Former Storm center Simone Edwards dies at 49, two years after cancer diagnosis

Updated: February 17, 2023

12:30 AM ET


CloseM.A. Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

Former Seattle Storm and Iowa Hawkeyes center Simone Edwards has died at age 49, two years after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

The 6-foot-4 Edwards was a track standout in her native Jamaica when she was discovered by an American basketball coach. She played junior college basketball in Oklahoma and then went to Iowa from 1994 to 1997. There, she was part of the Hawkeyes’ Big Ten regular-season championship team in 1996 and Big Ten tournament title team in 1997.

Iowa made the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1996 and fell in the second round in 1997. Edwards then was a developmental player for the New York Liberty in 1997, the WNBA’s inaugural season, but didn’t get to play in the league until she went to the expansion Storm in 2000.

She played six seasons with the Storm, averaging 5.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, and was a fan favorite nicknamed the “Jamaican Hurricane.” Edwards, who started 48 games during her Storm career, was on Seattle’s first of four championship teams in 2004. She retired from the WNBA before the start of the 2006 season at age 32.

She continued to play a couple of more years overseas, then got into coaching with the Jamaican national team and as an assistant at the U.S. collegiate level at Radford and George Mason. Edwards also worked with youth programs in Jamaica.

Current Indiana Fever general manager Lin Dunn was the Storm’s coach in Edwards’ first three seasons with Seattle, and remembered her fondly Thursday.

“Simone was a gift to everyone … full of joy and energy,” Dunn told ESPN. “She played the top of our shadow press, and I always told her she was my favorite shadow ever. I can still see that smile.”

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