Dying Freshman Scores Twice in NCAA Debut

Lauren Hill, suffering from cancer, helps lead team to victory
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2014 2:35 AM CST
Dying Freshman Scores Twice in NCAA Debut
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill hugs Pat Summit after receiving the Pat Summitt Award for courage during halftime.   (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

A 19-year-old whom doctors have given weeks to live played her first—and possibly last—college basketball game yesterday, and she scored within seconds, WCPO reports. Lauren Hill, of Mount St. Joseph's basketball team, has a type of brain cancer known as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. But that didn't stop her from scoring four points in the game via two memorable baskets: She scored one with her non-dominant left hand, which she's been using because her tumor makes using her right hand difficult. But "the second basket was even more awesome because I made it with my right hand," she says. After her first successful layup, the game—whose date was moved up to accommodate Hill—was paused, and Hill was awarded the game ball.

"Thank you guys so much for being here and supporting me and (the fight against) pediatric brain cancer. Today has been the best day I've ever had," she said. Her second basket came when she re-entered the game with 26.5 seconds remaining, the AP reports. A sellout crowd, including Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt and WNBA stars such as Elena Delle Donne, watched Hill's team win 66-55 against Hiram College. One of Hill's baskets was shown during a Cincinnati Bengals game yesterday, and her courage has inspired an ice-bucket-like online challenge: Record yourself spinning around five times, then shooting a layup with your non-dominant hand to benefit a pediatric cancer charity. The game, Hill notes, was "a dream come true. To play on a college court, to put my foot down on the floor and hear the roar of the crowd, I just love it so much. I love basketball." (Read more basketball stories.)

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