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In The (Pink) Zone

Feb. 19, 2010

by Jon Cooper
Associate Editor

ATLANTA – Sometimes a basketball game is just a basketball game.

Such is the case tonight for the 19th-ranked Georgia Tech women’s basketball team.

“[Tonight] is much bigger than winning a basketball game,” said Head Coach MaChelle Joseph. “We always talk about our program being bigger than basketball and this is bigger than what is going on between the lines.”

There is no slight intended toward their opponent, ACC leader and eighth-ranked Duke, who they meet at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. (Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.).

In an ACC context games don’t come much bigger than Duke and the Yellow Jackets would like to beat the Blue Devils to gain momentum heading into the regular season’s final week. But over-riding the game tonight is a bigger issue.

Tonight Georgia Tech hosts its “WBCA Pink Zone®” game.

“The WBCA Pink Zone®” was started in 2007 by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association to help raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. This year it runs from Feb. 12 through 21. Originally called “Think Pink,” the movement is hoping to surpass the more than $1.3 million it raised last season and, as important, spread awareness about the dangers of breast cancer to an even wider group of young women across college campuses and communities.

“It’s a personal game for anyone who participates in it,” said forward Deja Foster. “A lot of people don’t really know about breast cancer and how it can affect others. So just bringing awareness to women all around is great.”

The Yellow Jackets players will don pink uniforms, shooting shirts, headbands and even laces, while the staff will adorn special pink ribbons. They’ve encouraged fans to show their solidarity to the cause by wearing pink.

Breast cancer, is the second-leading cause of death for women and the leading cause for women between the ages of 20 and 59. The malady strikes especially close to the college basketball community, as last Jan. 24, it claimed North Carolina State Head Coach Kay Yow.

Yow valiantly fought three separate bouts with breast cancer, beginning in 1987, and dedicated her life to finding a cure. She started the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund® in partnership with the V Foundation in 2007. The V Foundation is named for the late Jim Valvano, former N.C. State’s men’s head basketball coach, who died of cancer in 1993.

As part of the halftime, Yow’s picture will grace the video board and her life will be remembered.

One person who won’t need to wait until halftime to reminisce is Joseph.

“She’s a mentor,” she said. “The thing that stood out about Kay, she made an effort to sit beside me in my first coaches meeting. She did that to everyone. She just had a way about her. It just seemed everyone would hang on her every word.”

The halftime ceremony also will salute the lives of cancer survivors in attendance, who will be invited to stand so as to be recognized for their courage by the crowd.

On the concourse, several groups, including the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund®, Susan G. Komen For The Cure, St. Michael’s Medical Center, and The Waves of Hope Dragon Boat Team, will have tables set up to answer questions and provide information.

This is a case where knowledge really is power.

“We’re fighting the fight to find a cure for it and to raise awareness,” said Foster. “A lot of women don’t know how to take care of themselves when it comes to things like this. So the fact that we’ll be playing this game that represents women, it’s something that is very special.”

Foster has made a special effort to spread the word to Tech’s students whether riding The Stinger, the Tech Trolley or just walking around campus. She hopes the student body will respond and rally to the cause.

“Our ‘Think Pink’ game has always drawn a big crowd,” she said. “I expect it will be a big crowd because we’re playing Duke. We really want a lot of the students to come out. I sparked up conversation and let them know we’ve got a game Friday and they should come. It’s our ‘Think Pink’ and to wear pink. I’m sure a lot of people will be out there supporting us and breast cancer Awareness with their pink on.”

Those wishing to donate to the Kay Yow /WBCA Cancer Fund® may do so on line at

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