Basketball season came to an end for conference women's teams with the 67-54 loss by the Manhattan women's team in its Women's Basketball Invitational's semifinal-round game against Minnesota late Friday night.
The inclination is to say the season is "finally" over, but that would indicate relief over the conclusion of a lengthy season and the opposite is the case.
Your Hoopscribe always proclaims the beginning of college basketball, each season, as the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. So, it stands to reason that the end ... and the Manhattan women were the last conference team still active in national post-season play ... is the worst time of the year.
Thank goodness, though, for the "Hot Stove Season" (if you'll excuse a baseball reference) of reviews, previews, recruiting news and a myriad of other off-season happenings throughout the league.
And, we almost forgot ... thank goodness, too, for one more men's team still active.
That would be the Fairfield men, who host Mercer in the semifinals of the CollegeInsider.com (CIT) event at its on-campus Alumni Hall tonight.
Some details from the WBI contest ...
Manhattan finishes 18-16 overall, after getting to the semifinals of the WBI for the second straight year.
For a good portion of the game, it looked like the Jaspers would even advance. They were within two, 48-46, with 11:09 remaining. But, then, the Golden Gophers went on a 15-3 scoring run to run out to a 63-49 edge with just over five minutes left and Manhattan never got close again.
"It was a great postseason run," said coach John Olenowski, via a game report from the Manhattan's sports information office. "We played well in defeat tonight. We were only down two at halftime and played hard the entire way. I'm very proud of our effort."
Manhattan got strong play from its outgoing seniors. Forward Lindsey Loutsenhizer had 18 points and six rebounds, guard Alyssa Herrington had 14 points, five rebounds and seven assists and Schyenne Halfkenny had seven points and six rebounds.
Those three combined for 39 of the team's 54 points.
Loutsenhizer finishes her career as Manhattan's all-time leader in games played (127), fifth in program history in scoring (1,421 points), sixth in rebounding (795) and fifth in made three-pointers (144).
Herrington, who battled knee injuries throughout her career and was reduced to a little-used bench player earlier this season, got pushed into the starting point-guard role in late January due to injuries and ineffectiveness of other players at the position. There, she thrived and finishes third on the school's all-time list for three-pointers made (189).
And, Halfkenny, a 5-11 swingperson who was little more than a role player in the past (just 14.9 minutes per game as a junior), was arguably the conference's most-improved player from her junior to senior seasons.
As a senior, she became the team's most-used player (32.5 minutes per game) and finished second on the team in scoring with 11.1 points per game and in rebounds, 4.7.
It most certainly will be one of the conference's most-difficult senior groups to replace.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We will be taking a team-by-team look at each men's and women's program beginning next week.
So, keep reading ... early and often.