Penn State lost its ninth game straight game on Sunday, but that wasn’t the main takeaway from its contest with Illinois.
The Lady Lions hosted their 14th annual Play4Kay game benefitting Pink Zone, honored 507 breast cancer survivors of all ages, and filled the Bryce Jordan Center with thousands of pink shakers in its largest crowd of the year.
Head coach Carolyn Kieger started off the postgame press conference to thank those that helped put the event together.
“What an amazing event and shoutout to all the people that worked tirelessly to make this happen,” Kieger said. “I know I’m inspired by it, 3,687 years that we are celebrating the 507 of them, that’s incredible. We had a guest coach in the locker room today, Mo Cooper, and she did a phenomenal job inspiring us.”
The PinkZone is a State College organization that helps bring awareness to breast cancer and helps survivors after their battle.
Penn State and the organization first linked together in 2007 and have carried on the tradition ever since.
It became a non-profit organization in 2011 and in 2014 itit eclipsed the $1,000,000 mark in terms of money being raised towards breast cancer.
Penn State went as far as wearing white and pink jerseys, with a pink ribbon embroidered on them to show support.
Kamaria McDaniel stated that when Cooper spoke to the team in the locker room, it brought some of her teammates to tears.
“Life is so much bigger than basketball and we kind of get caught up in our sports,” McDaniel said. “These people are fighting for their lives and it’s such an inspiration to me. I can’t even put it into words, it just put life into perspective for me today.”
All 507 breast cancer survivors were honored on the court at halftime, as each survivor held up a sign with how long they’ve been a survivor for.
All women cancer survivors in attendance today were honored on the court. A really cool scene here at the BJC pic.twitter.com/0ATzM9YgAW— David Pollak (@David_Pollak097) February 9, 2020
McDaniel finished with a team high 23 points today and noted that she really enjoyed this game in general and everything that goes into it.
“For us to be fighting on the court and they’re fighting for their lives, just unsure about everything is something that really touched my heart,” McDaniel said.
Kieger is still in her first year at the helm of the program, but the pink game is not something new to her.
Even in her years outside of Happy Valley, Kieger noted that today’s game is something that she’s been looking forward to being a part of.
“I’ve admired it from afar and Penn State has always done the Pink Zone and the pink game bright,” Kieger said. “I’m proud to be a part of it and I’m excited to give my best and add little nuances to make it better and keep growing it. It’s a really special night and I think a lot of people look forward to this day in the year.”