Player with brain tumor fulfills basketball dream

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Lauren Hill: One More Game

CINCINNATI (AP) - In between making two layups that brought a packed arena to its feet, Lauren Hill spent much of this inspiring game sitting on the bench wearing sunglasses and headphones.

The bright gym and roar of the crowd are still special to Hill, an inoperable brain tumor, though, has made her extremely sensitive to sensations her teammates and opponents take for granted.

The freshman forward for Division III Mount St. Joseph's made an uncontested left-handed layup for the opening basket of Sunday's 66-55 victory over Hiram College. Hill has just months to live because of the tumor, which affects her coordination, forcing the right-hander to shoot with her left hand.

She made the last shot of the game, too, returning with 26.5 seconds remaining to sink a layup right-handed for the game's final basket.

"Today has been the best day I've ever had," Hill said after receiving another award upon the game's end.

Her shots brought standing ovations from a sellout crowd at Xavier University's 10,000-seat arena, among many emotional moments for Hill as she received love and support upon walking out for warmups. Her audience included former Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt and several WNBA players including Elena Della Donne, Tamika Catchings and Skylar Diggins.

Moved by the reactions - especially after receiving the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Pat Summitt most courageous award normally awarded at the Final Four - Hill said of the disease, "we're gonna fight this."

Hill's determination to play while raising awareness about pediatric cancer has resulted in a fan base that goes far beyond the school located on the outskirts of Cincinnati.

The 19-year-old Lawrenceburg, Indiana, native's fight has led to an outpouring of nationwide support. Teams and players have signed and sent No. 22 jerseys to Hill, including 15 from high schools that draped the backs of the Lions' bench.

Hill started an online layup challenge that involves spinning around five times and shooting a layup with the non-dominant hand. Similar to this summer's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that became a social media phenomenon, the fundraising campaign (#Layup4Lauren) has drawn Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and other athletes.

The Bengals showed a video of her layup during a timeout. Defensive tackle Devon Still -whose daughter, Leah, 4, is also being treated for cancer - wore Hill's name on his eye black; Whitworth had the No. 22 on his gloves.

A series of videos were shown with teams meeting the challenge - with missed layups - and challenging others.

Fundraising by The Cure Starts Now Foundation totaled more than $40,000. The NCAA allowed the game to be moved up two weeks because of the urgency of Hill's condition.

