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Although Shannon Faulkner is no longer in the fray, the battle continues over women in the all-male corps of cadets at The Citadel.

Faulkner announced Friday she was withdrawing as the first female cadet in the military college's 152-year history because of the stress of her 21/2-year court fight to get in, and her isolation among 2,000 male cadets.Faulkner, 20, said Saturday that she finally felt relief that her ordeal was over.

"No one ever said anything, but I felt like I was not treated the same way" as other first-year cadets, she told CNN. "I could feel that I was alone."

Faulkner said she had no regrets. "Whether I succeed in The Citadel or not . . . the law was on my side and I had the right to go too," she said.

She said she was hurt by the spontaneous celebration at the campus after she announced she was leaving. One of Faulkner's foes, South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon, told The Associated Press that the cheering from cadets was wrong.

"They were celebrating her failure. I think she's to be commended for trying," he said.

She did more than try, said John Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University. "She did get in" to The Citadel, he said.

"The barrier is broken, the egg cracked, and there is no way to unscramble it," he said.

It was Banzhaf who originally filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department about The Citadel's all-male policy. In that case, the department said it could not bring a lawsuit because no South Carolina woman had complained.

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, an Emory University women's studies professor who helped designed the alternative programs for both states, said Faulkner's brief stay at The Citadel shouldn't have much of an impact.

The real question, she said, is whether there is a place for single-sex education.

That view is shared by Karen Johnson, the national secretary for the National Organization for Women. "The issue is gender discrimination in publicly funded schools," said Johnson, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel.