Appalachian State women’s basketball coach Angel Elderkin has been named by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association as one of two recipients of the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award for 2017. Elderkin, who has continued to coach despite undergoing treatment for cancer, will share the award with ESPN analyst Holly Rowe, who is staging her own fight against the disease. They are the first co-recipients in the history of the award. Named after Tennessee’s Hall of Fame coach, the Pat Summitt Award is given annually to individuals associated with women’s college basketball who display the qualities of dedication, commitment and courageous spirit. Summitt, who won 1,098 games and eight national championships with the Volunteers, died earlier this year after a public battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. “This award is extra special to me because of its connection to Pat,” Elderkin, a former assistant to Summitt, said in a statement. “I was lucky enough to to work with her and see what an amazing woman, coach and mother she was. She made such an impact on me and what I learned from her still impacts me every day.” Elderkin was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer last summer, but continued to coach the Mountaineers. Although all of the visible cancer was removed through surgery, she continued to undergo an aggressive treatment plan that included six chemotherapy cycles and a radiation regimen that required her to commute from Boone to UNC’s Lineberger Cancer Center in Chapel Hill five days a week. Despite the hectic schedule, she has yet to miss a game this season. She finished her final chemo treatment before leaving for a two-game road trip that, ironically, included a game at Tennessee earlier this month. The Mountaineers are 5-6 heading into tonight’s game against Texas-Arlington. “When I was given my diagnosis, I knew that I had only one choice and that was to fight with everything I have to give,” said Elderkin. “I have received so much support from the entire women’s basketball community, and it has made such a difference as I continue to fight and beat this disease. I am so thankful to the USBWA, not only for this recognition, but for the support of its members over the last six months. Women’s basketball is truly a community and I am thankful to be part of it.” Elderkin and Rowe will receive their awards at USBWA Awards press conference at the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Dallas in March.
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