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Doctor: Hatchell responding to leukemia treatment

Friday - 11/1/2013, 7:26pm  ET

FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2012, file photo, North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell, left, and associate head coach Andrew Calder shout at an official during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Boston College in Boston. Coach Hatchell, a recently inducted Naismith Hall of Famer, is away from the team while she receives treatment for leukemia. Longtime assistant Calder is leading the program in Hatchell's absence and said the team will follow her plans for this team until she returns. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- The doctor overseeing North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell's leukemia treatment said the recently inducted Naismith Hall of Famer is doing well.

In a statement from the school Friday, Dr. Pete Voorhees with the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center said Hatchell "has tolerated therapy exceptionally well" and that "early indicators are that the leukemia is responding to therapy."

"It is still early, but we are extremely pleased with how things are going," Voorhees said. "She remains strong both physically and mentally, which will serve her well moving forward."

The 61-year-old Hatchell stepped away from her No. 12 Tar Heels last month to focus on treatment. In a statement, Hatchell praised the staff at the Lineberger Center for the quality of her care and said "overwhelming love and support" is aiding her recovery.

"I'm feeling better every day and I cannot wait to get back to coach my Tar Heels," she said.

Hatchell is preparing for her 28th season with the Tar Heels and has 908 career victories, making her one of only three head coaches in the sport to win 900 games. She has led UNC to the 1994 NCAA championship, three Final Fours and eight Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships.

Longtime assistant Andrew Calder is leading the team while Hatchell is away, guiding a roster that features ACC rookie of the year Xylina McDaniel and a recruiting class ranked No. 1 nationally by ESPN.

The Tar Heels will play their final exhibition Tuesday night against Wingate, then open the regular season Nov. 8 against Air Force.

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