RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina State coach Kay Yow decided
she needed a new approach to treat her recurrence of breast cancer,
the latest in a variety of ailments to hit her in the past year.
The Hall of Fame women's basketball coach decided to follow a
new dietary plan -- no meat, no dairy products, no sugar and all
organic food. So far, that's her only treatment after having the
tumor removed last month.
"For a Southern gal like me, it's a complete overhaul," Yow
said Thursday before returning from a two-game absence to lead the
Wolfpack against Miami. "It's nothing I'm used to doing."
Her players wore pink laces in their right shoes -- pink is the
symbol for breast cancer awareness -- for the third straight game,
and Yow received a rousing ovation when she was introduced before
Then she got the best tribute of the day: NC State rallied from
eight points down early in the second half to win 73-59. Billie
McDowell had 23 points and reserve Khadija Whittington added 11
points and 10 rebounds for the Wolfpack.
"We were more than happy to have coach Yow back," McDowell
said. "It's just a great feeling to see her back over here. We
just went out there and were ready to play, and we just got it
While Yow missed two games to start her new diet program, NC State
(13-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) went 1-1 under longtime
assistant Stephanie Glance, including a 76-75 overtime victory over
then-No. 23 Virginia Tech No. 23 AP). The loss was by two points to
North Carolina (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today; No. 9 AP).
"I'm just so proud of my team and my staff," the 62-year-old
Yow said. "They embodied everything I believe in and the history
of my program."
Yow first was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987, and her
oncologist, Dr. Mark Graham, said this is a recurrence. Yow had treatment
for skin cancer last year and also had a bout with pneumonia.
"My immune system is just not working like it ought to do, and
that can be because of what you're putting in it," she said.
Having the cancer come back after 17 years is not rare,
something Graham had to tell to another patient earlier Thursday.
She has been healthy for the past five years after beating the
identical type of cancer that Yow has.
"She wanted me to tell her that she was cured of breast
cancer," Graham said. "I had to tell her she was not totally out
of the woods."
But the prognosis remains positive for Yow, who's cancer-free at
the moment in tests performed by Graham. If it returns, Graham said
Yow probably will undergo traditional treatment such as radiation
"As she's sitting here, she is disease-free, and we'd like to
keep her that way," Graham said. "All cancer is not created
equal, and [Yow] has an excellent chance to do well with this
cancer. The people that have a recurrence like this have a long
Yow has no plans to miss any more games, saying she hopes her
new diet will give her even more energy. She has a 666-304 career
record in 34 seasons, including a 609-285 mark in 30 years at
She was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in
2002 and coached the 1988 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal. In
1998, she led the Wolfpack to their only Final Four appearance.
"I'm just going to do everything I can do to make everything
work out," Yow said. "I feel great personally, but I don't feel
comfortable with all the attention. I'm ever so aware that I'm just
one of many people that have this disease."