CINCINNATI -- Xavier and Mount St. Joseph have teamed up to open their respective women's basketball seasons with a doubleheader at Cintas Center on Saturday, Nov. 14. Both games of the doubleheader will be televised on FOX Sports Ohio.
The season openers for the two schools will be called the "Lauren Hill Tipoff Classic" in honor of the late Lauren Hill, a Mount St. Joseph student who played for the Lions despite battling an inoperable brain tumor. Hill hit the court for her first collegiate game on Nov. 2, 2014 against Hiram College in front of a capacity crowd at Cintas Center on national television.
The season-opening event will be an annual kickoff to future Xavier and Mount St. Joseph women's basketball seasons.
"Lauren's courage and positive approach to adversity inspired everyone who heard her story," said Xavier Athletics Director Greg Christopher. "This tribute to Lauren is another way her spirit can impact others. Our goal is to honor Lauren and her fight, along with continuing to raise awareness for pediatric brain cancer."
The doubleheader takes place on the opening weekend of college basketball with Xavier opening the day against Evansville at 1 p.m. Mount St. Joseph will play Hiram College approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of game one.
"I'm not sure there is a better way to open our basketball season this fall than doing something to honor Lauren," said Mount St. Joseph Athletics Director Steve Radcliffe. "Her courageous battle was an inspiration to all of us. Lauren left her mark at MSJ and we will continue her legacy."
Ticket proceeds from the games will benefit The Cure Starts Now Foundation, a not-for-profit committed to raising money for pediatric cancer research.
Hill's story gained national attention as she set out to raise awareness for The Cure Starts Now Foundation. Her goal of raising one million dollars for the foundation has already been surpassed.
Dan Benjamin, Mount St. Joseph Head Coach
"A year ago, I, like many, watched one of the most unselfish players take the floor for her first college basketball game. As I think back, what an amazing player, person and teammate Lauren Hill was! On Nov. 14, we will continue her legacy and honor her for everything she stood for! Love you No. 22 and miss you! Help all of us to roar loud and continue your mission."
Brian Neal, Xavier Head Coach
"I'm not sure there is a better way to open our basketball season this year than hosting a tournament to recognize Lauren Hill. Her courageous battle with brain cancer is an inspiration to all of us. Her ability to raise over a million dollars in such a short period of time is just one example of how extraordinary Lauren was."
Lisa Hill, Mother of Lauren Hill
"Lauren instilled hope in all of us by trying to cure cancer and by delivering the message to never give up on your dreams. I think the event will mean as much for Hiram and Xavier as it will for the MSJ community. The tip-off classic should serve as a way to remember what we have and celebrate life… and watch some basketball!"
Brooke Desserich, The Cure Starts Now Foundation
"On Nov. 2 last year, the nation rallied behind Lauren and not only celebrated the incredible accomplishment of her first games as a collegiate player while battling brain cancer, but also started a national movement to fund research to find an end to this horrible cancer. Her goal wasn't just to set foot upon that court, it was to set foot upon the national stage to stand up and be a voice for other children battling cancer and to rally a nation to donate to research. The nearly $1.8 million in research she funded alone is testament to her tenacity and impact on this world. Let us use this game to celebrate that legacy and continue her goal to fund research."
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 3-17) and are valid for both games of the doubleheader. Special group pricing is in effect for this game. Groups of 15 or more can purchase tickets for $5 each. Proceeds will benefit The Cure Starts Now Foundation. Tickets can be purchased online at GoXavier.com or Ticketmaster.com, over the phone at 1-800-745-3000, or in person at the Xavier Athletics Ticket Office. To purchase group tickets call 513-745-3411 ext. 7.