Kay Yow was the head coach of the North Carolina State Women’s basketball team from 1975-2009. In her career as the coach, Yow was able to accomplish things that many coaches can only dream of achieving.
For one, Yow was able to eclipse the 700 win mark. In 1988, Yow was named the coach of the U.S Women’s basketball coach and the team wound up winning gold in the Olympics. While Yow was coaching, she was hit with bad news in 1987. It was found that Yow had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Yow would continue to battle the brutal disease up until her final day on Jan. 24, 2009 when she passed away from stage 4 breast cancer.
Today, there is now an award given out in her name to the women’s basketball coach who displays great personal character on and off the court.
According to Mercy Mavericks Women’s basketball coach Rashidi Aikens, “The Kay Yow Cancer Fund, in partnership with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and the V Foundation, is a charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women’s cancers through raising money for scientific research, and unifying people to fight this disease.”
Kay Yow’s legacy still lives today in the hearts of all women’s coaches today. On Feb. 6, Mercy’s men’s and women’s basketball teams took the court for a double header in which to honor the legacy of Kay Yow in a game to ” Think Pink.” Both teams collected donations before and during the games and also raffled off many gift baskets which all the money went straight to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. While everyone was doing their part to try to create awareness, the Women’s basketball team did something unique of their own. Instead of wearing the normal home uniform, the team came out and played in special pink uniforms to honor Kay Yow, and to raise awareness for breast cancer.
As for the game itself, the Mavericks found themselves on the losing end of the battle with rival school Dowling by a score of 97-65. For the Mavericks, freshman guard Maggie Salomane led the way with 15 points on 4-for-12 shooting, and was also able to connect on 5-for-8 on free throws. Forward Tanayzha Augustine also had a solid game for the Mavericks. Augustine was able to pull off yet another double-double, securing 13 rebounds to go along with her 13 points on 5-for-11 shooting from the field. Augustine also led both teams in blocks with three. Both on offense and defense, Augustine was a force all day long for the Mavericks. Unfortunately for Mercy, Dowling’s Julia Koppl was having a solid game of her own rattling off 25 points on 11-13 shooting and also grabbed seven rebounds to go along with her seven assists. Dowling shot an impressive 52 percent from the field which made it tough for Mercy to pull out a win.
While the Mavericks unfortunately were not able to grab a win against Dowling, the donations that were given to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund was a definite success. According to coach Rashidi Aikens in talking about Kay Yow, he said “She was an ambassador in the fight for cancer, wanting coaches to come together in unity by raising awareness and money to fight cancer.”
And that is exactly what the coaches did, they came together to fight for cancer and raised awareness by giving money to the fight.
This was more than just another basketball game, this was a game to raise awareness for the disease that took the life of former great Kay Yow.