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February 16, 2009

Eagles asking fans to "Pack the PAC in Pink"

EVANSVILLE, Ind.—The University of Southern Indiana women's basketball team is asking fans to "Pack the PAC in Pink" when it hosts Missouri University of Science and Technology this Saturday at the Physical Activities Center.

Instead of wearing their traditional white uniforms, the Screaming Eagles will be wearing pink uniforms to participate in the Women's Basketball Coaches' Association's "Pink Zone" initiative, a 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 set aside the week of February 13-22 for this year's initiative, though many schools have participated outside that window due to scheduling conflicts.

"This is the second annual ‘Pink Zone' initiative," USI Assistant Women's Basketball Coach and Senior Women's Administrator Randa Gatling said. "Kay Yow, the former head coach at North Carolina State University who recently lost her battle with breast cancer, started to do whatever she could to increase the knowledge of breast cancer and increase funds for research. The WBCA and Nike joined her efforts and made it a nation-wide effort at all levels.

"We are trying to use our platform to increase awareness in our community, within our sport, and to whomever will listen and watch," Gatling continued.

Gatling said that nearly 1,300 schools have committed to participating in the initiative. "I don't really know anybody who hasn't been touched by this terrible disease," she said. "It touches everyone's hearts around here and it hits home for our girls, their families, some of our Varsity Club members, and some of our employees."

Thanks to the donations from sophomore guard Amie Newhart's (Mulberry, Indiana) parents as well as Assistant Coach Michelle Irwin's parents and grandmother, the Eagles will be wearing pink for the first time.

Donning the pink uniforms is USI's chance to make a difference. "Our team is so excited," Gatling said. "We've got the pink uniforms and we want to wear them all the time. It's going to mean a lot for us to come out and lace it up in those uniforms and just fight for a lot of the survivors out there."

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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