Staying in the Game: Kate Paye

Kate Paye is one of three players on the court. Practice has ended, yet she stays to work on her three throw shooting. She doesn’t leave until she hits 20 in a row. After the last one swishes in, it’s finally off to the showers.

It’s this dedication and love that has kept Paye in the game. The 5-foot-8 guard has played professionally for five seasons since graduating from Stanford University in 1995. She played in Seattle from 1996-99 where she handled the point for the Reign of the American Basketball League. She spent the last two seasons with the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx.

Seattle was the last place Paye thought she would be this season. She thought she had found a home and a niche with the Lynx. Suddenly, however, she found herself out of a job a few weeks into mini-camp, questioning whether her basketball career was finally over.

“I was expecting to be on the Minnesota roster this year,” she said. “I was surprised to be released midway through training camp. I was very disappointed and figuring what to do next.”

Within days Storm coach Linn Dunn called, telling Paye Seattle wanted her. This was no-brainer – Paye was eager to return to Seattle.

“Seattle is probably the only city and franchise that was worth it to me to really come back and give it a shot,” she said.

“I was really thrilled to come back. I still have a lot of friends here and a lot of favorite places to go and hang out.”

While Paye can count Seattle as a second home, Palo Alto, Calif. is where her heart is. Not only was she born at Stanford hospital, she also received her undergraduate degree there. And she isn’t the only Cardinal in the family. Her father, John Sr., mother, Anne, brother, John Jr., and sister, Anne, all went to Stanford. Paye, who still lives five minutes from campus, is currently spending the offseason at Stanford to earn her law degree and her M.B.A.

Even with her ambitious graduate work, Paye still counts basketball as one of her passions. The backup point guard is a veteran Dunn can rely on. Knowledge and experience is always a valuable asset on the bench.

“I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve seen a lot of players and their tendencies. That’s something I can share with the younger players here,” Paye said.

And Paye sees a Storm team on the rise with the nucleus of Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson.

“We have the building blocks in Sue and Lauren,” Paye said. “It might take a little while … but I think as the season progresses this team is going to get better and better”