The chances of winning back-to-back Southland Conference Tournaments was cut short for the women’s basketball team Thursday.
Following the cancellation of the Southland Conference Tournament, the NCAA Tournament announced that it would no longer take place.
“It breaks my heart,” head coach Julie Goodenough said. “I don’t know when I’m going to see my players again. I was just heartbroken. I was in the arena when they canceled the tournament.”
Goodenough said that following the announcement, the team met in the hotel before leaving back to Abilene. She best described it as a “room full of emotion” in Katy.
“We had people in tears,” Goodenough said. “It was an abrupt end to what was looking like another special run in the postseason.”
Goodenough tried to keep the team’s spirits up after the team was invited to the WNIT. However, shortly after, that tournament would also be canceled.
“I just can’t even fathom the idea that I can’t even turn on the television to watch conference tournament games,” Goodenough said. “It’s so bizarre.”
Senior guard Breanna Wright said she’s still trying to comprehend that the season is officially over.
“It hasn’t hit yet,” Wright said. “It was tough saying goodbye to my teammates on the bus and not knowing when we’re going to see each other again. Right now, I’m still trying to process things.”
Wright, the Southland Player of the Year, also said that while some players are doing better than others, they are all still trying to come to terms that the season is over.
“I think we’re really hurt over the fact we played our last game together, and we didn’t even know it would be the last time we stepped on the court,” Wright said.
To make matters more challenging for teams and coaches, the NCAA announced that no on or off-campus recruiting will be permitted until April 15.
“This is such a critical time for us and home visits,” Goodenough said. “When your season ends, you usually spend the rest of March doing visits, so we won’t be doing that. We have a junior college player we would really like to sign, and she wants to visit campus, but we’re not able to do that.”
The Wildcats finish the season with a 24-5 record, the most overall wins in the Southland Conference. With five seniors on the team, ACU will have a far different roster in November.
“We were prepared to win the tournament, and we didn’t even get a chance to play a game in it,” Goodenough said. “It’s tough news to handle for anybody, but for 18 to 22-year-olds this is tough.”