NC State has not officially made any coach or athlete available to the media since the ACC and NCAA announced the cancellation of their postseason championships through the end of the spring semester. Matt Sekeres and Blake Price of TSN Vancouver 1040 did, however, manage to secrure an on-air interview with Wolfpack women's basketball star Aislinn Konig -- a native of nearby Surry, B.C. -- on Friday. Here is a link to the entire segment.
March is a time of extreme highs and lows for college basketball players, teams and fans.
The most exhilarating of victories are usually followed by the most heartbreaking of losses as the NCAA tournament field is narrowed down from 68 hopefuls to one deserving national champion.
So it's not something out of the ordinary that the NC State women's basketball team should experience both emotions in the span of just five days. The surprise is that the Wolfpack would come down from the high of their ACC tournament championship without having played another game.
Coach Wes Moore and his players were preparing for practice last Thursday when they were informed that their season was effectively over because of the NCAA's decision to cancel all its spring championship events because of the coronavirus crisis.
It's a decision that hit the players, especially seniors such as Aislinn Konig, hard.
"It kind of doesn't feel like it happened, just because of everything that's going on," Konig told TSN 1040 Vancover, referring to her MVP performance that led State to its first ACC tournament title in 29 years on March 8.
"But at the same time, the excitement around the program was building. (We were) definitely looking forward to what could have happened in this tournament. (We're) pretty upset about it not happening."
Although winning the ACC tournament was a huge accomplishment for a program that waited so long to cut down nets, it was only one goal the Wolfpack was pursuing. At 28-4, ranked among the nation's top 10, the players were even more focused on advancing past the NCAA's Sweet 16 -- the round in which it was eliminated in each of the past two years.
"Having the second chance to go past that Sweet 16 hump we've been hitting would have been really special," Konig said.
As shocking as news of the NCAA cancellation might have been, it wasn't entirely unexpected.
Konig and her teammates had time to prepare themselves for the worst, even as they hoped for the best, by the series of events that led up to the decision to pull the plug on virtually a sports events across the country.
The first domino to fall came Wednesday night when reports began to circulate that Rudy Gobert of the NBA's Utah Jazz had tested positive for the coronavirus.
'As a team, we were watching what was going on with the NBA and all of the other leagues across the nation and we were a little big nervous about what would happen with the NCAA," Konig said. "We started to prep ourselves for what would happen.
"The senior class, everyone, was pretty upset about it. But ultimately, we understand why those decisions had to be made and despite the fact that we were looking forward (to the NCAA tournament), you have to make sure everbody's healthy and safe."
Instead of gathering with her teammates on Monday to watch the women's tournament selection show and learn of her team's NCAA tournament draw, Konig must now turn her attention to a more uncertain long-term future.
She's set to graduate from State in May with a degree in business. But there are also potential basketball opportunities with the Canadian Olympic team and the WNBA to consider.
Complicating matters for Konig and fellow Wolfpack upperclassmen Erika Cassell, Kaila Ealey and Grace Hunter is a growing movement to restore an extra season of eligibility for senior players deprived of their final shot at the NCAA tournament.
"That's going to be something that really has to be discussed with all the seniors and our families, whether or not they come back," Konig said. "I know that our coaches have been talking to us about it. It's really going to come down to what's best for the next steps in our careers, our lives and what we do."
Konig is undecided about what she would do if given the opportunity to return for one more season at State.
But she would love to have that option.
"It's something that if it does happen, it would be amazing," she said. "I would have to sit down with my family and some other people and figure out what's the best course of action."