Offseason in China Ideal for Cash

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Kevin Pelton, | May 3, 2010

When we say that WNBA players spend their offseasons overseas, we generally mean Europe. Seattle Storm forward Swin Cash's winter was an exception. Cash played for the Guandong Asia Aluminum team in the WCBA in China.

"China was very good for me," Cash said at the Storm's Media Day Monday at KeyArena. "I'm glad I made the decision to go. Being over there, there's only one American per team. It's been a long time since I've been in that leadership role - not only just doing the little things but having to score, having to rebound, having to get steals, do everything to lead the team. That made me work even harder to get my game back where it needs to be. It's very physical over there."

Cash poses for photos on Media Day.
Aaron Last/Storm Photos

Cash averaged 22.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for her team, which lost a heartbreaker in the first round of the playoffs.

As compared to Europe, China can present a major culture shock for American players, but Cash adjusted well.

"I had a great organization," she said. "My sponsor there went to USC, so he was fluent in English. I tried some of the food, but some of it I just couldn't really cross that line. I told them, 'I need to bring a soul food restaurant over here, see if you guys would like that.' There were a few things I did try. I lived about two hours away from Hong Kong, so I would go down there and see people from Britain who spoke English - but because of the accent, we couldn't understand each other."

The biggest downside was Cash's frustration at not getting foul calls despite the physical style of play in the WCBA.

"I was joking around with Lauren (Jackson)," she said, "saying I'm not even going to say anything to the refs this year after going through what I went through in China. I don't know if I can hold true to that."

The Chinese season ended in late February, giving Cash a nice break before training camp. She spent part of the time attending the USA Basketball training camp in Connecticut last month.

"I like the shorter season," explained Cash. "It provided me everything I was looking for. Financially, you can be well compensated, but to have that shorter season, to play in a league where it's going to be physical, it's going to challenge you, was something I was looking for. I was able to come back and do some of the other things off the court I love to do, so it was a great situation."

Cash, who returned to Seattle on Saturday and watched Sunday's preseason win over the Phoenix Mercury from the bench, likes the way the team is set up entering the 2010 season.

"I think there's a different feel to it," she said. "Obviously, I feel good and like I'm in good shape. Lauren's coming in healthy and Sue (Bird) too - I don't know when that's happened. This my third year. It's kind of scary to see what we can be if everyone's healthy."

While Cash lamented the departure of former teammates Janell Burse and Katie Gearlds, she's very excited about the addition of forward Svetlana Abrosimova. Abrosimova teamed with Bird and Cash for three years at the University of Connecticut, winning the 2000 NCAA title.

"That's going to be fun," said Cash of the reunion. "It's good for Svetty, and it's good for Sue and I because we know each other. Any time you have that combination on the floor, it's going to be like we can close our eyes and know what each other is going to do. It also gives us a different look, more versatility. I think Svetty, like myself, can swing to the four sometimes, play the two or the three and it doesn't really matter. If we need to be up-tempo, I think we can do that."