In the background of the women’s and men’s basketball teams defeating Augustana College (S.D.) on Friday, Dragon fans worked to defeat breast cancer.
The sixth annual “Go Pink” event, sponsored by Sanford Health and the Dragon women’s basketball team, raised money at the event, with the money being split between the Sanford Health Roger Maris Cancer Center and MSUM Go Pink scholarships.
MSUM’s event evolved from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s desire to raise awareness of breast cancer, according to women’s head coach Karla Nelson.
“It kind of just evolved and has turned into probably the biggest event we put on during the school year,” Nelson said.
More than 1,700 fans sat inside Nemzek Fieldhouse while a Go Pink silent auction, sponsored by the women’s team, was held during the doubleheader.
The auction, with its table set up near the entrance of the fieldhouse, included jewelry and blankets, as well as gift baskets and a signed basketball from the women’s team.
“The event would not have been possible without Gloria Riopelle, assistant athletic director for external relations,” Nelson said. “Basketball is the vehicle that allows us to educate people on breast cancer awareness and raise money to find a cure. You have to have someone driving the vehicle, and Gloria has been driving the vehicle.”
This year, Riopelle and Go Pink raised enough money to award two $250 spring scholarships to Lacey Guck and Alexandra Gebeke during halftime of the men’s game.
“(Go Pink) is an opportunity to give back to our community and raise awareness of the importance of screening breast cancer and other cancers,” Riopelle said.
According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer.
“Chances are sometime through our lifetime, we will be affected by cancer,” Nelson said. “To be a part of something special like this to try to find a cure for cancer and to give back to the community is really a big thing.”
Fans in attendance to support the “Power of Pink” watched the Dragon men seal a 79-62 victory over Augustana. Senior forward Alex Novak recorded three blocked shots and a double-double, scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Senior guard Anthony Tucker put up 22 points. The Dragons’ effort ended a six-game win streak for the Vikings.
The women’s team defeated the Vikings in a 69-60 upset, with Morgan Zabel’s 24 points and Megan Strese’s double-double (12 points, 15 rebounds), paving the path toward victory.
BY MADALYN LASKE
PHOTO BY JESSICA FLEMING