As some may have heard, former Lady Topper basketball player Cacie Pope died last night after a long battle with brain cancer, according to Western Media Relations.
She was just 24 years old.
A statement hasn’t been released from Western yet, and the Herald is still trying to collect details, but we’ll report them as soon as we can.
I thought that some might appreciate a story about Cacie I found in a November 2005 edition of the Herald by Jake Mitchell.
The story comes at the beginning of her sophomore season, after Cacie had been forced to leave the team the previous two years to have tumors surgically removed from her brain.
On the day of the story, Cacie had been cleared to play but was forced out of practice due to a sprained ankle.
She was all smiles, as an injured foot was nothing to this girl who had been through so much.
Below are a few more old Herald quotes I found about Cacie that show just how loved and respected she was by her teammates and coaches:
Junior guard Tiffany Porter-Talbert on the recurrence of Pope’s tumor – March 2005:
“Cacie’s a big inspiration for our team and she’s always with us. We feel like we wanna win for Cacie if nothing else.”
Head Coach Mary Taylor Cowles on a freshman Pope returning to the bench on Senior Night – March 2005:
“It was really important for the team to see that she’s doing fine and important for Cacie to get an added lift and added strength. It meant a lot for our ladies and her.”
Assistant Coach Carrie Daniels on Pope’s road to recovery – Jan. 2005:
“Cacie is in great spirits. It’s been really tough on her, but she’s been very mature. She’s handled it well, and she has a great outlook on her situation.”
Freshman forward Raquel Mattis on Pope’s absence – Jan. 2005:
“We all miss her. It’s hard because she’s such a big part of our team. It’s a fight for ourselves as well as Cacie.”
Cowles on Pope’s resilience – Feb. 2004:
“She’s a fighter. Flat out, she’s a fighter. Now after seeing what she’s been through, I can see she’s a fighter in the game of life, not just in basketball.”