Women’s basketball pink-out game honors warriors

Cancer survivors walk center court to encourage those still fighting, promoting awareness

Brandon Bee, Staff Reporter

As the crowd walked into Royal Brougham Pavilion on Saturday, February 22, they saw the Seattle Pacific University women’s basketball team warming up for their game against Montana State University Billings wearing pink t-shirts in support for breast cancer awareness.

Cancer survivor Felicia Roach, along with other cancer survivors, were called down to center court before the game. Roach was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 and entered remission the same year.

“It is really important for people to be aware of breast cancer and being able to know how to check for themselves and, then, also to celebrate women who have been able to make it past it and cheer them on and give them encouragement for the future,” Roach said.

SPU women’s assistant basketball coach Sasha Anderson also encountered her own battle with cancer back in 2017 and talked about why this event was so important.

“This event has become extremely personal and dear to me,” Anderson said. “There is something about being invited by others that makes a person feel seen and not forgotten. Battling disease is a long, often discouraging and lonely journey and moments like these can go so far in a person’s life to remind them that they aren’t alone and that there are many people who care about what they are struggling with and want them to live a long, healthy life.” 

Redshirt Freshman Bayley Brennan also spoke about the importance of the event.

“It is really important to remember those who were lost and those who fought through it and won,” she said. “The shirts that we wore that said ‘warriors,’ that captures exactly why we are remembering them. It was cool in the beginning to see them and honor them and play for them.”

“It also helps us keep our lives in perspective as we recognize those who are currently fighting,” senior Hailee Bennett said. “So many people who are fighting cancer have such an amazing outlook on life that the rest of us should strive to emulate.”

According to The American Cancer Society, in 2019, there were more than 1.7 million new cases of cancer in the U.S. alone. Over 600,000 of those cases were fatal.

During the game, the Falcons did not hit their stride as their defense did not compete with the quick offense that the Billings provided throughout the game. During the second half, the Billings started to pull away, with a score of 24 points in the third period and 30 in the fourth to close out the game.

For the Yellowjackets, Jeannan Lemelin scored 32 points and was on fire from the field shooting 11-13 including 10 three-point makes in the game. Every possession, it seemed like Lemelin would hit another three to extend the Yellowjackets lead. Hannah Collins also had a suburb scoring night with 16 points on her own. TyLee Manuel had also added 14 for the Billings off of the bench.

For the Falcons, Senior Hailee Bennett scored 21 points on an efficient 7-10 shooting from the field, Sophomore Natalie Hoff scored 11 points and grabbed 8 boards, Redshirt Freshman Bayley Brennan scored eight points and Sophomore Ashley Alter scored seven points off the bench.

A string of losses for the women’s basketball team has now eliminated them from playoff contention and now they will look to close out the season strong with two more games left against Northwest Nazarene University Feb. 27 and Central Washington University Feb. 29 at Royal Brougham Pavilion.