A noble battle occurred this Sunday between the women’s basketball team of Tech and N.C. State, fought not just in the spirit of competition, but altruistically in the fight against breast cancer as well as in loving memory of one of college’s basketballs legends, the late NC State Coach Kay Yow.
A charity event, raising over $4000 for the WBCA/Kay Yow Cancer Fund for breast cancer, accompanied the game. The revenue for the fund was generated through $2,000 from ACC’s Chow 4 Yow, $1,730 through the selling of pink apparel, and $301.50 in pledges per Tech point, an initiative known as “Score 4 the Cure.”
“I really thought it was an important game for many reasons. I really felt like our players stepped up and played with vigor and passion and that our program is bigger than basketball. The teams determination in the first five minutes really set the tone,” said Head Coach MaChelle Joseph.
The players, clad in pink to symbolize the struggle against the breast cancer, squared off in a tight match in which Tech maintained consistent dominance. Pushing ahead into a tight win within the first two minutes, Tech consistently kept this lead throughout the entire match, topping NC State 67-54.
The match continued to only worsen for NC State, with Tech having the double score of NC State for a large chunk of the first half. Despite their valiant efforts, NC State was unable to make a defensive push against Tech. NC State’s frustration began to show, with the situation getting perpetually more aggressive near the end of the half when players from both sides began to foul repeatedly resulting in mass free throws. Unfortunately, this translated into bad news for NC State, who watched Tech sink nearly ever free throw.
After ending the first half with a 10-point lead, Tech continued their aggressive style well into the next half of the game, trying to maintain the wide margin that NC State was gradually closing in on. Free throws continued to be the driving force in the second half and a key element in Tech’s decisive victory. The large differences in teams became more noticeable as well, seen through Tech’s ability to capture rebounds and control long-distance passes. This constant tug-of-war between Tech’s desire for a 20-point lead and NC State’s damage control continued for the remainder of the game.
Tech eventually managed to creep into a 20-point lead. However, NC State’s refusal and determination allowed them to end the match with a loss closer to 10 points (67-54).
Tech’s team, in the end, outperformed N.C. State in most respects.
Sasha Goodlett, a freshman center, received a great deal of praise from Joseph for her performances in the past few games, as she has averaged 20 points per game.
“Our freshmen are really coming on strong in February. A lot of people get discouraged when they don’t get a lot of minutes. But my kids continue to work hard and continue to improve,” Joseph said.
“I needed my teams support and felt more confident that I was more focused on making the shot. I give them all my time because they got me and they believe in me,” Goodlett said.
“I was disappointed in the performance today. Credits to Georgia Tech, they did a great job today with their control of the rebound. We did what we could against them. In the first half, we had fifteen feet shots that we couldn’t get, that combined with multiple fouls and [the fact that we] didn’t take things away defensively that we need to gain,” said NC State Head Coach Stephanie Glance.
The coach also noted that they’ve had several losses due to injuries and have had to make up for a lack of depth. She also expects a massive improvement in the team next year when the injured players return. She also noted that while the loss of Coach Yow was tragic, it doesn’t affect their skill on the court because they are fighting for a great cause.
“Because of the person [Coach Yow] was, there’s a hole left in everybody’s heart that we’re all trying to deal with,” Glance said.
“I think the way Coach Yow lived her life and the way she interacted with everyone was inspiring. She never knew a stranger and had a kind word for everybody she met. She was competitive, and she wanted to win and bring it, but the one thing you always knew was her spirit and her competitive greatness,” said Coach Joseph.
“She spoke highly of me and I spoke highly of her. She came to my house. I remember she was a strong woman. I’ll never forget the day when she said I had heart,” said sophomore forward Iasia Hemingway.