Illini to be all decked out in pink

Illini to be all decked out in pink

CHAMPAIGN — The pink jerseys the Illinois women's basketball team will wear in its 7 p.m. tipoff against Ohio State at State Farm Center will be passed on to auction winners.

Illini Courtsiders, the women's basketball booster group, raised $1,500 in the jersey auction. All of the money will go to the Mills Breast Cancer Institute at Carle Foundation Hospital.

"We were not quite sure how it would go, but were quite pleased," Courtsiders president Jen Shelby said.

This is the first year of the auction for the Courtsiders. They hope to make it an annual event.

"We are already planning ahead," Shelby said. "We've talked to the people at length at Mills. We've got some new ideas."

All of the jerseys were bid on. The winners were notified earlier in the season and can put whatever name they want on the back.

"I was so encouraged by all of the bidding and the excitement around this," Shelby said. "The support is out there."

Dianna Pasley, director of basketball operations for the Illini women's team, helped the Courtsiders make sure the jerseys were ordered and arrived on time.

"As this continues to evolve, we'll come up with different events and different ways to engage with the community," Shelby said.

The booster group had to be careful not to get sideways with any NCAA rules. So, the actual player names aren't allowed to be used on the auctioned jerseys.

Representatives from the Mills Breast Cancer Institute will be at the game, as well as the Prairie Dragon Paddlers, a rowing team made up of breast cancer survivors.

No. 16 Ohio State (20-6, 9-3 Big Ten) had a four-game winning streak snapped Sunday with an 84-65 loss at South Florida. The Illini (9-17, 0-12), who have lost their past three games against the Buckeyes by an average margin of 26 points, enter tonight's game on a 13-game losing skid.

Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell, who averages 24.4 points, is the Big Ten's all-time leading scorer with 3,188 points.