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Friday, January 12, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Storm

Storm can expect same passion

Seattle Times staff reporter

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With the Ackerleys, there was never a question.

Ginger Ackerley's passion was bringing a WNBA team to Seattle, and once that announcement was made in June 1999, she spent time making sure the sister team to the NBA's Sonics wasn't treated like a stepchild. The Storm had equal rights to the training facility and use of the weight room. Their own locker room and office were recently built.

There was no question. The Ackerleys wanted the Storm in Seattle.

But when the Ackerleys finalized the sale of the Sonics yesterday - which included the Storm and Full House Sports and Entertainment, the business arm of both teams - doubt crossed some minds.

Does new owner Howard Schultz care about women's basketball?

"I'm a basketball fan," Schultz said. "And my daughter plays basketball."

Ah, the magic words.

"I liked hearing that," Storm Coach Lin Dunn said. "It's an end of an era, but I'm excited about the future and encouraged that he said he's going to help the Storm get the resources so that it can be a championship team."

Dunn, Ginger Ackerley and Karen Bryant, the Storm's senior director of basketball operations, stole a moment to talk before yesterday's media conference. Ackerley wanted to express her thanks and sorrow for having to sell the team, while Dunn and Bryant wanted to thank her for bringing the team to Seattle.

"It's been an emotional day," Ginger Ackerley. "It was only one season, but it was very poignant. I don't know if I've ever cried as much as I did after the last game. But we have to divorce ourselves, just as owners, not as fans. I'm still going to go to games, and I was assured that there would be a continued commitment to the Storm. Hearing Howard's daughter played was music to my ears."

Addison Schultz, 11, and her older brother, Jordan, 15, keep their mother busy with basketball practice. The Schultzes have lived in Seattle for 18 years, and the kids have grown up on the Sonics, much like their father grew up watching the Knicks as a kid in New York.

Addison has even had dreams recently that she's an announcer at KeyArena calling her own name as a starter for the Storm, her mother, Sheri, said.

Sheri Schultz won't be another Ginger, however. The family will attend Storm games and show support, but, as far as operations go, she'll be in the background. Sheri also helps run the family's foundation.

The sale doesn't affect any of the Storm's planning for its upcoming second season. The team needs to secure a six-game television contract and a radio deal within the next month.

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