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Lauren Hill - basketball player - brain tumor - NCAA - updated 11/2/2014
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Player with brain tumor fulfills basketball dream
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Lauren Hill. Her courage will never be forgotten. http://t.co/XMl0hLwWLQ http://t.co/23mNCb62yQ
She asked me to tell her story so others wouldn't suffer. She became one of my closest friends. Goodbye. I love you! https://t.co/gZtQ61Xw7E
The courage Lauren Hill demonstrated was awe inspiring. I hope her family finds some solace in knowing how many lives she touched.
Lauren Hill, Inspirational NCAA Hoopster, Loses Battle With Cancer http://t.co/2EVfWQ6yCb
#RIP Lauren Hill .. you were an inspiration to a lot of individuals with or without cancer. 🙏🏻❤️ http://t.co/kUz8y7wbRF
RIP Lauren Hill. Your bravery in the face of cancer was mesmerizing. An angel rises… http://t.co/1oWZ0QhJnA
RIP, Lauren Hill. An inspiration. http://t.co/rgUZOIyBGg http://t.co/MmZaM1YDkJ
RIP Lauren Hill. Thank you for using the game we love to inspire us all. Forever teammates in spirit. #BeatDIPG ❤️ http://t.co/0ziB0k4QJw
So sad to hear, RIP: Lauren Hill, 19, dies after her battle with brain cancer" http://t.co/f5hnhAWvEu via @FoxSports http://t.co/AIJAyXao9G
Her story inspired us all, on and off the court. RIP, Lauren Hill. She has passed away at 19. http://t.co/EFmrMQqRs7 http://t.co/HykDtlUXx4
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill hugs Pat Summit after receiving the Pat Summitt Award during halftime of her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. WNBA Player Tamika Devonne Catchings, of the Indiana Fever is at the right. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill gives thumbs up as she holds the game ball during her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Sunday Nov 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill, right, cheers on her team with teammate Brooke Mosler during her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sunday Nov 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. Hill is wearing sunglasses to protect her eyes from the bright lights. Hill is wearing ear and eye protection to help her with the lights and noise. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill gets congratulated by teammate Tara Dennis, right, after scoring during her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill takes a break as her team warms up before her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sunday Nov 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill, center, gets congratulated by teammates after scoring during her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sunday Nov 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill laughs with a teammate at before her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sunday, Nov 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
A Mount St. Joseph's fans cheers for Lauren Hill during her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sunday Nov 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill catches a pass and prepares to shoot during her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sunday Nov 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
A Mount St. Joseph's fan wears a tshirt for Lauren Hill during her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sunday Nov 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill stands with Patt Summit, right, and WNBA Player Tamika Devonne Catchings, of the Indiana Fever, left, after recieving the Pat Summitt Award during halftime of her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sunday Nov 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill catches a pass and prepares to shoot during her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sunday Nov 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill shoots a lay up during her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sunday Nov 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill slaps hands with Brilyn Webb, left, before the start of her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sunday Nov 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. Hill is wearing sunglasses to protect her eyes from the bright lights. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill hugs Patt Summit, center, and WNBA Player Tamika Devonne Catchings, of the Indiana Fever, right, after recieving the Pat Summitt Award during halftime of her first NCAA college basketball game against Hiram University at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Sunday Nov 2, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph watches the action during the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph watches the action during the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph watches the action during the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph celebrates with her teammates after the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph celebrates with her teammates after the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph celebrates with her teammates after the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph celebrates with her teammates after the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph celebrates with her teammates after the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph talks to the media with her parents Lisa Hill and Brent Hill after the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill # 22 of Mount St. Joseph warms up before the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph stands during an awards ceremony following the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill #22 of Mount St. Joseph waves during the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph celebrates with her teammates after scoring her first basket during the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph gets a hug from an opponent before the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph is introduced before the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph is introduced before the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph shoots to score her first basket during the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph shoots to score her first basket during the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph shoots to score her first basket during the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph warms up before the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph warms up before the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph warms up before the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph warms up before the game against Hiram at Cintas Center on November 2, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill, a freshman, has terminal cancer and this game was granted a special waiver by the NCAA to start the season early so she could play in a game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Lauren Hill smiles as she talks with reporters after practicing with her NCAA college basketball team at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, will be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Lauren Hill, center, poses for a photo with her teammates after practicing with the NCAA college basketball team at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. Hill had made her choice. She would play basketball at the Division III school in the suburbs. Soon afterward, she started feeling bad and got tests that found an inoperable mass in her brain. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Coach Dan Benjamin wears bands around his wrist for Lauren Hill as he runs the practice of the NCAA college basketball team at Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati on Thursday Oct. 23, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph University's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, will be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Lauren Hill stretches as she practices with her NCAA college basketball team at Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati on Thursday Oct. 23, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Lauren Hill, the heroic and inspirational college basketball player fighting for her life and the chance for One Last Game, has issued the first #Layup4Lauren challenge to raise awareness and money for The Cure Starts Now, a non-profit charity raising money to find a cure for DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma). Here are the first to be challenged: LeBron James, Spud Webb, the Dallas Mavericks, Becky Hammon, Zane White, Andrew Whitworth and Andy Dalton. To see more on Lauren's story click here: http://youtu.be/hsU24D42PgQ To donate click here: http://www.layup4lauren.org
Lauren Hill (22) finishes practice with her NCAA college basketball team at Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. She's turning those last few months into a celebration of life and a chance to support a cause. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Lauren Hill, left, practices with her NCAA college basketball team at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, will be able to play in a college basketball game. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Lauren Hill, left foreground, slaps hands with teammates as she practices with her NCAA college basketball team at Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati on Thursday Oct. 23, 2014. Soon after deciding to play basketball at the Division III school, she started feeling bad and got tests that found an inoperable mass in her brain. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Lauren Hill takes a break as she practices with her NCAA college basketball team at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati on Thursday Oct. 23, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph University's season opener to be moved up to Nov. 2, so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, will be able to play in a college basketball game. AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Coach Dan Benjamin wears a T-shirt with Lauren HIll's number as he runs the practice for the NCAA college basketball team at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati on Thursday Oct. 23, 2014. The NCAA allowed Mount St. Joseph University's season opener to be changed to Nov. 2 so that Hill, who has an inoperable brain tumor, will be able to play in a college basketball game. Hill's got only a few months to live, and she's spending a good part of it on the basketball court getting ready for her one shining moment. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Lauren Hill gets congratulation from a teammate after practicing with her NCAA college basketball team at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. She's got only a few months to live, and she's spending a good part of it on the basketball court getting ready for her one shining moment. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
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Lauren Hildebrand and daughter Allie, a Lawrenceburg High School sophomore, were among 3,000 from the town who got tickets, including the school's pep band. Allie Hildebrand was Hill's "little sister" during the player's senior year and said handling her friend's illness was difficult.

"You can't cry in front of her," Hildebrand said. "You don't want to get upset in front of her. That makes her upset."

Tears were conspicuously absent on an upbeat day that celebrated Hill's perseverance.

Smiling upon entering the floor for warmups, Hill's mood lifted the spirits of several children enduring various forms of cancer. That included Cynthia Towne, 11, who undergoes periodic chemotherapy for a less-aggressive form of cancer first diagnosed at 4.

The little girl from Cincinnati grinned widely as she gave Hill a specially-made headband sporting the word "Believe" with a yellow ribbon in the middle. Encouraged by recent diagnoses for her daughter, Katie Towne said Sunday was nonetheless bittersweet.

"I'm happy for the joy of her getting her wish coming true, not only for raising awareness but also for being able to play in this game," Towne said. "But there's also sadness knowing that how much awareness she brings right now, she won't get to reap the benefits personally.

"That's what's amazing; she did this, knowing that," Towne said.

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