June 25, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- With the official start of summer last Saturday, and the ever-present hot weather during the months of June, July and August, a tall glass of cold ice water sounds pretty good right about now. But how about a bucket of cold water, and instead of drinking it, having it dumped on your head?
That's exactly what several Notre Dame women's basketball players, as well as assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Niele Ivey, did on Sunday as part of the #Chillin4Charity Cold Water Challenge, a social media movement that has spread like wildfire throughout the women's basketball community.
The #Chillin4Charity Cold Water Challenge is the brainchild of Arizona head coach Niya Butts, who posted a YouTube video earlier this month in which she challenged three other individuals to follow her lead and have ice-cold water dumped on their heads, and if they accepted, she would donate $50 per challenger to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund (created in 2007 to raise money to combat breast cancer in honor of the late North Carolina State coach who passed away from the disease in 2009). If any of the three challengers failed to complete the mission within 48 hours, they would have to donate $250 to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
Butts also had several of her players and assistant coaches take part in the event, with the challenge amounts being modified for those groups. For assistant coaches, they donate $25 for each completed challenge, and those who do not accept will owe $100. For players, they owe two hours of community service for each completed challenge, while those players who don't fulfill the requirement will owe five hours of community service (full online rules can be found HERE).
After being challenged by numerous friends and acquaintances at other schools around the country, junior guards Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) and Michaela Mabrey (Belmar, N.J./Manasquan), along with sophomore forwards Kristina Nelson (Buford, Ga./Buford) and Taya Reimer (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern), all joined Ivey in the shadow of the Golden Dome at the Clarke Peace Memorial Fountain (known around campus simply as "Stonehenge" due to its likeness to the famed English monument). All four players and Coach Ivey were prepared for the Challenge, sporting various degrees of swimming gear, from Nelson's floatable pool noodle, to Reimer's goggles and even Ivey's swim fins.
Prior to their frigid baths, each person made their own #Chillin4Charity challenges to various individuals. Accompanied by recently-graduated Notre Dame forward Ariel Braker blowing bubbles, Mabrey called out fellow New Jersey resident Marvadene "Bubbles" Anderson (who now plays at the University of Pittsburgh). Nelson turned her focus on one of Butts' own Arizona players, Taryn Griffey (daughter of former Major League Baseball great Ken Griffey Jr.), as well as two other fellow ACC players in Amber Henson (Duke) and Tiffany Lewis (Clemson).
Reimer then stepped up and challenged Tyler Scaife (Rutgers), Linnae Harper (Kentucky) and Chloe Pavlech (Maryland). Loyd completed the player portion of the challenge by calling out two other ACC players in Jessica Washington (North Carolina) and Bria Smith (Louisville), as well as a familiar face from Notre Dame's top rival, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of Connecticut.
Ivey wrapped up the challenges with a unique set of individuals, beginning with former Notre Dame All-American and current WNBA standout Skylar Diggins ('13) of the Tulsa Shock. She also called on University vice president/director of athletics Jack Swarbrick and head football coach Brian Kelly, before rounding things out by pointing the finger at the Indiana Pacers' Lance Stephenson (accented by Fighting Irish senior guard Madison Cable blowing in Ivey's ear, a tribute to Stephenson's similar act towards Miami Heat great LeBron James in the 2014 NBA Eastern Conference Finals).
Then, in front of several hundreds Notre Dame girls' basketball campers, all five Fighting Irish individuals had a full Gatorade bucket of water (colored "Irish Green" for added effect) dumped over their heads by their teammates, to the squeals of delight from the youthful campers.
"It was really cold and really wet, but most of all, it was a lot of fun," Ivey said. "We do this for a cause greater than ourselves, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, and I'm so happy our team could take part in this growing movement. A big thanks goes to Niya Butts and her staff at Arizona for getting the Cold Water Challenge going, and to all the coaches, players and other people who are making #Chillin4Charity such a success."
The Cold Water Challenge has already begun to go beyond the borders of the women's college basketball world, bringing in celebrities such as ESPN broadcaster Rece Davis and WNBA coaches Lin Dunn (Indiana Fever) and Dan Hughes (San Antonio Stars), as well as the members of the 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee (who collectively joined in the Challenge with a dip in the pool at their hotel in Tampa, site of the 2015 NCAA Women's Final Four). Stephenson also appears to have responded positively to Ivey's challenge, tweeting out "let's do it I'm ready" on Tuesday after being alerted to the event and what it stands for.
