2008 in Review: Swin Cash
Kevin Pelton, storm.wnba.com | November 13, 2008
The Seattle Storm made Swin Cash the centerpiece of the team's changes last offseason, acquiring the All-Star forward from the Detroit Shock for a first-round pick on Feb. 19 as the first of three major additions to the starting lineup. The deal reunited Cash with UConn teammate and roommate Sue Bird and gave her a fresh start after six seasons in Detroit.
Cash responded immediately to her role in Brian Agler's offense, which emphasized her ability to move without the basketball and created good looks in the paint. Cash scored double-figures in each of her first six games with the Storm, averaging 16.2 points per game to rank second only to Lauren Jackson on the team in that span.
Included were a 17-point effort off the bench in her second game (Cash did not start after returning to Seattle late from a funeral) and 19-point outings in wins at Phoenix and against the Houston Comets. Cash's early energy was critical as the rest of the team figured out Agler's system and how to fit their skills together into the lineup.
The fast start took something of a turn when the back problems that had plagued Cash throughout her final season with the Shock recurred, forcing her to seek treatment. While Cash remained in the lineup, the injury limited her explosiveness and frequently turned her into a jumpshooter instead of allowing her to get to the basket, where she thrives. Over the ensuing seven games, Cash would average 8.6 points per game and see her field-goal percentage plummet.
By midseason, Cash would find a way to more consistently contribute on offense, putting together a pair of three-game streaks of double-figure scoring as the Storm went 7-1 over an eight-game stretch. A key reason was that, even when Cash's shot wasn't falling, she was able to get to the free-throw line and knock down her foul shots at a career-best 77.2 percent clip. Her 122 free throws were good for ninth in the WNBA. At some point, it became clear that Cash's offensive production was a bellwether for the Storm's success as a team. The Storm went 15-4 when she scored double-figures and 6-6 when she failed to reach the mark.
Beyond her scoring, Cash was the Storm's third-leading rebounder over the course of the season. More surprising was that she finished second on the team in blocks per game, averaging one a night - a career high and good for 14th in the WNBA. On June 14 at Houston, Cash blocked a career-high five shots. Her best night on the glass came July 22 at Minnesota, when she added 11 rebounds to her 17 points and four assists in a strong all-around performance.
While she played on, Cash's back remained painful and troublesome. She sat out practices during the Olympic break, heading instead to New York to do analysis of the women's basketball competition for NBC's coverage, but saw little improvement. The back flared up after a strong game against Minnesota on Sept. 6 (17 points, six rebounds in a Storm win), affecting Cash's sciatic nerve and forcing her to sit out the final three games of the regular season.
Entering the postseason, Cash's status was extremely questionable. She did not practice with the team at all, but felt better the morning of Game 1 and was placed on the active roster. Coming off the bench, Cash's minutes were limited during the series. She still gave the team a lift, grabbing 11 rebounds in 44 minutes and energizing the Storm with her role in the team's Game 3 comeback.
Having spent last winter working out in Miami, Cash opted to head overseas this offseason to play for ZVVZ USK Praha in the Czech Republic. The limited schedule has helped keep her court time in check while keeping her timing strong. Ideally, that will translate into a healthy and productive 2008 season for Cash and the Storm.
2008 Photo Gallery
Get the Flash Player to see this movie.