Cash Wins MVP in All-Star Loss
Swin Cash was unable to help the Western Conference to a win in Saturday's 2011 WNBA All-Star Game, but the Seattle Storm forward still walked away with her second consecutive All-Star MVP award.
"I had the look of someone trying to win the game and fell short on that," Cash told NBA TV after the game. "I guess the MVP is a consolation prize."
Cash nearly ended up achieving both goals. The West led one of the most dramatic All-Star Games in memory 114-113 with a minute to play, but Katie Douglas' three-pointer gave the Eastern Conference the lead for good. The Storm's Sue Bird and rookie Maya Moore both missed shots that would have given the West the lead, and Becky Hammon was called for traveling while attempting to tie the game with a three in the closing seconds. Cappie Pondexter's late layup produced the final 118-113 margin.
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Cash became the first Seattle player in any sport to win All-Star MVP honors multiple times.
Even in a losing effort, Cash's performance could not be ignored. With the East relying on a balanced scoring attack that saw nine of their 11 players score at least eight points, Cash's impressive totals of 21 points and 12 rebounds - both game highs - stood out. Cash also beat out teammate Rebekkah Brunson, who had 20 points and nine boards.
"I think so many players played well," said Cash. "It could've been anyone."
From the tip, Cash's energy was apparent. She scored the game's opening bucket on the West's first possession and scored eight points in the first five minutes. By halftime, Cash was closing in on a double-double with 14 points and seven rebounds. Recognizing how well she was playing, teammates kept feeding Cash the basketball, led by Bird. Focusing on setting up her talented teammates, Bird attempted a game-low three shots and handed out four assists.
The last time the WNBA played an All-Star Game in 2009, Cash was named MVP on the strength of scoring a record 24 points. She joins three-time winner Lisa Leslie as the lone players in league history to claim All-Star MVP honors multiple times. Still, after WNBA President Laurel J. Richie presented her with the MVP trophy, Cash downplayed her performance.
"I don't think it's really about me," she said. "My teammates, we all had fun tonight. That's what an All-Star Game is about - coming out and enjoying yourself - and I thought we did that."
The teams put on an entertaining show for fans. Neither was able to open up much of an advantage because of hot shooting on both sides. The largest lead of the game was five points, and the teams were tied 10 times in the fourth quarter alone. Fittingly, the East ended up winning on a three-pointer. The East shot 16-of-34 from beyond the arc, more than doubling the West's output from downtown.
- During halftime, the WNBA announced the Top 15 Players of All Time, as selected by fan voting, media members, players and coaches. Bird, Lauren Jackson and Katie Smith all represented the Storm in the Top 15, which also included former Storm players Yolanda Griffith and Sheryl Swoopes.