Cash Helps Storm Collect 2-0 Finals Lead

Sep 16 2010 12:40AM
Seattle, Wash. -- There is a number that is stored inside Swin Cash’s head. It’s not phone digits or the time for Wednesday’s flight to Atlanta. The number is how many points she hopes to hold Atlanta Dream forward Angel McCoughtry to each game of these WNBA Finals.

Zero would be the obvious choice, but McCoughtry hasn’t been held scoreless – let alone in single digits – all season. But as of this exact moment, Cash has no plans to reveal her magic number, at least not until after this series.

Cash is only one win away from divulging the aforementioned information after the Seattle Storm knocked off the Atlanta Dream, 87-84, in Game Two of the WNBA Finals at KeyArena in Seattle on Tuesday. The victory pushed the Storm to 21-0 on their home floor this season.

McCoughtry, the league’s third-leading scorer in 2010, finished the game with 21 points, which is a fraction less than her average (21.1 ppg) for the regular season.

“She’s a high-volume shooter. She’s going to take a lot of shots regardless of who’s guarding her,” Cash said. “The thing is every shot that I’m in her space or (Tanisha Wright) is in her space we have a hand up, she’s taking a tough shot. If she makes a miraculous, turn-around 360 then hey, we can live with that.”

Despite the tough task on defense, Cash didn’t use up all her energy on that end of the floor. The eighth-year pro out of the University of Connecticut finished with 19 points in 33 minutes of action. Storm teammate Lauren Jackson led all scorers with 26 points, while Wright added 17.

Tuesday’s game was quite different for both teams, as Cash and McCoughtry only played about 20 minutes in Game One because of foul trouble. Cash said she was happy to look at the scoreboard in the fourth quarter of Game Two and realize she only had two.

“I was jumping for joy. I was like, ‘Hey, I’m still out here on the floor,'” Cash said with a laugh. “For me it was great to be out there and playing and enjoying the game.”

As Cash admitted, she isn’t the only one tasked with guarding McCoughtry. Wright gets the assignment too sometimes because of the way the Dream run their transition game. When McCoughtry drops down to the wing, Wright picks her up rather than Cash running all over the court. This allows the Storm, which run a man-to-man defense, to keep a body on someone at all times and not allow McCoughtry to get a quick, open look.

“They both draw tough assignments every time we take the floor,” guard Sue Bird said. “For them to be able to exert that much energy on defense… and for them to (perform well) offensively, that’s really hard.”

Taking on a fierce offensive weapon like McCoughtry is nothing new for Wright, who was named to the WNBA All-Defensive First Team in 2010. In the Western Conference Finals, she also had to go up against the league’s top scorer in the Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi, who averaged 18.5 points in the two-game series, more than four below her season average. Wright described the main difference between the two is Taurasi’s deep range.

“With Diana you have to guard her anywhere on the floor. It’s a little bit different in terms of that,” Wright said. “McCoughtry is versatile and she’ll take you to the block and post you up and has moves down there. She has a nice pull-up… You just have to be smart, moving your hands, moving your feet, and just try and limit her opportunities.”

Wright’s 17 points were the most she’s scored this postseason thus far, and her five steals were a season high. She said she was unaware of her stats line until she got into the locker room.

“When you’re in the midst of the game, you don’t realize what’s going on,” Wright said. “You just try to make plays and I think that was pretty much it tonight.”

“Tonight, with the way they were guarding her, she was really able to take advantage of (her abilities),” Bird said. “We called her number pretty much every single time at the end of the game.”

The Storm, who are now 3-0 in Game Twos this playoffs, have won sixth straight this postseason. The Finals now shift east to Atlanta, where the Dream host Game Three on Thursday and a potential Game Four on Sunday. Seattle, which also owns the WNBA’s best road record at 11-6, is well aware this best-of-five series is not over.

“Game Three is not going to be easy,” Bird admitted.

“We’re going into Thursday saying, ‘We want to win Thursday night,'” Cash said. “That’s been our focus this entire season, the next game. If we get the win, we’ve accomplished our goal. We’ve put ourselves in a great position though where if we don’t get Thursday night, we have two more shots at it.”

While Cash is keeping quiet about her magic number, the Storm knows theirs is one.

Series Info
Game 1: SEA 79, ATL 77: Box | Recap | Photos | Video
Game 2: SEA 87, ATL 84: Box | Recap | Photos | Video
Game 3: SEA 87, ATL 84: Box | Recap | Photos | Video


Gm 1: SEA 82, PHX 74
Box | Recap | Photos
Gm 2: SEA 91, PHX 88
Box | Recap | Photos

Gm 1: SEA 79, LAS 66
Box | Recap | Photos
Gm 2: SEA 81, LAS 66
Box | Recap | Photos

Gm 1: PHX 106, SAN 93
Box | Recap | Photos
Gm 2: PHX 92, SAN 73
Box | Recap | Photos


Gm 1: ATL 81, NYL 75
Box | Recap | Photos
Gm 2: ATL 105, NYL 93
Box | Recap | Photos

Gm 1: ATL 95 WAS 90
Box | Recap | Photos
Gm 2: ATL 101 WAS 77
Box | Recap | Photos

Gm 1: NYL 85, IND 73
Box | Recap | Photos
Gm 2: IND 75, NYL 67
Box | Recap | Photos
Gm 3: NYL 77, IND 74
Box | Recap | Photos