Well, the NU women's basketball season came to a disappointing end today, with a 72-70 loss to Alabama at home in the second round of the NIT.
The game was tight throughout and featured a thrilling, frantic final minute that unfortunately we came out on the wrong end of. After Beth Marshall hit a jumper to tie the game at 70-70 with 23.8 seconds left, Alabama's Kaneisha Horn missed a shot, got her own offensive board, and had her second layup blocked by Amy Jaeschke, but Tierney Jenkins made a put-back for what would prove to be the winning score. On the final possession, NU had a chance to tie it back up and send the game to OT, but Meshia Reed couldn't get a last-second layup to fall in.
Good effort by the Wildcats, who shot a stellar 52.2% from the field, including 5 for 10 behind the arc, but sloppiness with the basketball led to 24 turnovers. Alabama, to its credit, came up with 19 steals.
Jaeschke finished her final college game with 19 points and 6 rebounds, while fellow seniors Marshall (20 points) and Reed (9 points, 7 rebounds) also put in great performances. For Alabama, Jenkins had a stellar game with 18 points and 12 boards, and Ericka Russell chipped in 16 points.
I followed the game from afar on NUsports.com's Gametracker and Twitter feed, but if you were at Welsh-Ryan Arena, let us know what you thought of the game.
NU finishes at 19-14, the most wins the program has posted in a season since 1995-96, while Alabama (18-14) moves on to meet Toledo in the Round of 16.
We'll look back at the Wildcats' season later this week, but for now, hats off to our seniors for a great final two years. The season didn't end up in the promised land of the NCAA tournament, but head coach Joe McKeown's turnaround project has some solid momentum and a foundation for success. Best of luck to Jaeschke, Marshall and Reed in their future endeavors.