NEW YORK (WABC) -- Columbia women's basketball junior Abbey Hsu was named one of 10 semifinalists nationally for the 2023 Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year award.
Hsu has been gaining national recognition for her play. She leads the Lions in scoring, but rather than taking credit for personal accolades, she attributes that to the team, which she says is like a family.
"I want to win for them. I want to win for this community because it feels like a family the bond is there every day," she said.
But, the road to Columbia went through heartbreak.
Five years ago, Abbey was a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On Valentine's Day, she was in one of the buildings when the tragedy occurred.
"I was in a part of the school where you could hear the gunshots, but I wasn't directly in the building because it was a big school. I wouldn't say I don't try to think about it because that would be disrespectful to the ones we lost," Abbey said. "It doesn't feel real. You know when you hear about it on the news, it doesn't feel real, it feels like a movie, being someone who is a part of it doesn't feel real, even to this day. Because it's something that shouldn't be real, you know what I mean?"
Seventeen lives were lost.
Only two years removed from the Parkland tragedy. Abbey's freshman season at Columbia was cut short due to COVID.
Abbey and her family were impacted personally. Her father, Alex Hsu, an internist in Florida, died from COVID-19.
"I lose my father to COVID. Definitely something, another thing that doesn't feel real. I really looked up to my father a lot, it's where I got most of my humbling and hardworking attributes from," she said. "When you lose your rock, the stability of our family, it's tough."
Abbey finds support and strength from her teammates while playing with others on her mind and in her heart.
"This love, this community, this family, overpowers the sadness. I want to make my dad proud, I want to make my family proud, I want to make this team proud, I want to make everyone who lost their lives on February 14th, I want to, you know, you do it for everyone who can't anymore," she said.
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