RALEIGH — N.C. State women's basketball associate head coach Stephanie Glance said on Wednesday that she and the program's staff and players would be wise to again draw from the wisdom of Kay Yow.
Glance learned on Tuesday that Yow would take a leave of absence for the remainder of this season to address health issues related to stage-four breast cancer.
During a news conference on Wednesday, Glance recalled Yow's "uncanny ability to shift gears" in dealing with life and basketball tasks.
As the Wolfpack tries to move forward during what has become a sad and difficult time, Glance thought it best to mirror Yow's example. She will serve as interim head coach and now must call upon her 15 seasons on the bench next to the Hall of Fame coach.
"We have to be able to switch gears," Glance said. "We have to focus on basketball when we're between the lines. When we're not, our thoughts immediately go to Coach Yow."
Yow, 66, was first diagnosed with cancer in 1987. She has coached with metastatic breast cancer since 2004. Low energy levels, along with advice from her oncologist, Dr. Mark Graham, have forced her to take a leave of absence to focus on the treatment of her disease. She will revisit the possibility of returning to the bench at the end of the season.
Inside Reynolds Coliseum, on Kay Yow Court, the Pack returned to basketball on Wednesday, with Glance, and assistants Jenny Palmateer and Trena Trice-Hill overseeing practice.
Players moved intensely through offensive and defensive sets, trying to prepare for State's ACC opener at No. 2-ranked North Carolina on Sunday.
Afterward, senior point guard Shayla Fields shed some light on what they were feeling.
"Coach Yow has touched so many people you can't not let it affect your life," she said. "What she goes through on an everyday basis, you can't imagine. Everybody who's been through this program feels the same way. They are emotional about it, and it's just a hard time."
As the team's only senior, Fields said she's taken it upon herself to speak out to help teammates. She was a sophomore during the 2006-07 season when Yow took a 16-game leave of absence and remembered how the experience made her feel "shell-shocked."
"I know that they have questions so I try to speak up and try to communicate with the younger players this is something we can't control," Fields said.
Glance said she doesn't expect the program's day-to-day operations to change during Yow's absence. She keeps in close contact with the coach, though she doesn't expect Yow to call her during halftime to discuss game situations.
Glance, again following Yow's lead, said she told the team it has no control over what has happened but does have control over how it responds. She expects the team to vigorously pursue ACC opponents and remain as optimistic as Yow.
"We've watched her battle cancer for so long, and she doesn't get down," Glance said. "So as her staff and players, we don't get down either because she doesn't allow us to. It's hard to be down when the person battling cancer is so upbeat and going about every day."
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