Catching up with the 2000 Storm team, the first year of the franchise.
Can you believe the Storm is about to play its 10th season?
“I’m amazed it’s been that long,” said former center Simone Edwards, a member of the first team in 2000 who still returns to KeyArena for games and stays in contact with fans. “Why I’ll always love Seattle is the way the fans stood and clapped for us. We would lose by 20, 30 points and at the end they would give us a standing ovation. I wanted to scream, ‘Don’t you know we just got beat?’ But they appreciated us just because of how hard we worked. We had well-deserved criticism and love at the same time.”
Today, Edwards is one of four players from the team who is currently coaching. Others are out of basketball completely, getting married and having children. They’ll always be connected as Seattle’s first WNBA team.
Here’s a look at where everyone is from the inaugural team photo:
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Andy Costabel: An equipment manager for just one season, Costabel hired the first ball kids and helped coordinate travel for the team. He is the art director at Pyramid Breweries.
Ryan Bragdon: Costabel’s assistant was promoted to equipment manager in 2001 and is currently an assistant basketball coach at Ohio University on former Storm guard Semeka Randall’s squad.
Lin Dunn: There were few spots in the state that Dunn, the Storm’s first coach, didn’t hit to promote the team, even before it had a nickname or any players. Most notably, she bounced basketballs 5 ½ miles through downtown streets. After leading the team to a 95-110 record in three seasons, 6-26 the first summer, and drafting franchise cornerstones Lauren Jackson (2001) and Sue Bird (2002), Dunn took a break from the WNBA. Now she’s the coach for Indiana’s WNBA team.
Missy Bequette: It is amazing Bequette doesn’t get her mail at the training facility. She’s been the pulse of the organization’s operations since the beginning, first serving as assistant coach and now presiding over everything from player housing to paychecks as director of basketball operations.
Gary Kloppenburg: An assistant coach, Kloppenburg had early ties to Seattle through his father, Bob Kloppenburg, who once coached for the Sonics. Gary Kloppenburg spent three seasons with Dunn, then was an assistant for the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats. He reunited with Dunn last season in Indiana and remains on her staff.
Stacey Lovelace-Tolbert: Lovelace scored 13 points in the team’s first win, 67-62 over Charlotte. After two seasons, Lovelace was a part of inaugural rosters for Chicago and Atlanta, leaving the league as a Detroit Shock player in 2008. She also played overseas in France, married and had a daughter, Ryann. She lives in Atlanta.
Quacy (Barnes) Timmons: The personable post player started 23 games for the Storm. Now, she’s teaching her interior skills as an assistant at Eastern Illinois. Barnes married in 2007 and the couple recently welcomed their first daughter, Taryn, in February. Barnes also has a son, TJ.
Simone Edwards: Like the atmosphere at KeyArena? Give credit to Edwards, who spread her Jamaican flavor throughout the stands. Whether it was towel-waving or kissing babies, Edwards was part of the reason fans were in a good mood even when that first team won just six games. She played six seasons for the Storm, helping them win a championship in 2004. Edwards started a foundation, Simone4children.org, and is currently an assistant coach at George Mason University. Edwards also works with her national team and can be spotted on the Washington Mystics’ practice court.
Kamila Vodichkova: Bruises were a staple on Vodichkova’s body. A 6-4 post player, she was the team’s first draft pick (eighth overall). A native of Czech Republic, Vodichkova was the team’s second-leading scorer (8.7) the first season and played on the 2004 championship team. Dubbed Vodka, she finished her playing career in Phoenix, retiring due to knee injuries. Married and living in her native Prague, Vodichkova gave birth to a son in 2007.
Andrea Garner: Traded to the Storm midseason, Garner started 19 games and averaged 3.1 points. She played one season then was invited back to training camp in 2004, getting cut again.
Kathy Anderson: Served as an assistant coach for just the first season. A former Washington women’s assistant coach, she popped up briefly as operations coordinator for the UW men’s team. Anderson is back at her alma mater, Central Missouri, serving as associate athletics director for internal operations.
Daniel Shapiro: Shapiro was the head strength and conditioning coach for six seasons and worked the offseason with the Sonics. After a brief stint as a college strength coach, he joined the Sacramento Kings and normally drops by the Monarchs’ matchups with Seattle to chat with old friends. A Washingtonian, Shapiro survived throat cancer and will run in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Seattle later this month if granted a late entry.
Karen Bryant: Pivotal in acquiring the Storm, Bryant was the franchise’s first hire. A native, she remained with the organization, shaping it to the business it is today. Current ownership named her CEO last year. Off the court, she married and gave birth to a daughter, Lindsay, in April 2008.
John Dresel: Former president of Full House Sports & Entertainment, Dresel helped the first owners, the Ackerleys, hire Bryant. He worked with the organization until the team was sold to a group led by Howard Schultz in March 2001. He moved on to become president and chief operating officer of Tully’s Coffee and resigned in 2006 to pursue other business in the Seattle area.
Michelle Edwards: Edwards appeared in 23 games in 2000 and was part of the starting lineup revolving door. She started 16 games and was hampered by injuries. For the past six seasons Edwards has worked as director of operations at Rutgers University.
Charisse Sampson: One of the few players still active, Sampson competed in Spain and has a home base in Los Angeles. She was a solid rebounder in her lone season playing with the Storm.
Katrina Hibbert: Seattle’s first Australian played a key role. Hibbert, a 5-10 guard, scored the franchise’s first points on a rebound putback. She averaged only 2.7 points in 20 games that season. She returned to play in her country’s WNBL and was named MVP in 2005. Hibbert suffered hardships like her brother committing suicide. Currently she plays for the WNBL’s Bulleen (Melbourne) Boomers.
Charmin Smith: The Storm’s first notable defensive player was a wiry guard in Smith, who seemingly loved to get in an opponent’s grill. She played in 32 games and after playing one more season for the Storm, played for Phoenix before entering coaching. A former Stanford star, Smith is an assistant coach at rival California. She joined the Cal staff in 2007, helping to develop tenacious players like Storm rookie Ashley Walker.
Jamie Redd: Seemed to spend more time in Dunn’s doghouse than out on the court. Redd, who said she learned a lot from Dunn, averaged 5.4 points in 26 games. Cut by Seattle in 2002, Redd entered coaching and is an assistant at Pacific Lutheran near Tacoma.
Robin Threatt-Elliott: A distant cousin to Sedale Threatt, who played for the Sonics (1987-91), Threatt-Elliott was one of the eight players allocated to the Storm. She had no previous pro experience, starring at Wisconsin in the 1990s. For Seattle, she played off the bench in the backcourt, producing two 20-plus point games. But Threatt-Elliott opted to return to her life as a pharmaceutical sales representative for DuPont in Indianapolis. She also had two more children (three total) and married.
Tamara Poole: The busiest person during any WNBA season has to be the trainer and Poole was kept active with the Storm. She lasted just the season, moving on to the Charlotte Sting. She has been the head athletic trainer for the Phoenix Mercury since 2005.
Edna Campbell: Campbell suffered a season-ending knee injury, missing the team photo, but was still important to Storm’s first season. She averaged a team-high 13.9 points in 16 games. Campbell went on to play in San Antonio and Sacramento. She’s a cancer survivor and resides in Sacramento where she earned her nursing degree this year.