Play4Kay, in its 11th year on ESPN networks, will feature ten top-ranked teams on Sunday, Feb. 19, and Monday, Feb. 20 on ESPN2 and ESPNU. The annual event raises funds and awareness for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, an organization that has committed itself to women’s cancer research initiatives. In partnership with the V Foundation for Cancer Research, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund awards grants that support women’s cancer research across the country each year. Play4Kay brings coaches, players and universities together to celebrate the life of the late NC State head coach Kay Yow, who battled breast cancer.
This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the 2007 “magical” run, when NC State defeated then-No. 2 North Carolina and went on to reach the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. It was a season in which Yow was sidelined due to her medical treatments and condition, but still returned throughout the season, not only inspiring her players, but many others across the country.
Since its inception, the Play4Kay initiative – with support from the NCAA, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and the V Foundation – has helped to provide more than $5 million dollars to support women’s cancer research.
- Features with former assistant coaches and players discussing Coach Yow’s impact on women’s basketball and their lives, and how they channel her strength, power and life lessons into their daily lives
- Former assistant coach and Kay Yow Cancer Fund Executive Director Stephanie Glance shares how the Play4Kay initiative began, and how others can support the Fund
- Sunday studio coverage with host Zubin Mehenti and analysts Rebecca Lobo and Andy Landers
- 15 NC State will take on Wake Forest (2 p.m., ESPNU) from “Kay Yow Court” in Reynolds Coliseum; cancer survivors will be recognized during halftime
- Big Monday presented by eBay on ESPN2 features No. 2 Maryland playing No. 12 Ohio State (7 p.m.), followed by No. 4 Baylor at No. 8 Texas (9 p.m.)
- The Wolfpack are having one of their best seasons in recent memory, moving to No. 15 in the rankings with some stellar wins on their resume already. Mechelle Voepel looks at the 10-year anniversary of NC State’s “magical” 2006-07 season, and the refurbished Reynolds Coliseum (Mechelle Voepel)
- “Yowisms” – they’re well-known and oft-repeated phrases that Kay Yow said time and again to her players, whether they were celebrating a victory, looking for guidance or facing adversary. All these years later, all of them – whether from those who coached alongside her or played for her – still draw inspiration from these phrases in their daily lives; interviews with Stephanie Glance and Marquetta Dickens. (Melanie Jackson)
- Appalachian State coach Angel Elderkin watched cancer take her mom’s life after a seven-year fight. Then Elderkin received her own cancer diagnosis in May, waking up from a procedure to remove a cyst on her ovaries to hear her doctor say, “you have cancer.” We focus on how Sylvia Hatchell – who had never met Elderkin but is a cancer survivor herself – helped the Appalachian State coach get into Lineberger for treatment. (Sean Morrison)
Play4Kay Game Schedule
|Sun, Feb 19||Noon||North Carolina at No. 14 Louisville
Sam Gore, Sue Bird
|1 p.m.||Temple at No. 22 USF
Tiffany Greene, Fran Harris
|2 p.m.||Wake Forest at No. 15 NC State
Roy Philpott, Deb Antonelli
|3 p.m.||No. 6 South Carolina at Missouri
Bob Picozzi, Brooke Weisbrod
|5 p.m.||No. 7 Notre Dame at No. 21 Syracuse
Pam Ward, Gail Goestenkors
|Mon, Feb 20||7 p.m.||Big Monday presented by eBay as part of Play4Kay
No. 2 Maryland at No. 12 Ohio State
Beth Mowins, Deb Antonelli
|9 p.m.||Big Monday presented by eBay as part of Play4Kay
No. 4 Baylor at No. 8 Texas
Dave O’Brien, Kara Lawson
Kay Yow Legacy
Yow’s coaching career spanned more than 38 years, including 34 with NC State. She had a record of 737-344, which encompassed 20 NCAA championship bids, a Women’s Final Four appearance in 1998 and four ACC Tournament championships. She also served as the assistant women’s Olympic team coach in 1984 and head coach of the U.S. Olympic women’s gold medal team in 1988. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 and the inaugural NC State Hall of Fame in October, 2012. Yow won the inaugural Jimmy V ESPY for Perseverance Award in 2007.
The Kay Yow Cancer Fund
The Kay Yow Cancer Fund was officially founded on December 3, 2007 from the vision of the organization’s namesake Kay Yow, former NC State University head women’s basketball coach. Coach Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 before succumbing to the disease on January 24, 2009. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women’s cancers through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved, and unifying people for a common cause. To date, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund has supported over $5.18 million in women’s cancer research and related programs focused on women’s cancers. For more information on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund or to make a donation, please visit www.KayYow.com.
About The V Foundation for Cancer Research
The V Foundation for Cancer Research is dedicated to declaring victory over cancer. It was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, the Foundation has funded more than $170 million in cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations to cancer research and related programs. Due to generous donors, the Foundation has an endowment that covers administrative expenses. The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive awards process vetted by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on the V Foundation, please visit www.jimmyv.org.
Founded in 1981, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association promotes women’s basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as a sport for women and girls. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is the WBCA’s charity of choice. For more information on the WBCA, please visit www.wbca.org.
About ESPN Corporate Citizenship
ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplifts the human spirit. Its corporate citizenship programs use power of sport to positively address society’s needs through strategic community investments, cause marketing programs, collaboration with sports organizations and employee volunteerism, while also utilizing its diverse media assets. For more information go to www.espn.com/citizenship.