A Successful Debut: Robinson-Griggs Leads Vassar to the Brink of an NCAA Tourney Bid

While their last game surely stings right now, first-year coach Lucia Robinson-Griggs and her Vassar College women’s basketball team will  soon look back at their season with great pride and a full sense of achievement.

Lucia Robinson-Griggs has completed her first season as head coach of the Vassar College women’s basketball

Robinson-Griggs took her No. 2-seeded Lady Brewers to the Liberty League championship game where they fell to No. 1-seeded Ithaca, 73-71, with the hosts scoring the winning hoop with just 0.3 seconds left on the clock.

Ithaca (22-5) received the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament while Vassar finished its season with a 19-8 record.

“I think it was a great, competitive season,” said Robinson-Griggs, daughter of Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson and Linda Alioto-Robinson. “We fell short of where we wanted to be, but we had some really great moments. It was the first time we swept a Senior Weekend (wins over Union and William Smith College on Senior Day) in six years.”

Robinson-Griggs’ contingent did well with the league’s post-season awards. One of her athletes, senior Sophie Nick, was selected the Liberty League Player of the Year.

“Sophie also holds the NCAA record for shooting percentage (97.7 percent), noted Robinson-Griggs.

 Another Vassar player, senior Jackie Cenan, was selected All-League Second Team.

Robinson-Griggs has begun looking ahead to next season.

“I’m excited to get on the road and recruit and continue to build up the program and really put us on the national stage,” said Robinson, who intends to recruit high school players in the greater Boston area.

She said an immediate goal at Vassar is winning the league championship. “I think there are so many great things to build on. The team is so driven and our league is so competitive – I know the players want to win a league championship and add more years to those banners in our gymnasium. There’s no doubt in mind that this is a place where it’s possible and we’ll get there. I’m excited for the future.”

Robinson-Griggs, who excelled in basketball, softball, and soccer at Pope John High School and later played college basketball at Bentley, was previously an associate head coach at MIT. She has also played women’s professional football and coached high school football.

Leo Robinson coached his daughter in the Pope John basketball program.

“It was a great opportunity and she was a fundamentally sound player,” said Robinson. “I’m not surprised how successful she has been as a basketball coach. She has all the ingredients to be a great basketball coach.”

Former Chelsea High director of athletics Frank DePatto saw Lucia play high school basketball for Pope John on numerous occasions.

“Lucia was a tremendous player and an especially accurate free throw shooter – I think she shot 90 percent from the line,” said DePatto. “I was always impressed by the knowledge Lucia had of the game of basketball. I think it’s great that she took a coaching opportunity out of state. She is an up and coming star in the coaching profession and I’m sure we’re going to be hearing a lot about her as she continues in her career.”

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