Webster women’s basketball wears pink to raise cancer awareness

Webster women’s basketball players showed off pink laces, socks and headbands at the Pink game. | The Journal

Cheerleaders sported pink hairbows and pom-poms at Wednesday night’s basketball games between Webster University and Blackburn College, while the women’s players showed off pink laces, socks and headbands. The refs even blew pink whistles. It was a successful night for the team’s fundraiser to fight breast cancer, but there were mixed results for the blue-and-gold players on the court.

The Coaches Against Cancer fundraiser was organized by the Webster University Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), whose members also volunteered at the event during both the women’s and men’s basketball games.

Proceeds from the evening will be donated to the American Cancer Society, SAAC Public Relations Director Alli Ferguson said. The group sold T-shirts as well as raffle tickets for a “50-50” raffle, in which the winner received half of the profits and the rest was donated. Fans could buy tickets individually or purchase a strip the length of their arms for $20.

“By the end of the game, we should have done very well,” Ferguson said.

Coaches Against Cancer empowers coaches, their teams, and communities to join the fight against cancer by participating in awareness efforts, advocacy programs and fundraising activities, according to their website, cancer.org.

This is one of two breast cancer fundraisers the basketball teams will participate in this season. The official “Pink Game,” which benefits the Susan G. Komen foundation, will take place on Feb. 17.

During the women’s game, Coaches Against Cancer raised a total of $106 from raffle ticket sales – $53 of that went to raffle winners Michaela and Karren Rogan, who attended the game to support player Kelsey Miller.

The Webster women’s basketball team established an early lead over their opponent, the Blackburn College Beavers. The Gorloks maintained a solid lead throughout all four quarters, ending with a final score of 65-27.

Head Women’s Basketball Coach Jordan Olufson said he was proud of the number of players who contributed to the team’s success; 15 different members of the team scored points, in addition to a combined 22 steals and 31 deflections.

“It was a group effort, and that’s why we’ve always been so good here at Webster,” Olufson said.

Senior guard Alyssa Sapp said she was proud of the team’s performance and recorded her career-high at Webster in number of assists.

“We put the pressure on [the young players] and they handled it,” Sapp said.

Olufson said the team hopes to continue strong and make it into the postseason.

“I’m proud of our team and our effort,” he said. “Don’t sleep on the Lady Loks.”

Results weren’t as positive during the men’s game. In an inauspicious start, starter forward C.J. Moore injured his ankle only a few minutes in, returning to play only briefly in the second half. Head men’s basketball coach Chris Bunch said Moore might have to sit out for a while, but shouldn’t miss much of the season.

While Webster and Blackburn traded the lead in the first half, Blackburn pulled ahead to establish a lead which the Gorloks could not narrow beyond a four-point gap.

After the last thirty seconds in which both teams scored both times, the Beavers ultimately won with a score of 71-66.

Bunch said his team performed poorly, especially in comparison with their opponents.

“They played harder than we did. It was a game they had to win to stay in the race,” Bunch said of Blackburn.

He plans to work on improving every aspect of the Gorloks’ performance before their next game, but will concentrate on defense and especially rebounding, which he identified as a major problem.

“The number one way you defend is getting rebounds when they miss a shot,” Bunch said.

The raffle ticket profits also underperformed compared to the women’s game-winner Brett Jungles took home $8.

Ferguson said she was happy with the results of the fundraiser. SAAC sold almost all of their T-shirts and a good number of raffle tickets, she said.

“I’m proud that we’re having two events this year,” said Olufson, who has participated in the Coaches Against Cancer event during each of his nine years at Webster.

There was one final moment of triumph at the men’s game, not for a current player but for fan and former Webster center Aaron Griffin.

Restaurant chain Raising Cane’s held a drawing in which the person chosen would have a chance to attempt a basket from half court. Griffin’s name was picked – if he made the shot, he would win a year’s worth of free Raising Cane’s chicken.

Griffin, who said he wasn’t known for his long shots while he was on the team, nevertheless stepped forward and made the basket.

Griffin said he was excited about the prize.

“I’m a country boy, so I can eat,” Griffin said.

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