Former Iowa women's basketball standout Simone Edwards dies of cancer at age 49

Dargan Southard
Des Moines Register

Former Iowa women's basketball standout Simone Edwards, 49, has died after a two-year battle with cancer.

First a track star in her native Jamaica, the 6-foot-4 Edwards played junior college basketball in Oklahoma before transferring to Iowa from 1994-97. There, she was part of the Hawkeyes' Big Ten regular-season championship and Sweet 16 team in 1996 and their Big Ten Tournament title team in 1997.

Overall, Edwards was a part of 74 Iowa victories.

"I last talked to her on the phone last June. Coached against her," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said Friday. "Obviously, just too short of a life. It's a sad deal."

Former Iowa women's basketball Simone Edwards, shown here in 2000 while playing for the WNBA's Seattle Storm, has died after a two-year battle with cancer.

Edwards was on the New York Liberty’s roster in 1997, the WNBA's inaugural season, but did not play in the league until she went to the expansion Seattle Storm in 2000.

She played six seasons with the Storm, averaging 5.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, and was a fan favorite nicknamed the "Jamaican Hurricane." Edwards, who started 48 games during her Storm career, was on Seattle's first of four championship teams in 2004. She retired from the WNBA before the start of the 2006 season.

She coached Jamaica’s National women’s team to the Caribbean Championships in 2014 and had assistant coaching stints at Radford University and George Mason. Edwards was conferred with her country's Order of Distinction in 2017.

Dargan Southard is a sports trending reporter and covers Iowa athletics for the Des Moines Register and Email him at or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.