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Libertyville  Sunday  8/12/12

Chicago Sky players coaches were The Studio/Amazing Cosmetics Libertyville for fund raiser for 'Nothing But Nets'

Libertyville Sunday, 8/12/12 Chicago Sky players and coaches were at The Studio/Amazing Cosmetics in Libertyville for a fund raiser for "Nothing But Nets," a program to stop Malaria in Africa. Center, Ruth Riley is an "Ambassador" for the organization. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media

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“Nothing But Nets” Charity Game Day was last Sunday, featuring members of the Chicago Sky women’s pro basketball team at the Amazing Cosmetics store on Cook Avenue in Libertyville.

SKY PLAYERS: Ruth Riley (6-5 center from Notre Dame), Sonja Petrovic (6-1 forward from Serbia), Carolyn Swords (6-6 center from Boston College.

Also on hand was Sky coach Pokey Chatman and assistant coach Christie Sides.

Amazing Cosmetics is a cosmetic studio.

Two portable baskets were set up in the village-owned space between the Amazing Cosmetics’ building and their neighbor to the west.

Activities used a carnival-like ticket system, 1 ticket for $3 or 4 tickets for $10, and included shooting competitions, face painting, races with hula hoops and bigwheels, and the ability to challenge Sky players to a pickup game. There were also raffles and a silent auction for gift baskets, gift certificates, sports tickets, and more. Riley gave a brief shooting clinic every hour.

The Sky have their first game after the Olympic break on Friday. They lost eight of their last nine games heading into the break after star Epiphanny Prince (22 ppg) went down with an injury, dropping them from 7-1 to 8-9.

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Updated: October 15, 2012 1:52PM

It was a chance meeting that led to last Sunday’s “Nothing But Nets Charity Game Day” fund-raising event at the Amazing Cosmetics Studio in Libertyville.

But from that meeting, caring people decided to take a chance, and it paid off with a successful fund-raiser to help needy children in Africa.

Here’s how Sue Katz, co-owner of Amazing Cosmetics, explained how Sunday’s event came to pass:

“My partner Lisa Thurman has been a supporter of Nothing But Nets, and she was downtown (Chicago) at a charity function where she met Ruth (Riley, the veteran center of the Chicago Sky women’s pro basketball team).

“The two of us, the Sky and Amazing Cosmetics, got together and the “girl thing” just kind of made sense: they’re sports and we’re makeup.

“Ruth is an ambassador for Nothing But Nets and proposed putting a day together, and here it is.”

Proceeds from the event were donated to the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, which raises awareness and funding to help fight malaria in Africa.

Transmitted by mosquitoes, malaria leads to hundreds of thousands of deaths ever year, almost 90 percent of them in African countries.

A majority of the victims are children. The foundation uses the money raised to buy mosquito nets at $10 apiece for children to sleep under. One of these was on display at the event.

Riley brought two teammates and head coach Pokey Chapman with her to the event, which featured fun activities and some semi-serious 3-on-3 hoops against older players.

Riley hit the game-tying shot and then two free throws to lift Notre Dame to the 2001 NCAA tournament championship.

She won two WNBA championship rings in Detroit and was named The Finals MVP in 2003. And she was a member of the 2004 gold medal-winning team in the Athens Olympics.

Here’s her take on Sunday’s successful endeavor:

Q: How did she get involved in the Nothing But Nets campaign?

“The NBA and WNBA, have been financers of the U.N. Foundation. They asked me when they launched the campaign if I would be a spokesperson. Having traveled there and seeing children dying from a disease that we can help prevent but don’t even think about here, it made me really passionate about the cause.”

“The great thing about the campaign is that it’s a grass-roots type of campaign. Ten dollars is an easy get. Whether you’re a student or a parent or a professional athlete, you know you’re doing something to help. Having a community day like this embodies the entire spirit of the campaign, which is coming together to help people.”

Q: The U.S. women’s team has now brought home a gold medal in every Olympics since 1996. Is it cool to know that you were a part of that?

“It’s a tremendous honor to represent your country and to know that I’m a small part of winning five Olympics in a row for USA Basketball. I think it shows how far women’s sports have come in the United States, especially basketball. Girls have so many more opportunities now to start playing at a young age, and you never know where it can take you. I dreamed about playing in the Olympics, and people probably thought I was crazy growing up. It was a dream come true.”

Q: Does the nature of WNBA basketball, with players heading overseas during the offseason, make it difficult to get involved in these kind of functions the way a Bulls or Bears player might during the offseason?

“For scheduling reasons we don’t have as much opportunity during the offseason, but we try to make up for it by doing a tremendous amount during the season. Personally, I try to split my offseason where I’m here in the United States helping some of the charities I work with and then head overseas halfway through.”

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