Hannah Pratt continues chasing her dreams with transfer to Tulane women’s basketball program
Hannah Pratt played a role in leading Columbia women’s basketball to yet another historic season this year, and she’ll now be looking to achieve similar success with Tulane as a recent Green Wave transfer.
She joins the same school as her brother Michael Pratt, who has helped the Green Wave football program reach new heights with a New Year’s Six bowl game victory over USC at the beginning of the year.
With the help of Hannah Pratt, Columbia reached this year’s WNIT Championship Game, something no Ivy League school has ever done. The Lions broken their own mark for the longest an Ivy team lasted in the WNIT during the previous season.
“This last season was absolutely insane,” Pratt said. “We definitely struggled with some hardship. We lost in the semifinals of our conference tournament, which we were hoping to win the whole thing. But, you know, that’s basketball. Sometimes you win games, sometimes you lose games… It was cool to have such a successful season and come back and do even better. Yes, we didn’t make it to the NCAA Tournament, which was our goal, but everything happens for a reason and in basketball, you win games, you lose games
“It was really a cool experience to beat a lot of Power Five teams. We played kind of poorly in the championship, which was really sad because we could have beaten that team, but it was great that we were able to turn things around and make something out of disappointment.”
For Pratt, heading to Tulane was a no-brainer for a multitude of reasons, ranging from everything from the search for a new challenge to the unique culture to a sense of home in a city that could hardly be more different than her hometown of Boca Raton, Florida.
Despite the vast differences, Pratt has taken to New Orleans in her first weeks here.
“One of the reasons that I came here is that I’m a big foodie. One of the things I found in New York City is that basketball season is so rigorous,” Pratt said. “We miss pretty much all breaks and stuff like that, so, you’ve got to find something fun to do to get away and I love to eat so moving to a city with food was really important. I know that sounds funny to say.”
Of course, the primary draw to Tulane comes down to the obvious – playing basketball with meaningful minutes and having the chance to make an impact.
“I’ve been saying this – I just want to hoop. Tulane ended up being the perfect fit for that because the coaches want me to play and want me to get better here,” Pratt said.
“I want to play some basketball and have some fun with it, so that was really important. And then school-wise, I wanted some online classes and they had the perfect sports studies program. Something in sports coaching and sports medicine. That stuff is really interesting to me and I wanted to do online classes so I could focus on basketball. Without a doubt, I was coming here”
Settling in at Tulane has been different in many aspects, but adjustment is something to which Pratt and her brother are no strangers. Michael was homeschooled until high school, while Hannah didn’t enter public school until she was a junior. It presented great challenges as a student and a basketball player.
“I’m not a big cryer, but I think I cried every day for like two weeks straight. After a few weeks, I got used to it, and by my senior year, it was great. I’m very thankful I went to school because the jump from homeschool to college would have been way too hard.”
“The number one thing that’s different is summer sessions. In the Ivy Leagues, we don’t have any summer sessions that are required so that’s different. In the summers in New York City, I had a job so I worked basically 9-5 from Monday through Friday. I worked at a lot of different places – my first year during the summer I worked for housing at Columbia and then during COVID I did a lot of work from home. Two summers ago I worked for a company called Everbridge and then this past summer, I was a server at a bar.”
One of the clear swing factors in her transfer decision was having her brother in town, even though she says the two don’t see each other often outside of making dinner plans together on occasion and crossing paths at the athletics facilities.
“It’s been nice because I really don’t know anybody here ahead of committing and coming out here, although my team is amazing, they’re great people,” Pratt said. “It was just nice to have somebody who felt like home because this place is such a different experience. I had conditioning yesterday and he was on the field with his buddies so he saw me and I got to give him a high-five and it’s been cool for sure.”
The siblings played every sport under the sun together with a high level of competitiveness that makes them now look back and laugh. Of course, they won’t be taking the same field or court at Tulane, but it’s something of a full circle moment all the same.
“We’ll mess around every once in a while but we don’t really play each other anymore,” Pratt said. “I don’t get to see him that much because both of us have been playing college sports so we haven’t been home around each other very much. But when we were younger it would always end up in tears when we were kids because we would end up fighting. But we played all kinds of sports together, whether it be football, baseball, basketball, whatever.”
One thing Michael hasn’t forgotten about those times in Florida as a young child, though, is his sister’s fade game, which she’s hoping stands out in her game at Tulane.
“I would say my most underrated quality as a player is my fade game. My brother (Michael Pratt) will tell you that all the time,” Pratt said. “He can’t guard me because I have a good spin fade that I used to get to a lot in high school. The fade game, you don’t use it as much in college, but I definitely want to get back to that because nobody can guard a spin fade.”
Moving forward as she prepares to take the court for a new college team for the first time in her career, Pratt is confident in what she brings to the table as a jack-of-all-trades player.
“I’m pretty versatile,” Pratt said. “I played in multiple spots at Columbia, I can shoot, I can handle the ball alright, I’ve got a good mid-range game. I think my defense is pretty decent – I’m not a do one thing type of player so I think that will be very helpful for the team.”
Her high points at Columbia included versatility in her most recent season. The 6-foot-1 forward averaged 9.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in 33 games. Pratt also shot 39.1 percent (50-128) from beyond the arc, good for second in the Ivy League in 2022-23.
Pratt is now taking things one day at a time in New Orleans, mostly focused on establishing herself and showing the coaching staff how much of an impact she can make in her final year of playing college basketball.
“My short-term goal is to just focus on basketball here at Tulane,” Pratt said. “I definitely want to help win us basketball games and play the best that we can.”
According to Pratt, she’s not a long-term person. In the here-and-now, she’s looking forward at some of the after-college dreams that Tulane can help her fulfill.
“I think it’s important to do the small things now to set me up for success in the long-term. Like I said, I worked a lot during the summers at Columbia but even prior to that and I might want to play overseas after this year. I’ve had some injuries, so I’m kind of playing that by ear. But I would enjoy going to Spain or a different country to continue playing basketball.”
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Crissy Froyd is a sports reporter of roughly nine years who graduated from LSU and has spent time at USA TODAY SMG, NBC Sports and the Fan Nation network on Sports Illustrated. She specializes in quarterback analysis and covers the SEC and college football across the state of Louisiana in addition to working with several college quarterbacks across the nation.