The Arizona women's basketball staff, led by Butts and assistant coach Calamity McEntire, continue to track the progress of the #Chillin4Charity Cold Water Challenge via Twitter and Facebook (use the listed hashtag to take part or follow along). In addition, a Storify page has been created to serve as a collection point for all of the outstanding YouTube videos that have been made by various schools and Challenge participants to document their involvement.
IRISH ALUMS CONTENDING IN EARLY WNBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING
On Tuesday, the early returns debuted from voting for the 2014 WNBA All-Star Balloting and two Notre Dame alums are among the top five in total votes at their respective positions in the initial Western Conference survey.
Skylar Diggins ('13) has been enjoying a breakout season in her second year with the Tulsa Shock, ranking fourth in the WNBA in scoring (19.5 ppg.) and fifth in assists (5.3 apg.). She currently is fourth in the All-Star balloting among Western Conference guards with 8,447 votes, trailing only Phoenix's Diana Taurasi (10,487), and a pair of Minnesota players -- Seimone Augustus (10,024) and Lindsay Whalen (8,898).
Meanwhile, Kayla McBride ('14), who ranks among the WNBA rookie leaders in scoring (11.1 ppg.) and three-point percentage (.407), is fourth in the All-Star voting among Western Conference frontcourt players with 6,220 votes, putting her one spot out of a starting nod, and tops in the voting among all Western Conference rookies (as well as third among all WNBA rookies). McBride trailed only Minnesota's Maya Moore (16,509), Los Angeles' Candace Parker (13,704) and Phoenix's Brittney Griner (10,214) in the first set of returns for Western Conference frontcourt players.
Diggins and McBride are seeking to be Notre Dame's first WNBA All-Star selections since 2005, when Ruth Riley ('01) was chosen as the starting center for the Eastern Conference while playing for the then-Detroit Shock.
The 60 players included on the ballot represent all 12 WNBA teams. Voters are asked to select two guards and three frontcourt players (forwards and/or centers) from each conference. A write-in option is also available, allowing fans to choose players not listed on the ballot (such as former Notre Dame All-America forward Devereaux Peters ('11) of the Minnesota Lynx).
Fans can vote for up to 10 players per day on WNBA.com, mobile devices, and the WNBA Center Court App, and can share those All-Star picks with friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter, encouraging others to cast their ballots as well. Fans also can cast votes on Facebook and Twitter, voting for one player per day using the designated hashtag #WNBABALLOT.
Balloting will conclude at midnight ET on Wednesday, July 2.
The WNBA will announce the starters on July 8 during the nationally televised game on ESPN2 featuring the Los Angeles Sparks at the Minnesota Lynx (9 p.m. ET). Reserves, which are voted on by the WNBA's head coaches, will be announced on ESPN2 on July 15, during the game between the Sparks and the Indiana Fever (8 p.m. ET).
The 2014 WNBA All-Star Game will take place at US Airways Center in Phoenix at 3:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. PT) on Saturday, July 19, and will be nationally televised on ESPN.
FIGHTING IRISH IN THE WNBA
Diggins is back in her home state of Indiana on Wednesday night as the South Bend native leads her Tulsa Shock into Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis to take on the Indiana Fever (7 p.m. ET on WNBA LiveAccess). Diggins is coming off a career-high 33 points in Tulsa's nationally-televised 105-99 overtime win at Chicago last Sunday. Diggins and Tulsa then return to Oklahoma this weekend for a pair of games, welcoming the Los Angeles Sparks to town on Saturday (6 p.m. ET) and the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday (4:30 p.m. ET), both on WNBA LiveAccess.
McBride, who is celebrating her 23rd birthday on Wednesday, steps back on the hardwood Thursday when her San Antonio Stars play host to the reigning Eastern Conference champion Atlanta Dream at the AT&T Center (8 p.m. ET on WNBA LiveAccess). McBride and the Stars then venture to the nation's capital to take on the Washington Mystics on Sunday at the Verizon Center (4 p.m. ET on WNBA LiveAccess).
Peters, who is averaging 3.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in nine games since returning from preseason knee surgery, next sees action on Friday, when Minnesota visits the Seattle Storm in the first of a home-and-home weekend series at KeyArena (10 p.m. ET on WNBA LiveAccess and the LiveWell Network, which includes digital channel 28.2 in South Bend). The teams then square off again Sunday at Target Center in Minneapolis (7 p.m. ET on WNBA LiveAccess and Fox Sports North).
FOLLOWING THE FIGHTING IRISH
For more information on the Notre Dame women's basketball program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women's basketball Twitter pages (@ndwbbsid or @ndwbb), like the program on Facebook (facebook.com/ndwbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director