IUPUI Lady Jaguars close out historic season early

(WTHR Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – Over the last few days we’ve seen the sports world essentially shut down as the country handles the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Thursday, one of the biggest bombshells was the cancellation of the NCAA tournament — both men’s and women’s.

That meant the end of an historic season for the IUPUI Lady Jaguars.

“It’s been the highest of highs and the lowest of lows,” head coach Austin Parkinson said.

On March 10th, IUPUI felt the highest of highs after winning the Horizon League Tournament for the first time in program history. That win earned the Jags an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

“My last memory with them was being in the locker room," Parkinson said. "They doused me with water head to toe and me walking out of the arena."

But just two days later, they felt the lowest of lows with the cancellation of the big dance. They finally reached college basketball’s biggest stage only for the opportunity to disappear.

“It felt like a death it was so sudden,” Parkinson recalls. “You normally know when you go to coach a game and it’s potentially your last game, win or lose.”

Parkinson says one of the toughest moments was talking to his only senior—Greenwood alum Holly Hoopingarner.

“It was tough. We had to fight back tears," Parkinson said.

Hoopingarner will never put on an IUPUI jersey again and this team doesn’t get to go dancing but Parkinson remains grateful they got to at least play their conference tournament and hoist the Horizon League trophy at the end.

“As I told them when they left today, you know, this is an historic team and they’ll be forever remembered as the first to do it," Parkinson said.