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Rio Grande Women's Basketball to host Pink Zone Game

February 2, 2011
By Mark Williams of University of Rio Grande

Rio Grande --- For the fourth year in a row the University of Rio Grande RedStorm women's basketball team will participate in the "Pink Zone" initiative. Pink Zone, formerly known as "Think Pink", is a part of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) Breast Cancer Awareness program. 

This year's "Pink Zone" game is set for Saturday, February 12 versus Lindsey Wilson College. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.

Rio Grande assistant coach Kirsten Roberson is once again heading up Rio's part in Pink Zone and she wants to build on what Rio Grande has accomplished in the previous years. 

"Each year we try to do a different slogan and this year we're going to shoot for Rio Grande Hoops for Hope," Roberson said.  "A lot of times we kind of get lost in the coaching aspect of basketball and we don't understand that there are things in life that are bigger than we are."

"Basketball is one of those things that brings different people from different areas, different cultures together to accomplish one common goal and this year we're trying to use that to give back with Breast Cancer Awareness," Roberson added.  "In the past we've raised money and I think the first year we raised about $80 and the second year a little more, $180, the third year we actually eclipsed $1,000."

"So this year, again my goal is always to increase Breast Cancer Awareness, but also to increase the monetary value of donations as well," she said. 

Bob Evans is one of the local corporate sponsors lending support to the event this year and for the second consecutive year will hold a "Think Pink" fundraiser night at the Bob Evans in Rio Grande on February 8, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.   

Roberson added that 15 percent of the proceeds from that night will also go toward Breast Cancer Awareness.  

Roberson reported that she has also contacted Holzer Clinic and the American Cancer Society for sponsorship as well.  "They'll be here again this year," Roberson said.  "Francis Fruth, who is going to be the game sponsor for that evening, she's getting involved and making some donations."

 Roberson also reported that Sodexho is making pink desserts for sale from February 7-11.  She also said the proceeds from those sales will also be going to Breast Cancer Awareness.  The Rio Bookstore is pitching in with support also.   "Everyone is just really getting involved and we're really excited," Roberson said.  "We think this year is going to be another good fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness." 

As a part of the festivities, all fans and participants are encouraged to wear pink to the game.   Pink paper will be used on stat sheets and flyers. There will be pink T-shirts available and "Think Pink" products will be sold at the concession stand. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Breast Cancer Awareness Fund.

Roberson deflected any credit for her leadership in this endeavor.  "I just want to reference that it's not about you, it's not about me, it's not about the basketball aspect, it's about giving back to those who actually can't do anything for us and the only satisfaction that we get from it is being able to help somebody else," she said.  "Our hope slogan, last year we had Rio Grande Hoops for the Cure, this year I think hope is the big key, because a lot of times without hope we don't have the strength to move forward and we want everybody to know, the community, the university, that we have that hope and we're going to Hoop for Hope and that we're going to give back to the community this year." 

Roberson added that if anyone outside of the women's basketball program or the university wants to get involved in the fight against Breast Cancer, whether it is by donation or with their time, they can contact her at roberson@rio.edu or through the university.    "We'll have three-point sponsors, we shoot a lot of three-pointers, so this year I thought that would be a good idea, now whether we make them or not is a different issue, but if you want to sponsor a three-pointer, anything right now will help," she said.  "Even if it is just coming out and supporting us by wearing pink will be a great deal of help." 

Breast Cancer is the most common invasive cancer among women in the United States, which accounts for nearly one out of every three cancers diagnosed.  Rio Grande has been active in the fight against this disease as the women's basketball team is participating for the fourth year and the volleyball team hosted a "Dig Pink" game this past fall. 

The WBCA Pink Zone initiative is a global, unified effort for the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond.

The WBCA began the WBCA Pink Zone, formerly known as "Think Pink", in 2007 as an initiative to raise breast cancer awareness in women's basketball, on campuses and in communities.

The WBCA Pink Zone dates for 2011 will be February 11-20.

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