Storm center Ann Wauters with son Vince and daughter Lou. (Courtesy Ann Wauters)

Wauters Balances Basketball, Motherhood

Kevin Pelton, | May 11, 2012

For Seattle Storm center Ann Wauters, this year's Mother's Day will have special meaning. It's her first as a mom. Wauters' son, Vince, was born on June 1 - less than three weeks after her partner Lot gave birth to a daughter, Lou. So, as Wauters puts it, last summer "was all babies" - a big change from her usual basketball routine, but a good one.

"I enjoyed my time off," Wauters said by email from her native Belgium, where she's preparing to bring her family to Seattle this weekend. "It was nice to finally be able to spend some time at home. It was perfect timing for me to become a mom."

By the time fall rolled around, Wauters was ready to get back on the court. She reported to her new team, Ros Casares Valencia - where she played with the Storm's Silvia Dominguez and Lauren Jackson - in September and worked hard to get back in game shape.

"The first time back running was horrible," recalled Wauters, "and then the first time on the court everything I did felt like slow motion. But slowly everything came back."

From Wauters' play for Ros Casares, there was no way to tell she was ever away from basketball. Wauters averaged 14.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, both team highs on a roster filled with WNBA All-Stars, as Valencia claimed the EuroLeague championship.

"It felt great to play basketball again after being away from the sport for a season," she said.

Now, after taking the last two summers off, Wauters is resuming her WNBA career with the Storm. As one of two mothers on the Storm's roster along with Tina Thompson, she'll be recognized when BECU honors moms at Sunday's preseason game against Los Angeles (2 p.m., 1090 AM, ).

Of course, there are challenges to playing basketball professionally and raising a young family.

"It is not always easy to find a balance," said Wauters, who has found being away from her kids on road trips the toughest part. "There are days when you are tired because the kids had a bad night ... but I am happy and blessed to have a partner who is always there for our kids."

Any tough days are more than offset by the benefits. Wauters' favorite aspect of motherhood is seeing her kids, who will soon turn one - Lou celebrates her birthday on Saturday - discover something new every day. The experience has made her a different person.

"It's a big responsibility to take care of our kids," she said. "It's sometimes easier to put everything in the right perspective."

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