Head coach Muffet McGraw is set to begin her 23rd season at Notre Dame this fall, having piloted the Fighting Irish to a 496-197 record and 16 NCAA Championship berths (including a current string of 14 in a row) during her storied career.

Lineup Set For Inaugural WBCA Pink Zone Challenge

Dec. 16, 2008

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame will headline an elite group of 15 collegiate women’s basketball programs that have committed to participate in the inaugural Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Pink Zone Challenge, it was announced Tuesday by the University and the WBCA, which are co-sponsoring the event.

The 15 schools taking part in this year’s Pink Zone Challenge were invited based upon their appearance in the top 20 of the final 2007-08 NCAA attendance rankings. Joining Notre Dame in this year’s Challenge will be: Baylor, Connecticut, Duke, LSU, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri State, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Penn State, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt.

The Challenge will be a friendly fund-raising competition, with participants charged with trying to collect the most money through the Pink Zone initiative (formerly known as “Think Pink”), a global, unified effort for the WBCA’s nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond.

The WBCA Pink Zone started two years ago, with more than 120 schools unifying for this effort and helping to make the inaugural campaign a success. In 2008, over 1,100 teams and organizations participated, reaching more than 830,000 fans and raising more than $930,000 for breast cancer awareness and research. Participants have shown their support for the Pink Zone through such unique displays as pink uniforms, warm-ups, shoes and officials’ whistles.

The first-ever WBCA Pink Zone Challenge will take place during one specially-designated home game from Feb. 13-22, 2009, although some schools may not have a home game scheduled within that time frame and will compete as close to that window as possible. Participating schools will report their total fund-raising amounts by March 15, 2009, to Megan Smith, the WBCA’s Manager of New Initiatives.

The inaugural WBCA Pink Zone Challenge winner will be announced during the WBCA National Convention at the 2009 NCAA Women’s Final Four, which is slated to take place April 5 & 7 in St. Louis. The winning school will be presented with a special trophy, to be provided by the University of Notre Dame.

Notre Dame’s designated Pink Zone game is set for Sunday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. (ET) when the Irish play host to DePaul at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame will take the court in white, pink and navy uniforms, specially-designed by the school’s official athletics apparel provider, adidas, while the first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive a free pink Irish t-shirt (compliments of Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center) and pink pom-poms, balloons and posters will fill the crowd. In addition, breast cancer survivors will be recognized during a special halftime ceremony, and the Irish women’s basketball program has pledged to donate an additional $10,000 to the Pink Zone initiative should the game be declared a sellout.

This $10,000 donation would be in addition to several other fund-raising efforts by the Notre Dame women’s basketball program this season, including a clinic in Stevensville, Mich., for students in grades K-8, a tip-off luncheon, three-point pledges, a silent auction, Varsity Shop t-shirts sales and more.

Proceeds from Notre Dame’s Pink Zone events this season will go to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, as well as three local charities — Women’s Task Force, Young Survivors Group and Secret Sisters Society. For more information on the WBCA’s Pink Zone initiative, log on to the official WBCA web site at www.wbca.org.

No. 13/7 Notre Dame (8-1) is in the midst of a week-long break for final exams before returning to the Joyce Center hardwood on Saturday at 2 p.m. (ET) for a matchup with Loyola-Chicago. Tickets for that game, and all remaining Notre Dame women’s basketball home contests, as well as the 2009 NCAA Tournament first- and second-round games at the Joyce Center, are available for purchase by contacting the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356; Gate 1 at the Joyce Center from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET weekdays), visiting the tickets page of the official Irish athletics web site (www.UND.com/tickets) or stopping by the Joyce Center Gate 10 ticket windows on game day.

— ND —