The Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams hosted a duo of philanthropic games last weekend in support of both the American Cancer Society and the Wounded Warriors Project.
The Women’s Basketball team played host to SUNY Geneseo in their annual Think Pink game on Jan. 24. Though defeated 62-41 by the Lady Knights, the team raised awareness for breast cancer research and all revenue from ticket sales was donated to the American Cancer Society. Fans in attendance also had the opportunity to donate toward the cause. The team wore pink tops during the pregame shoot-around in honor of the event.
This game had significant and emotional meaning for Head Coach Jamie Seward.
“I think everyone has been affected by this terrible disease,” Seward said. “My mother’s best friend who was basically my other mother growing up was a breast cancer survivor. Everybody has someone that has been affected by cancer so it hits home on an individual level. Any time where you can put yourself in a position where you can help a very worthy cause and potentially raise some money to get rid of this or find a cure, or something to alleviate this disease, you’re doing something good.”
Seward said Think Pink games originated when North Carolina State’s Women’s Basketball Head Coach, Kay Yow, was diagnosed with breast cancer and have been relevant in the WBCA for a long time. He said although the Lady Hawks did not have the ability to fill out a 10,000 seat arena, with so many colleges holding events for the society, the team just wanted to do their small part to bring an end to this disease.
“I personally felt good playing in the Think Pink game,” first-year center Courtney Irby said. “We had a strong start which was due to preparing for the game. But with the lack of urgency and intensity we were unable to get the win.”
During the game second-year guard Christine Rivera led the Hawks with 11 points, matching her season- and career-high. First-year forward Kit Small had her fourth straight game in double figures with 10 points. Irby and third-year Captain Shannan Walker each had six rebounds.
On the other side of the charitable weekend, the Men’s team played host to No. 23 SUNY Brockport Jan. 25 in support of the Wounded Warrior Project and were defeated in a final score of 78-69. Saturday’s contest was the program’s first-ever Wounded Warrior Project game, and all revenue from tickets sold were donated to the organization, which aims to meet the needs of injured servuce nenbers, Fans in attendance had the opportunity to donate toward the cause as well. The team wore camouflage tops during the pregame shootaround to celebrate the event.
“Our involvement with the organization started with a partnership that we started last year with athletic director Stuart Robinson,” Head Coach Mike Rejniak said. “The Wounded Warrior Project is an organization that has really gained steam and we wanted to get involved. Especially during the past few years, it has been sponsored by all of these kinds of races and fundraisers. With all the happenings going on in the world, we need help now for veterans now more than ever.”
Rejniak said the athletic department aims to hold a Wounded Warrior Project game once a season, with Men’s Soccer having held one in the fall and the baseball team to host one in the spring. The athletic department also holds a sports camp during the summer for veterans.
“It’s a great opportunity for my players,” Rejniak said. “Every game matters, but from a different angle, this one mattered more.”
During the game third-year Captain Taylor Sowah led the team in scoring with 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Second-year guard Zach Cone-Douglas scored a career high 11 points, all in a career-high of 19 minutes coming off the bench.
“Having the opportunity to play in the Wounded Warrior Project game was definitely really cool,” Cone-Douglas said. “Our service men and women do and go through so much so we can maintain how we live today. I believe it is important to show gratitude to these brave service members.”