Looking Back - Swin Cash in 2012
The list of accolades for Swin Cash is lengthy: three WNBA Championships (2003, 2006, 2010), four WNBA All-Star appearances including two All-Star MVPs, twice named to Second Team All-WNBA, winner of the WNBA Community Assist Award in 2003, two-time Olympian and gold medalist. All that in addition to her collegiate success at UConn, where she led the Huskies to a pair of NCAA titles – making her one of just six players to win an NCAA Championship, a WNBA Championship and an Olympic gold medal.
The Chicago Sky snagged the versatile 6-foot-1 forward in a blockbuster trade with Seattle on January 2nd, 2012 that also brought forward Le’coe Willingham to the Windy City. The Sky hoped the move for the veteran’s on-court leadership and experience would help bring the young talents along while remaining in the hunt for the franchise’s first playoff berth. It was apparent from training camp that Cash would provide a strong, vocal presence and facilitate in-game communication. “Swin’s a talker,” said teammate Sylvia Fowles. “She came in and talked the whole practice on Day One. I know she’s going to give 110 percent every time. I’m not sure I’ve played with someone who’s had as much energy as she does. Just her intensity is something you’ve never seen before.”
Cash proved a steady anchor in Chicago’s lineup, starting all 34 games of the season and averaging 10.6 points and 5.8 rebounds. Her crowning performance came on Sept. 13 in Los Angeles, where she nailed a career-best five 3-pointers en route to a season-high 23 points. Cash’s ability to play inside and out added flexibility to the Sky roster – particularly after Fowles and her league-leading rebounding went down to injury in late August. Cash responded by crashing the boards and averaging 7.5 rebounds – nearly two more than her season average – in the final 13 games. And if Cash didn’t have her shot dropping on some nights, Sky coach Pokey Chatman praised her for being active and finding other intangible ways to contribute. “Those are the things that when you’re not scoring baskets, people have a tendency to slack,” said Chatman. “But she has the tendency to go the other way and then it becomes infectious.”
Perhaps the highlight of Cash’s season, however, took place in London where she returned to the Olympics and helped Team USA bring home the gold. Cash represented her country in the 2004 Athens Olympics, but due in part to injury, she was left off the 2008 squad in Beijing. “That hurt, but it put me on a mission and helped me get laser-focused,” Cash said. “For the last three years, my goal had been to get back to the Olympic podium. I had to make some sacrifices. I give God a lot of the honor because it humbled me and made me even more hungry.” That appetite gave way to another dominant Olympics by Team USA, in which Cash helped the U.S. win its 41st straight Olympics game and fifth straight gold medal.
With each new milestone – this season, she became the 18th player to score 4,000 points and the 13th player to reach 2,000 rebounds – Cash has taken pride as an ambassador of women’s basketball while being heavily involved in her charity, Cash for Kids. She hopes to get into broadcasting when she finally hangs up her sneakers for the last time, but until then, she welcomes the challenge of helping the Sky aim for a WNBA title. “That’s a new challenge and I look forward to it,” she said. “If I was able to win with three different teams and raise that trophy, that’s just an amazing feat. All these girls with the Sky are young in their careers, but they have amazing potential. I think I’m not only helping them, but we’re growing the game of basketball.”