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Ruth Riley's Passion for Sports Meets Her Passion for Helping Children

WNBA Veteran Ruth Riley is in Africa where she is helping to spread the messages of health and sports through her organizations NothingButNets, NoKidHungry, and Inspire Transformation. You can see photos from her travels on Twitter and Instagram.

Kamhlushwa, South Africa, March 19, 2014 -- As I sit in my hut in Kamhlushwa, South Africa, it occurs to me that my passion for basketball (particularly for the NCAA Tournament) and my passion for helping children have intersected. Since 2006 I have been a spokesperson for the UN Foundation's NothingButNets campaign. It is a global, grassroots effort to prevent malaria, one of the leading killers of children under the age of five throughout Africa. This year I have decided to engage some of the WNBA players, my former Notre Dame teammates, and all the basketball fans around the world by asking them to take their passion for the NCAA tournament and make a difference!

The idea is simple, we are going to pledge a net ($10) for each game our favorite college team plays in the tournament. All you have to do is click on this link before each round, or for just a game of your choice, and fill in the blank with the name of your favorite college team as you make your donation. It's simple and all donations are tax-deductible! A simple $10 donation will send a net and save a life.

There is nothing in sports quite like the NCAA Tournament. From the Cinderella stories to the projected powerhouses, the unlikely heroes to the All-Americans, the buzzer beaters to the heartbreaking losses, The Big Dance is like an entire season of Scandal packed into a drama-filled few weeks. It is the time of year where we dust off our lucky T-Shirts, fill out our brackets, and reconnect with old college friends.

As a proud Notre Dame alumnus, it was hard not to get excited about Selection Monday falling on St. Patty's Day. I remember the days where our team would gather over at Coach McGraw's house to anxiously watch the brackets unfold and then examine our seeding to see what our projected path would be to get to that coveted National Championship. Sadly, (and luckily) I received the seeds via the internet this year and not from ESPN. And they are definitely didn't serve any green beer where I am. However, I get to spend time in Africa, a continent that I am extremely passionate about, and use the platform of sports to help!

I would be honored if you would join me in supporting NothingButNets as you cheer on your favorite team this month, and may the best team win!

Go Irish!!