There is no way to paint a smiley face on last week's 71-40 Winthrop loss to Washington State in the first round of the NCAA Tourna-ment. But we hope players, coaches and fans can reflect on a solid season and the fact that getting an invitation to the Big Dance still is something special.
It is safe to say that no one is more disappointed than the players in their performance Thursday night. A rousing first half unfortunately set the stage for an offensive disaster in the second half. While the Cougars couldn't miss, the Eagles couldn't find the basket.
We know the team can't take much consolation -- for now, at least -- in the fact that the final score did not reflect the Eagles' true talents or the effort they put into an often grueling 33 games during the season. At some point, though, they need to look back and take pride in Winthrop's fourth straight 20-win season; its fourth straight Big South tournament championship; a tie for the Big South regular-season title, the fourth straight first-place finish; and, of course, its fourth straight trip to the NCAA tournament.
Congratulations to the players, Coach Randy Peele and his staff and the fans who cheered the team on through thick and thin. Those fans, we're sure, will be back next year, and so will the Eagles.