Welcome to "This Date in Storm History." As part of the celebration of the Storm's 10th Anniversary season, storm.wnba.com will be highlighting key dates in franchise history throughout 2009. Make sure to check back as we run through an entire year's worth of Storm memories.
STORM DEBUTS IN SACRAMENTO (2000)
The expansion Storm took the floor for the first time in the opener of the 2000 season at ARCO Arena, visiting the Sacramento Monarchs. The team led early, but the veteran Monarchs dominated down the stretch to hand the Storm its first loss by a 76-60 final. Guards Edna Campbell and Sonja Henning, forwards Katrina Hibbert and Quacy Barnes and center Kamila Vodichkova made up the Storm's first starting lineup. Hibbert scored the Storm's first basket and Campbell (22) and rookie Vodichkova (20) had high-scoring outings.
SEATTLE WNBA FRANCHISE NAMED "STORM" (2000)
A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but a nickname is a crucial part of the process of creating an expansion franchise. On Jan. 6, 2000, Full House Sports and Entertainment announced that Seattle's new WNBA franchise would be named the Storm. The name, along with the logo, was scheduled to be released nearly two weeks later on Jan. 19. However, that timetable was accelerated when a Miami newspaper reported the names of the four teams joining the WNBA - the Indiana Fever, the Miami Sol, the Portland Fire and the Storm.
"It's the perfect name because of the weather here and what the team plans to do in the league," Karen Bryant told the Seattle Times.
STORM DRAFTS LENNOX (2004)
When the Storm selected Betty Lennox in the Cleveland Rockers Disperal Draft, it was her fourth team in three seasons. However, Lennox quickly found a home in Seattle. Her explosive offense and relentless style complemented Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson, never more so than during the 2004 WNBA Finals. Lennox averaged 22.3 points in the series against Connecticut to win Finals MVP honors. She would go on to spend five seasons with the Storm, leaving the franchise (in the Atlanta Dream Expansion Draft) ranked in the all-time top five in every major statistical category but blocks.
STORM SOLD TO FORCE 10 HOOPS (2008)
With the Oklahoma-based ownership group of the Sonics & Storm seeking to bring an NBA team to Oklahoma City, the Storm's fate was in limbo at the conclusion of the 2007 season. That changed in a big way on Jan. 8, 2008, when Force 10 Hoops L.L.C. - made up of local businesswomen Lisa Brummel, Ginny Gilder, Anne Levinson and Dawn Trudeau - announced that it had secured an exclusive option to purchase the team and keep it in Seattle even as the Sonics were eventually moved. With the sale, the Storm joined six other WNBA teams under independent ownership.
"This really is an exciting day," said Levinson at the initial press conference. "We are very pleased to be able to step forward to say that we are here to ensure that Seattle will be the Stormís home. This is something that we wanted to do for the Stormís fans and for the community."
Terrence Vaccaro/NBAE/Getty Images
Terrence Vaccaro/NBAE/Getty Images
A day after the Storm's new ownership group was introduced, the Seattle media returned to The Furtado Center for another press conference, this one naming Brian Agler as the third head coach in Storm history. After an extensive search, Storm COO Karen Bryant chose Agler as the replacement for Anne Donovan, who had resigned in November 2007. Agler had been an assistant with the San Antonio Silver Stars and also brought to the Storm his experience as the inaugural head coach of the Minnesota Lynx and a two-year stint at the helm of the ABL's Columbus Quest, during which the Quest won both titles in the ABL's brief existence and dominated the league.
"The one thing I would like to try to bring to the table a little bit is just the ability to put a team on the floor that plays quality defense," Agler told reporters. "I think that if you look across the board, the teams that have had success in the last two or three years in the WNBA - including Phoenix a year ago - they have always impacted the game at the defensive end. I feel like that is the utmost important factor to be able to bring to this team right now."
STORM UNVEILS LOGO (2000)
With more than 1,500 "founding fans" in attendance at KeyArena, the Storm unveiled the franchise's logo to the sound of thunder and with strobe lights simulating lightning. The storm theme also included a "weather report" from King 5 meteorologist Jeff Renner. Afterwards, fans snapped up newly-available Storm merchandise. In the excitement, Storm Head Coach Lin Dunn (joined by players Sonja Henning and Charmin Smith, two of the Storm's expansion draft selections) was impatient regarding the four-month wait until the team's first game.
"I wish we had two referees right now," Dunn told the Seattle Post-Ingelligencer. "We'd get going right now."
STORM DEALS FOR CASH (2008)
The Storm made the biggest trade acquisition in franchise history in a swap with Detroit. The day the WNBA's free-agent market opened after the conclusion of negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Storm completed a sign-and-trade deal for Swin Cash, an All-Star and Olympian who was reunited with former UConn roommate Sue Bird. To get Cash, the Storm traded the No. 4 pick in the upcoming WNBA Draft to the Shock. Cash was introduced to the Seattle media that afternoon in a press conference at KeyArena.
"He has a vision for this team," Cash said in explaining why she wanted to come to Seattle. "You have two cornerstones to really build off of in a point guard like Sue and Lauren Jackson. He knows what it takes to really build a winner."
Terrence Vaccaro/NBAE/Getty Images
STORM DRAFTS BIRD (2002)
Going into the 2002 WNBA Draft, the Storm had what everyone wanted - the No. 1 overall pick and a chance to take UConn guard Sue Bird, the reigning Naismith Award winner who led the Huskies to an undefeated season and a national championship. Teams offered Storm Head Coach Lin Dunn packages of picks and established veterans, yet Dunn was never swayed, standing pat and taking Bird to the delight of fans who watched the draft unfold at The Furtado Center.
"Our team got better when we started thinking about selecting Sue Bird," Dunn told the Seattle Times.
STORM DRAFTS JACKSON (2001)
The Storm's reward for suffering through a 6-26 inaugural season was the first overall pick in the 2001 WNBA Draft. The consensus class of the draft was Lauren Jackson - a talented young Aussie who had established herself on the international radar when she led her country to a silver medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and dueled established WNBA stars including Lisa Leslie on relatively even terms. Jackson finalized a deal with the league two days before the draft, allowing Lin Dunn to make her the Storm's biggest building block - something her new teammates wanted.
"If she didn't select Jackson I think we would have stormed into that war room and done something," Storm guard Charmin Smith told the Seattle Times. "We all wanted her and are really excited to have her."