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Former WNBA star and Jamaica basketball coach, Simone Edwards, dies

Edwards was a WNBA champion with the Seattle Storm

Former WNBA player Simone Edwards holds a basketball as coach of Jamaica's national basketball team.

The first Jamaican woman to play in the WNBA and former coach of Jamaica’s women’s basketball team, Simone Edwards, is dead.

Edwards passed away on Thursday at the tender age of 49 after battling stage 3 ovarian cancer. The WNBA confirmed the news on social media while former teammates and contemporaries offered their condolences to her family.

A Kingston Technical alum, Edwards never played basketball in high school but was encouraged to play by an American college basketball coach who spotted her at a Jamaican track meet. She honed her craft in junior college before playing for the University of Iowa.

The New York Liberty then picked Edwards out of a tryout camp in 1997, making her one of their developmental players, though she never suited up for the team. In 2000, the Seattle Storm selected Edwards in their expansion draft, playing six seasons for the team and winning the WNBA championship in 2004. During her stay in Seattle, the “Jamaican Hurricane” averaged 5.3 points and 3.5 rebounds a game, mostly playing a key role off the bench.

During her WNBA career, Edwards also played professionally across Europe before retiring in 2007. She later became an assistant coach at Radford University and George Brown University before becoming Jamaica’s senior women’s national team boss, leading them to the Caribbean Championship.

 

Simone Edwards later received the Order of Distinction in 2017 for her vast contributions to basketball. During her cancer battle, former teammates such as Sue Bird and Betty Lennox held fundraisers to help her fight against the disease.

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Written by Jodee Brown

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