Feb. 18, 2009
DEKALB, Ill.- The Northern Illinois University women's basketball team kicked off its WBCA Pink Zone activities Wednesday as they staged Free Throws Against Cancer in Victor E. Court.
Each member of the Huskie women's basketball team stepped to the charity stripe and shot 100 free throws in an effort to help raise money for the Kay Yow Foundation. Players collected donations and pledges for the number of free throws they hit.
Five Huskies made 90 or more, with sophomore Marke Freeman (Springfield, Ill./Lanphier), an 81.2 percent free throw shooter during the season, hitting the most free throws with 97.
"I've known a lot of people that have battled various forms of cancer," Freeman said. "It means a lot to me to be able to do something in recognition of what they went through in battling the disease."
Jessie Wilcox (Oshkosh, Wis./West), the team leader in free-throw shooting percentage at 90.5 percent and Kylie York (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) ranked second behind Freeman each player hitting 93 of 100 shots. Senior Becky Smith (Janesville, Wis./Parker) and sophomore Bianca Brown (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Renaissance) each made 92 free throws.
"It means a lot, because it hits close to home with me," Wilcox, who had a grandmother battle breast cancer twice, said.
York, who also had a family member suffer from breast cancer, praised the community support the Huskies received when asking for pledges.
"A couple of my teachers donated, and I received a lot of support from family members," York said. "It's wonderful to be a part of it [the WBCA Pink Zone initiative]. You really feel like you're helping out a good cause. So to be a part of it is a great feeling."
Northern Illinois will welcome Toledo to the Convocation Center for their Pink Zone game Tuesday, February 24. On Tuesday, pink t-shirts will be distributed to early arriving fans and the first 250 fans will receive pink stress balls from game sponsor Los Rancheros.
There is a special game package for breast cancer survivors. For $2, survivors will receive a ticket to the game, a special survivor t-shirt, autographed women's basketball poster and recognition during the game. For each package purchased, $1 will go to the Kay Yow Foundation. Packages must be pre-ordered by February 20th. For more information, go to the women's basketball page at www.niuhuskies.com. 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.