Head coach Muffet McGraw (center) and the Irish conducted a basketball clinic in January in Stevensville, Mich., as part of their efforts in support of the WBCA Pink Zone this year. The Irish raised more than $45,000 for the initiative and were named the winners of the inaugural WBCA Pink Zone Challenge, it was announced last Friday.

Notre Dame One Of Four Finalists For Inaugural WBCA Pink Zone Challenge Title

April 2, 2009

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame has been named as one of four finalists for the inaugural Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Pink Zone Challenge trophy, it was announced Wednesday evening by the WBCA offices. Joining the Fighting Irish in this year “Final Four” are Penn State, Tennessee and Purdue — the Challenge winner will be revealed Friday at 9:30 p.m. (CT) during a live broadcast of the WBCA’s “Shootaround With Beth & Debbie” show at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront (Ballroom C) in St. Louis.

The WBCA Pink Zone Challenge is a friendly fund-raising competition, with participants charged with trying to collect the most money through the Pink Zone initiative, 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’s official charity is the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund.

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. This year’s Pink Zone Challenge featured: Baylor, Connecticut, Duke, LSU, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri State, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt. Together, these 15 schools have raised over $160,000 for the Pink Zone initiative.

Through a variety of activities, as well as the specifically-designated “WBCA Pink Zone Game” on Feb. 8 (a 62-59 win over No. 25 DePaul), Notre Dame collected more than $45,000 as part of the Pink Zone project during the 2008-09 season. Those funds will be donated nationally to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund and locally to the Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center Women’s Task Force, which includes the Secret Sisters Society and Young Survivors group.

Among the activities the Fighting Irish developed to help raise funds for the Pink Zone initiative were:

  • Collections at each home game during the 2008-09 season
  • A basketball clinic in Stevensville, Michigan
  • A silent auction at Notre Dame’s designated Pink Zone game vs. DePaul on February 8
  • Sales of special pink t-shirts and other merchandise at the Hammes Bookstore and other locations on campus
  • Sales of “in memory/honor of” cards through Notre Dame’s Varsity Shop
  • Irish 3-Point Challenge (specific donations for every three-pointer the Irish made (total of 120) this year)
  • Head coach Muffet McGraw’s donation for every rebound the Irish grabbed during the Feb. 8 Pink Zone game ($430)
  • At the Feb. 8 game, each Irish women’s basketball player and student manager donated $15 to the cause ($225)
  • Donations from Notre Dame alumnae

A Pink Zone steering committee was created at Notre Dame this year to market and help raise funds for this special initiative. The steering committee was comprised of members of the Notre Dame faculty and staff as well as local community leaders.

Several South Bend-area sponsors also were involved in helping to support this year’s Pink Zone at Notre Dame, including Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, South Bend Tribune, Legends of Notre Dame and Ja’Ross Salon and Day Spa.

— ND —