Paint the Court Pink

The ninth annual Pink Zone at Penn State drew more than 700 breast cancer survivors and has raised more than $200,000.

On March 1, 2015, the Lady Lions swapped their blue and white uniforms for pink to honor those in the fight of their lives against breast cancer. Though the game takes place annually, the fight against breast cancer is a yearlong effort. Through the past nine years, the Pink Zone efforts have raised more than $1.1 million for breast cancer research. 

The drum line of the Penn State Pep Band performs at the Pink Zone game.

Penn State Pep Band

The Penn State Pep Band performed at the annual Pink Zone basketball game on Mar. 1 at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Penn State Lady Lions hosted the Wisconsin Badgers in the 9th annual Pink Zone at Penn State event.  Proceeds from the game benefit breast cancer research.

Image: Patrick Mansell

Pink Zone efforts have continued to grow over the years.  More than 700 breast cancer survivors were honored at this year's half-time event. 

The Lady Lions were the first team to wear pink uniforms during a game as part of a breast cancer awareness effort, in 2007. In 2011, Pink Zone at Penn State changed its name and officially became the Pennsylvania Pink Zone. The cause outgrew the reach of Penn State women's basketball and is now able to be supported throughout the calendar year as a nonprofit organization. 

Penn State Lady Lions member defends a guard at the annual Pink Zone basketball game.

Penn State Lady Lions Pink Zone Game

Penn State senior Tori Waldner defended Wisconsin guard Nicole Bauman during first half action at the 9th annual Pink Zone game at the Bryce Jordan Center.  Proceeds from the annual Pink Zone at Penn State game benefit breast cancer research.

Image: Patrick Mansell

Head Lady Lions coach Coquese Washington has been instrumental in propelling the Pink Zone event to new heights. An outspoken supporter of the cause, Washington also has a law degree, which helped Pink Zone when it applied to become a nonprofit. 

"We get an opportunity to celebrate the strength, courage, and fortitude that it takes to battle breast cancer and to have the opportunity to celebrate it with the survivors."—Coach Coquese Washington

Coach Washington and the Lady Lions attend fundraising events and conferences year-round to support the event. 

Hundreds of breast cancer survivors fill the basketball court at halftime of the Pink Zone game.

Breast Cancer Survivors

Breast cancer survivors were honored at half-time of the Lady Lion basketball game at the Bryce Jordan Center on Mar. 1.  Now in its 9th year, the Pink Zone game at Penn State has raised more than $1.13 million for breast cancer research.

Image: Patrick Mansell

"Throughout the year, I come across so many people who make mention of the Pink Zone game," says Washington. "It's a celebration. The survivors feel like they are treated like royalty. For one day, they get to embrace what being a survivor means. That's what it means for us and our program. We get an opportunity to celebrate the strength, courage, and fortitude that it takes to battle breast cancer and to have the opportunity to celebrate it with the survivors." 

Pink Zone support has spread beyond the Lady Lions as well. The Pink Zone Student Organization was founded by Penn State students in 2010 to help raise funds in the fight against breast cancer. In addition to assisting with the annual Pink Zone game, the group holds fundraisers throughout the year for the Pennsylvania Pink Zone. 

A student Pink Zone volunteer paints a pink Nittany Lion on an attendee's face.

Student Volunteers at Pink Zone Game

Student volunteers provided face painting, t-shirt sales and more around the concourse of Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center during the annual Pink Zone basketball game on Mar. 1. Proceeds from the game and surrounding events will support  breast cancer research.

Image: Patrick Mansell

Through the student organization, fundraising efforts will continue through April. On April 12, the group will hold their inaugural one mile run, with proceeds going toward this year's total.

In addition, the student organization will work to "pink out" games in other Penn State sports throughout the month of April: 

  •  April 4: Women's Lacrosse
  •  April 10: Men's Tennis
  •  April 17: Women's Tennis
  •  April 26: Softball
Penn State Lady Lion basketball player pushes through Wisconsin defenders.

Penn State Lady Lions Pink Zone Game

Penn State forward Kallyah Mitchell battled past Wisconsin defenders during first half action at the annual Pink Zone basketball game at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Lady Lions lost to Wisconsin 62-56.

Image: Patrick Mansell

This year's fundraising efforts will benefit the Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, and Lewistown Hospital.