a year has been really special. But there’s space for her now, and she’s taking the space.”
Or, as Henderson put it on Nov. 1: “She really did come back like a badass. … She just comes with a new kind of edge. And she’s been a really, really good leader this year already — holding everyone accountable, being a lot tougher on people — and I think that comes from that high level of basketball.”
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Columbia has high expectations this year despite losing so many players to graduation, and much of that is because of Hsu. Every opponent knows how good the three-time All-Ivy League honoree and preseason Naismith Trophy watch list nominee is, yet she continues to rain 3-pointers at a record clip. The only question left after Friday is how far out of reach that record gets before her college career ends.
“I’m just enjoying every day of this season with her,” Griffith said, “because … you don’t get to coach those [kind of] kids every year. You get them one in every four years, maybe one in every 10 years.”
Written by Jenn Hatfield
Jenn Hatfield has been a contributor to The Next since December 2018 and is currently the site's managing editor, Washington Mystics beat reporter and Ivy League beat reporter. Her work has also appeared at FiveThirtyEight, Her Hoop Stats, FanSided, Power Plays and Princeton Alumni Weekly.