Poets Play 4 Kay

Poets Play 4 Kay

Sophie Harper


The Whittier College Women’s Basketball team went all out to support cancer research during the ‘Play4Kay’ game on Wednesday, Feb. 13. Despite losing 76 – 67 against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens, the Women’s Basketball team played for a cause that was bigger than themselves and basketball. The ‘Play4Kay’ is an annual game where the players wear pink to show support for the Cancer Support and Research Foundation. 

Sandra Kay Yow was the coach for the North Carolina State University Women’s basketball team and made it to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. She fought an on-again, off-again 22-year battle with cancer until she passed away in 2009. Third-year Cali Cubel explained that the ‘Play4Kay’ game is part of the “pink phenomenon” that started during the 2004 - 2005 season, when Coach Yow’s cancer returned after 17 years of remission. “The ‘Play4Kay’ game is played all over the country to help raise awareness and fundraise money for cancer research,” said Cubel.

‘Play4Kay’ started as a grassroots fundraiser for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Since the fund’s beginning, $7.53 million has been granted for research towards womens’ cancers. Women’s college basketball teams wore pink to support not only Yow, but all of those who are battling cancer. The movement led to the establishment of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and the ‘Play4Kay’ initiative in 2007. Coach Yow was an avid supporter of enriching the community and used both her passion for coaching to unify teams and coaches against one common enemy: cancer. According to the foundation’s website, “Coach Yow’s vision encompassed not only her wish to fund cancer research, but also her desire for coaches to enrich their lives by serving others.” Fourth-year Mia Maglinte said that “it was an honor for my teammates and I to be able to play in her memory and help raise awareness.” 

The loss of the game ultimately eliminated the team from the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) playoffs as they moved down to number five, one spot out of the playoffs. Maglinte felt that honoring Kay through playing, as well as the team was helping to raise awareness is something that she will not forget. Maglinte explained that this year they wore pink warm-up shirts and pink socks to show their support and raise awareness, but the team hopes to do more fundraising next year prior to the annual ‘Play4Kay’ game. Cubel said, “It felt good to be able to play for something that is bigger than basketball and to honor someone’s memory.” 

Women’s Basketball ended up placing at number five in SCIAC, just missing out of the playoffs. The Poets might not be going to the playoffs because of the loss against Pomona-Pitzer. The Poets still had a strong season as they ended up going 7 – 9 in conference and 11 – 13 overall, and The Poets did end their season on a high note, on senior night, as they won over the University of California Santa Cruz of a score of 60 – 51.