By: Matt Stainbrook ~Staff Writer~
MSJ) University freshman diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, played her first and only collegiate basketball game at Cintas Center on Nov. 2.
The Mount St. Joseph women’s basketball team defeated Hiram College 66-55.
In October 2013, Hill was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a rare form of pediatric cancer.
This diagnosis gave her only months to live and, in an effort to help fulfill her wish, the NCAA allowed MSJ’s first regular season game to be moved up two weeks from Nov. 15.
Hill scored the first basket of the game and her collegiate career on the team’s first possession.
The sold-out game garnered plenty of media attention. Hill’s story has been covered nationally by news outlets such as NBC, USA Today, ESPN and CBS and the game was aired on Fox Sports 1 and Star64.
The game was originally set to be played at Mount St. Joseph’s stadium but had to be moved to Cintas Center to accommodate the fans who wanted to watch.
More than 10,000 people packed Cintas Center to watch the game.
Hill’s first shot was a left hand layup. She has had difficulty with her right hand, along with sensitivity to light and severe headaches due to the cancer.
After she scored, her teammates embraced her at half court to celebrate her achievement, and Hill was substituted out of the game.
During halftime, former head coach of the University of Tennessee’s women’s basketball team, Pat Summitt presented Hill with the Pat Summitt’s Most Courageous Award. The U.S. Basketball Writers Association normally only gives out this award during the Women’s Final Four.
“Today has been the best day I’ve ever had,” Hill said to the crowd. “Thank you guys so much. I just don’t know what to say, but thank you. Thanks for being here.”
Near the end of the game, Hill asked to go back in as time was running down. She made a right handed layup just before the buzzer, marking the last points of the game.