GASTONIA — For the past quarter-century, Debbie Mulligan Antonelli has been broadcasting ACC women’s basketball games. For Antonelli’s her entire professional career, Gastonia’s Sylvia Rhyne Hatchell has turned the University of North Carolina’s women’s basketball program into one of the nation’s best. That’s why news last week that Hatchell was temporarily stepping away from her on-the-court coaching responsibilities due to a recent diagnosis of leukemia has created so much concern among women’s basketball fans and ACC sports fans.
“We’re all concerned and praying for Sylvia,“ said Antonelli, a four-year standout at N.C. State who has been broadcasting women’s college basketball for the past 23 years. “But she’s a tremendous fighter and she’s going to battle this opponent like she takes on any other opponent — with a game plan to get healthy and get back with her team.