Gyanna Russell defends against Stonehill (Eli Hark)

The women’s basketball team held its 14th annual Pink Day celebration Saturday, February 9, at the Stan Spirou Fieldhouse to honor those affected by breast cancer.

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) students, faculty, alumni and the Manchester community came together in unison to support family and friends who have been affected by this disease.

The event featured food, crafts and raffles, and, of course, a highly anticipated NE10 women’s basketball matchup against Stonehill.

Pink Day started as a small occasion when it incepted 14 years ago, but has grown into one of SNHU’s most advertised events. Pink day increases in size annually, and campus organizations from the Wellness Center to Res Life to the Career Development Center offer support to ensure it is a success.

“It’s just amazing how many people want to help make this a great event,” said Head Women’s Basketball Coach Karen Pinkos. “And, for me, it’s about the power in the way people come together for the cause; it’s pretty emotional. But I think the power of bringing everyone together as a strong community is really inspirational for me.”

Women’s basketball players Kylie Lorenzen and Gyanna Russell have been personally affected by breast cancer. Lorenzen’s aunt is a three-time breast cancer survivor, while Russell’s mother is battling with her bout of the disease. Their experiences are what makes Pink Day so important to them.

“I think everyone has someone in their family or their friend group who has been affected by this disease,” said Lorenzen. “So it’s super important to raise money and awareness.”

“Having my mom have breast cancer, it definitely hits home to me,” added Russell. “[Pink Day] is an event everyone loves to be a part of and, it’s just a great event.”

Local organizations showed their support by tabling booths outside the gym. These organizations included local sports teams, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and the Manchester Monarchs, and various nonprofits. Many organizations informed the hundreds of attendees about their business and why they support this cause. The SNHU field hockey team even had a booth selling Pink Day t-shirts, as well as a table for face painting.

Many of the proceeds earned from this event were given to Catholic Medical Center’s Breast Cancer Center, among other organizations.

The headline event of Pink Day was women’s basketball’s matchup against Stonehill. The Penmen proved victorious in the game, posting a tight 67-62 win over the Skyhawks. The Penmen have now won the last four Pink Day games since their first win against Stonehill in December 2016.

In spite of the emotion and pressure to win this highly-contested game, it was never about winning or loosing; it was about the message the Penmen were delivering.

“We’re not fighting for ourselves but for a bigger cause.” Lorenzen said. “That takes the pressure off of just getting the win. We are giving our all, leaving everything on the court, and fighting our best, just like everyone else.”

After the game, the women held a post-game celebration with friends, family and alumni. The event wrapped up with the men’s team defeating Stonehill 72-40.

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