Storm Fans Welcome Swin Cash and Brian Agler

Jonathan Tallariti, | February 21, 2008
Ballard- With his 14-year-old niece thousands of miles away in Chicago, Kris Sacksteder, carried her prized Seattle Storm souvenir closely by his side on Wednesday, making sure the storied collectible was added to.

His niece's white Seattle Storm shirt was covered with signatures from past and present Storm players, dating back to the team’s inaugural season. He thought it was only appropriate to have the two newest members of the Storm franchise; Swin Cash and Coach Brian Agler autograph it also.

When his niece returns from Chicago, Sacksteder is going to ask her if she notices the newest additions to her shirt.

“Swin signed it right below Sue Bird and Brian signed it right below Lin Dunn,” he said.

He is also enthusiastic for the season to start with the addition of Cash and what she will bring to the Storm.

“Looks like we are building up defense,” he said. “Like they talked about tonight, chemistry is really important. Bringing in Swin who is a leader and already has connections with players is really important. I am very, very excited and I can’t wait.”

Sacksteder was one of many Seattle Storm fans who packed the auditorium at Ballard High School for a question and answer session with Cash, Agler and Storm Chief Operating Officer Karen Bryant.

Outside the auditorium, two tables were set up for fans to visit. The first had a black Storm tablecloth with ticket information and schedules for the upcoming season. The second was where fans signed in and filled out entry forms for a drawing for the first autograph by Cash since she was traded to the Storm.

There was also stacks of Storm DVD’s that had highlights from the 2007 season that fans picked up before they went into the auditorium.

Inside the auditorium, fans took their seats and talked amongst themselves about the upcoming season.

The Ballard High School Girls Basketball team was out in full-force showing their support for the Storm. Each of the player’s was wearing a white “I’m In!” Storm shirts.

On the stage in the auditorium, Bryant sat in the spotlight with a green Seattle Storm banner behind her. When the event began, she introduced Cash and Agler. When Bryant announced Swin Cash’s name, the entire audience gave her a standing ovation and cheers while she approached the stage.

Cash and Agler then talked about their new opportunities with the Seattle Storm and what they are looking forward to about next season.

Agler talked to the audience about why he is looking forward to coaching in Seattle.

“I have had two really super days in the last two months,” Agler said. One, when I was offered the job to come out here and I am so excited about the opportunity. In all honesty, part of the reason that I am excited is because I understand how loyal, supportive and enthusiastic the fans are here in Seattle.”

Agler told the audience that his second super day was when the Storm acquired Cash.

“I am really excited about the addition and the positive things she brings to our team both offensively and defensively, and like Karen said, in the community,” Agler said. “She will be right in the middle of things and really supportive of the young people in Seattle and the Seattle area in the upcoming years.”

The microphone was then handed to Cash who talked about her thoughts on coming to play for the Storm.

“I am truly blessed to be here today,” she said. “Chafie (Fields, her fiancé) and I would like to thank KB (Karen Bryant) and coach Agler, the organizations support in making this trade happen and having the confidence and faith in me to come here and understanding what I stand for. First and foremost that is to win championships.”

She also talked what she would be doing with her time off the court.

“To give back to the community,” she said. “That is something that was instilled in me at a young age with my mother.”

After the question and answer session was finished, the drawing happened for a Swin Cash autographed basketball that she signed on the stage.

Season ticket holder, Michele Barriga was the lucky winner and was given the ball personally by Cash.

“I am really excited,” she said. “I have two other balls at home signed by Lauren and Izzi (Iziane Castro-Marques) and different players and Anne (Donovan). Now I have a third one and I am going to set it on my shelf with the other two.”

Before the evening was over, Cash and Agler mingled with the fans. They shook hands, signed autographs and took pictures, while people welcomed them to the city.

Agler was impressed with what he saw from the fans on Wednesday and it falls right in line with his previous impressions.

“Tonight is an example of the support the Storm gets,” he said. “It was great. They are well-educated fans. They know what’s going on, they want to know and they ask great questions. I am just excited to get everybody our there on opening night.”