With final game, seniors say good-bye to Spartans


COLLEGE PARK, MD. – For five years, Courtney Schiffauer has been the tough girl on the MSU women’s basketball team, and the one no other team has wanted to play.

But now, after a 74-49 loss to Maryland Monday night, it’s all over.

“It was my life, it was my world,” Schiffauer said chocking back tears. “Everything I did was toward Michigan State basketball. My days were spent practicing for Michigan State basketball. It really hasn’t hit me yet, it will probably take a couple weeks to realize I’m not playing basketball anymore.”

The forward scored just two points in 15 minutes of play in her final game wearing the green and white.

Head coach Suzy Merchant took her out of the game with just more than a minute to play, and gave Schiffauer a big hug on the sidelines.

“She said how proud she was of me,” Schiffauer said. “I’m so happy about how our relationship has grown, so it’s nice to end on a good note with her, and now she’s a mentor and good friend to have.”

Schiffauer, along with Jasmine Thomas and Tracy Nogle, finished their senior season 25-9 and four straight trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Merchant said she might be more pleased of this group than any other in her 17 years of coaching.

“To see where this group is at from the gate has been inspiring,” Merchant said. “I’m emotional for this group even more so than I’ve ever been because I’m just so proud of them — I really am.”

Nogle came into the game with under a minute to play, and hit a 3-pointer in her only shot since the end of the regular season.

She said hitting the shot was a perfect ending to her career, but she would have preferred a win.

“It was exciting to go in there and play. I’ve been playing for so long it just kind of comes with what you do,” Nogle said. “I was excited, but obviously it’s disappointing at the same time.”

She starts medical school at MSU in the fall and said she would be around her teammates and be at as many game as possible in the future.

The story for Thomas is similar to her classmates.

She said it’s meant a lot and she definitely hopes it’s not finished.

“It’s been my life for four years — it just seems longer because every opportunity was dedicated to basketball,” Thomas said. “You just put so much even outside of basketball and in basketball, you build relationships with your teammates, and that’s not just going to go away. It’s just humbling and honoring.”

For Courtney “Mad Dog” Schiffauer and the two other seniors, they knew it was their team, and they were going to work hard to take the team as far as they could go.

“It was my life for four years, so it’s definitely bittersweet for it to come to an end,” Schiffauer said. “It’s going to be different to move on with my life to education or whatever I plan to do after this. I’m glad I got to spend my last year with this group. I love them all to death.”

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