Athlete, Lakes HS (1993)
Kate was a Lakes High School (Tacoma) basketball standout who shied away from the spotlight. A 6-foot-2 swing player, she was named a first-team Parade All-American, the state’s all-time career scoring leader (1993), the 3A Girls State Tournament career scoring leader (1993) and, for two consecutive years was the Seattle Times’ state girls player of the year (1992 and 1993). Kate scored a state record 2,753 points in 104 games for Lakes (26.5 average), a State Tournament record 248 points in 10 games (24.8), and set the 3A girls rebounding record with 57. She averaged 29.76 points per game, eight rebounds, five assists, five steals, and four blocks in her senior season. She accomplished all this while maintaining a 3.9 grade-point average and was one of 1,400 National Merit finalists.
She continued her basketball career at Stanford University, where she continued to see success. She led Stanford to three consecutive Pac-10 titles and Final Four appearances (1995, 1996, and 1997). She was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team (1994), Co-Player of the year (1996), Player of the Year (1997), First Team All-American, and Naismith College Player of the Year (1997), and she held the scoring record at Stanford until 2008. She was inducted into the Stanford Hall of Fame in 2007.
Kate was drafted by the Seattle Reign of the American Basketball League (ABL) in 1997 and then by the Sacramento Monarchs of the WNBA in the third round (1999). She also played for the Utah Starzz (2000-2002), Seattle Storm (2002), and Indiana Fever (2004). After a professional career in the ABL and WNBA, Starbird went back to get her PhD from the University of Colorado. In 2012 she began work as an assistant professor at the University of Washington’s Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering.