On Saturday, Feb. 18, on top of an 85-60 win over Frostburg State University, the St. Mary’s women’s basketball team hosted a “Play 4 Kay” event at the Michael P. O’Brien Athletic and Recreation Center (MPOARC) to benefit the Kay Yow Cancer fund.
The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is a women’s cancer fund that raises money “for scientific research, assisting the undeserved, and unifying people for a common cause,” according to its webpage. The fund is in honor of former North Carolina State women’s basketball head coach Kay Yow who fought breast cancer for 22 years after being diagnosed in 1987. Yow started the fund in 2007 with her colleagues, and lost her battle with the disease in 2009.
The Play 4 Kay initiative, lasting from Feb. 11 to the 18, is an opportunity for college coaches across the country to support the fund and raise breast cancer awareness. Overall, the program has brought in over five million dollars to the fund.
In her first year as head coach for the women’s team, Crystal Gibson decided to take part in the program because “breast cancer has affected the Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association (WBCA) community deeply,” she said. “It’s been a WBCA coach’s initiative for about five years now.”
Frostburg, who hosted their Play 4 Kay event on Saturday, Feb. 11, also wore their pink out shirts to support the event.
Gibson also has hosted the Play 4 Kay events for the past five years as head coach at other universities, including the past three years at Arcadia University, and the previous two at Frostburg.
With all proceeds from last Saturday’s game, including the profits from selling “pink out” t-shirts, raffle tickets, and concessions, going to the fund, the event raised roughly $750.
Though last Saturday brought in a win for the team, their season came to a close on Tuesday, Feb. 21 in a 72-47 first round playoff loss to Marymount University. Overall, the Seahawks went 10-16 on the season and 8-8 in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC).
Gibson had positive remarks about the season. “There was tremendous growth,” she explained. “We have a young team, and no seniors, so we’ll have everyone back next season. As a new coach, we had a transitional period early on, but near the end we saw some great games including [the Frostburg game].”