Pink Zone Game has Deeper Meaning for Lone Senior Wolfinger
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Saturday Feb. 23 will be a night of celebration, recognition and awareness as the University of Colorado Colorado Springs hosts "Pink Zone" night in-conjunction with the American Cancer Society and Office of Student Activities to raise awareness of cancer and continue efforts to find a cure.
The night also marks the last regular-season home game for senior Lauren Wolfinger as she nears bringing her storied collegiate career to an end.
Fortunately for Mountain Lion fans, UCCS has its best record in program history with an overall record of 17-5, and the Mountain Lions are a game back of second place in the RMAC standings. Meaning, if the season ended today, UCCS would host its first home playoff game since 2001-02.
After recognizing the programs lone senior, Pink Zone, will be the theme of the game. The night means different things to different people, with cancer either directly or indirectly effecting a growing number of individuals. According to the US National Cancer Institute's Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Database, 44.81 percent of men are at risk of developing cancer while 38.17 percent of women are at risk.
UCCS Senior Lauren Wolfinger knows exactly how real those numbers are.
Within an 11-month span Wolfinger lost her great-grandmother (August 2009), mother (November 2009), great-aunt (June 2010) and grandmother (July 2010) all to cancer.
Losing her mother was particularly tough, as basketball was a connection they both shared.
"My dad was always my coach growing up but when it came to becoming more than a game that's where my mom and I really connected," Wolfinger said. "Where I get that passion and that love, that comes from her."
Her mom was a 16-letter athlete in high school and reached the position of vice president in the business world, leaving big shoes for the younger Wolfinger to try and fill. Wolfinger writes "1313" on her wrist before every game in honor of her mom who also wore the number in her playing days.
"I couldn't put my finger on it growing up that she was this woman in a man's world but now that I'm older looking back that's what I grew up with, this desire to achieve. But the way she did it was never in a way she put other people down to do it, she did it in a team way, and that's what I've always loved. I love the team aspect. This is one of the best team's I've ever been on because everyone has so much respect for each other and communicates," Wolfinger said.
With everyone Wolfinger has lost on her mother's side of the family (the Huibregtse family) her father, Guy Wolfinger, has remained a constant in his daughter's life throughout her playing days.
"My dad is my best fan ever. He's traveled to every single UCCS game this season," Wolfinger added. "He really took on the double parent role the best he could."
Wolfinger has cracked the top 10 in several career records for UCCS. She ranks fifth for assists (202), seventh for steals (152), seventh for three-pointers made (120) and ninth for total points (906) in program history.
As a four-year team captain, Wolfinger has embodied what being a Mountain Lion is all about from the onset of her collegiate career. Yelling words of wisdom and encouragement on and off the court, she has been a steady hand coach Corey Laster can turn to.
"Lauren has been amazing for us. A lot of my ideals I have when it concerns the team, I like to run by Lauren first because I think she has a great pulse of the team. By far one of the best kids I have every coached," coach Laster said.
"She's the type of kid who really doesn't take a day for granted. She lives life to the fullest and realizes that life is short and that it can be taken away from you at any moment. She's probably one of the most upbeat, optimistic kids that you'll ever meet."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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