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Love And Basketball

Feb. 1, 2011

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team takes on Maryland Thursday night at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

While only one team will walk away with a higher score and a ‘W’ in the ACC standings — Georgia Tech (18-6, 6-2) is fourth in the ACC, while Maryland (18-3, 4-2) is sixth — that team won’t be the only winner leaving AMC.

Pretty much everyone will be winners — from the current Yellow Jackets female student-athletes and alumni in all sports, who came in and came back to the arena, young girls from all over metro Atlanta who may one day be student-athletes at Georgia Tech, businesswomen from the city and a charity dedicated to a two-year-old boy and others who suffer from a similar illness.

It’s all part of Georgia Tech’s celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day and the seventh annual Women Out Front Celebration.

“Our goal is to tie-in the community and our women’s programs,” said Georgia Tech Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator Theresa Wenzel. “Our female teams have done a lot of community outreach with Girls on the Run, but we’ve also sent an open invitation, which is why we made it free for all females, to the Girls Scouts of Atlanta, Go Girl Go, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters, so everybody can participate and meet our student-athletes and celebrate the day. National Girls and Women In Sport Day’s tag line this year is ‘Play, Believe, Achieve.’ That’s something that, for our female population, they’ve been very successful in all those areas.”

All girls and women will be allowed in free for the game and the festivities.

The night will begin with a meet-and-greet on the concourse, where those attending can visit with athletes from the different Georgia Tech women’s sports, including the volleyball, softball, swimming and diving and cross-country teams. Decorated alumni, including track athletes Ashlee Kidd, Chaunte Howard, Amandi Rhett and Dana Rogers will sign autographs, as will current swimming and diving coach and two-time Olympic medalist Courtney Hart.

At halftime of the event, a special ceremony for the seventh annual Women Out Front, will honor women who have made a difference in the Atlanta community and in basketball. Included in that ceremony will be Fox 5 anchor Amanda Davis, for her work with Wednesday’s Child, an organization that helps find homes for children in foster care and has been a pet project for Georgia Tech head women’s basketball coach MaChelle Joseph and her program.

“Wednesday’s Child is something that women’s basketball had done in the first semester,” said Wenzel. “They had a couple of girls come through that had a strong desire with basketball and had come from a broken home, that I think have since been adopted by foster parents. That’s something for which MaChelle and her program have done a tremendous amount of community service. For our basketball student-athletes to take the time in the first semester to spend and talk with them and show them some drills and do some things, is a great representation not only of what MaChelle and her program does, but really all of our female programs do.”

Also at halftime, Georgia Tech will donate a check to the Team Tyler Foundation, which was founded in honor of Maryland head coach Brenda Frese’s two-year-old son, Tyler Thomas, who was diagnosed with leukemia in September 2010.

The foundation aims to bring awareness to leukemia and children fighting the disease.It’s another cause that has drawn coach Joseph’s attention.

“Although Brenda and MaChelle are competitors, every year we see Brenda’s twins,” said Wenzel. “That’s something that MaChelle had asked for because she knows how difficult it has been and how important it is to recognize that.

“MaChelle has dealt with her mom being diagnosed with breast cancer and from that standpoint, you recognize how simple life really is,” Wenzel continued. “It’s not about wins and losses. It’s about quality time with your family. For MaChelle, it was recognizing that and letting Brenda know that she supports her. She understands what she’s going through.”

On Thursday, Georgia Tech will show the girls and women of Atlanta and the world that they have their support.

For more on the Team Tyler Foundation, visit www.teamtylerfoundation.com.

For more on Wednesday’s Child, visit www.wednesdayschildga.org.

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