NEW YORK (AP) — Coach Marlene Stollings challenged her Minnesota Gophers this fall to do something special for their Play4Kay game Sunday.
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So the players, after discussing it for a few days in October, decided to each donate $250 to the Kay Yow Fund and asked the coach to match the $3,000 they raised.
"It was amazing. I've been doing this 19 years in Division I and never have been associated with a team so generous with their scholarship money," Stollings said in a phone interview Sunday night after her team beat Penn State 101-68. "They picked the Kay Yow Fund on its 10th anniversary. I got to coach against Coach Yow as an assistant and it made it extra special to donate to a cause that money goes directly to cancer research."
It was an amazing gesture today from the #Gophers as each student-athlete donated $250 ($3000 total) from their scholarship money and @Stollings matched them to provide $6000 for the @KayYowFund. #UMNproud pic.twitter.com/sXfujhRV7X— Minnesota WBB (@GopherWBB) February 12, 2018
The players each started putting aside about $60 a month from their cost of attendance money and reached the amount they wanted to donate.
Stollings knew that Oklahoma's women's team had done something similar last season. Last year the Sooners gave $4,125 to the Kay Yow Fund. This season they also gave $2,300.
Sunday was special for the Gophers (19-6), who are having a great season.
I couldn’t be more proud of our team for giving to something greater than themselves today...They donated $250 each for a total of $3,000 to the @KayYowFund for cancer research. Here’s a video from our team: pic.twitter.com/ZJU2fuprHI— Marlene (@Stollings) February 12, 2018
Stollings, as she's done for many years, brought in cancer survivors to talk to the team pregame.
"Some of them are still in treatment and a few (in similar circumstances) in the past have passed away a couple months after," Stollings said. "It's a very powerful thing for the team."
Before the start of the game, two giant sized checks were on the court so that all the fans could see what the team was doing.
"We had a two-minute ceremony right before the game," Stollings said. "It was a great day, we've all been touched by cancer."