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Hoosiers Celebrate Pink in Home Win over Illinois

Tyra Buss is introduced in the starting line up against Illinois, Feb. 8. Before the game women basketball team members walked out with cancer survivors for the annual pink game. (Amelia Herrick/HN)

The five names of Katie Watson, Mickie Leibacher, Becky Murphy, Sandy Arnholt and Marty Schick don’t make up the Indiana starters on most nights.

In fact, they don’t even play on the team nor have any eligibility left to do so. But on Thursday night, they were apart of the team. On ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Night’ at Assembly Hall, those five women got to accompany the Hoosiers’ starting five onto the floor.

The lineup introduction was the beginning of a special night for Indiana as they knocked off the Illinois Fighting Illini, 70-54, to win its fifth straight game.

“I think it’s always a really cool night, the pink game,” senior Amanda Cahill said. “It makes you appreciate everything more. Especially being able to spend time with those survivors is really kind of eye opening.”

With the Hoosiers decked out in their pink uniforms and sneakers, they put together a performance worth celebrating. Cahill had a team-high 20 points. Four of her six makes came from behind the arc. She added six rebounds, as well as the Hoosiers climbed above .500 for the first time since December.

After the game, Cahill said she couldn’t wear the pink sneakers with her ankle braces. Still, she wanted to celebrate and put in her pink laces to celebrate the night. IU coach Teri Moren said they have done the lineup intro with the survivors for three years.

“It’s our way of recognizing those survivors,” Moren said. “It’s special for a lot of reasons. Our kids would tell you they love being in the pink uniforms. For us, it’s way bigger than us.”

Moren went onto say that one of the survivors was surprised by the lineup introduction. Her husband orchestrated the whole thing and was able to surprise her with a special moment Thursday night.

“Stories like that make you feel really good that you were able to make someone’s night special because of that one little thing we were able to provide for them,” Moren said. “It’s always a special night. It’s always a great night for us.”

On the basketball court, the Hoosiers were able to close out their four-game homestand with four wins. Next up is a trip up to Mackey Arena to face Purdue. It’s a building where neither Cahill nor Tyra Buss have won in their careers.

That comes Monday. But Thursday night at Assembly Hall was all about honoring the five women who walked onto the court with the starters along so many others who are still fighting.

“It’s awesome to see them and see how much fight they’ve shown,” Cahill said. “We’re just fortunate to be able to spend some time around them and be influenced by them.”

Josh Eastern

I am a junior from Seattle, Washington majoring in Media. I am formerly of the Indiana Daily Student where I covered Indiana men’s soccer team and women’s basketball. You still can find me broadcasting for WIUX Student Radio and on BTN Student U outside of The Hoosier Network. Former intern at 710 ESPN Seattle and broadcaster for the Falmouth Commodores. Email: jeastern@thehoosiernetwork.com. Follow me on Twitter: @JoshEastern.

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