The NCAA normally doesn't let its teams open their seasons in early November, but Cincinnati's Mount St. Joseph will do so against Hiram College on Nov. 2, reports the AP. The reason for the exception? No. 22. That would be the Mount's 19-year-old Lauren Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor and may not live through December. In fact, the season opener will likely be her last game. Demand is so high that nearby Xavier University has let the teams use its bigger arena—and all 10,250 seats sold out in 30 minutes, reports Cincinnati.com.
Hill, who was diagnosed a year ago with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, says she will appreciate everything about the game, in which she'll shoot left-handed, though she's right-handed: The tumor is having a greater effect on her right side. "I'm spreading awareness and also teaching people how to live in the moment because the next moment's not promised," she says. "What matters is right now." College and pro players are signing No. 22 jerseys and sending them to Hill for support, and the United States Basketball Writers Association already has voted to award her the Pat Summitt Most Courageous award, which usually goes out at the end of the season. "This is an amazing young lady who's made an impact on the world, more than I will ever do," says her coach. "I wish everybody could meet her." (Read more NCAA women's basketball stories.)