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New Storm Assistant Coach Jessie Kenlaw Moves North Up I-5

On Feb. 21, Storm Head Coach Anne Donovan announced the hiring of Jessie Kenlaw as one of her new assistant coaches for the 2003 WNBA season. She joins the Storm staff after serving as an assistant coach with the Portland Fire for the previous three seasons. Kenlaw, who was the head coach at the University of Houston for eight years, played professionally in the Womenís Professional Basketball League from 1979-82. As she prepares to move up I-5 for the Stormís fourth training camp since joining the league, Kenlaw recently checked in with storm.wnba.com to field a few questions.

How do you feel about moving to Seattle and joining the Storm as an assistant coach?
Itís very exciting for me to move back to the beautiful Northwest. Returning as an assistant for the Storm is icing on the cake! Seattle is a great fit for me. Iím familiar with the area and teams in the Western Conference.

What appealed to you the most about working with new head coach Anne Donovan?
Whatís appealing to me about working with Anne, first and foremost, is that she is a quality person who is respected at all levels of the womenís game. Sheís a playerís coach and has a proven recipe for success. I like her style and what she stands for and she demands respect, productivity and accountability.

In what ways can you help the Storm become an elite team in the WNBA?
Iím fortunate to have been nurtured with a rich basketball background. Fifteen years of playing and coaching experience has awarded me opportunities to work with some great coaches. Iím committed to fulfilling whatever role Anne and the team need to help this franchise reach its full potential.

What do you remember most about the Stormís style of play and tendencies when you were on the opposing bench with Portland?
The Storm and the Fire developed one of the most competitive rivalries in the WNBA, so Iím very familiar with both the personnel and the teamís tendencies. Lauren Jackson is one of the most gifted players in the league. Some of the things she can do for her size amazes me! With the acquisition of Sue Bird last season, the Storm solidified its roster as well as its playoff potential. Having a tandem like Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson supported by a group of young, talented players in every position, you canít help but get excited!

Have you set any personal or team goals for the season?
Kenlaw: My goals for the team are simple. I want us to work harder and smarter than our opponents and improve with every practice and game. If we can master these traits, everything else will take care of itself.

Do you know much about Seattle?
I know a little about Seattle and have heard wonderful things about the city. I look forward to exploring the many attractions, restaurants and shops. I love good seafood and I love to shop! I have also been warned about the rain. Unlike Portland, where it might rain a couple times a week, Iím told that it rains everyday in Seattle. I donít know if thatís true, but I think Iíll shop for a bigger umbrella!

What are you most looking forward to this summer?
I am looking forward to taking things one day at a time and embracing a new city, a new team, new fans, a new system and a new mindset that hopefully produce a few major upsets. We want to continue to create an environment that will breed consistent success. This will eventually lead to our ultimate goal of winning a WNBA Championship!