Storm's Swin Cash and Tanisha Wright turn jeers into on-court motivation
Fumbling to put pearl earrings in her ear, Storm forward Swin Cash suddenly burst into song inside her team's KeyArena locker room on Sunday...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Storm @ New York Liberty, 4:30 p.m., KKNW (550 AM)
Fumbling to put pearl earrings in her ear, Storm forward Swin Cash suddenly burst into song inside her team's KeyArena locker room on Sunday.
"Big ups to all my haters," she cooed, with guard Tanisha Wright joining in for the chorus of rapper Shawty Lo's hit, "Dey Know." Both players had just finished one of those games that makes observers scratch their heads and wonder why we haven't heard much about them the past few seasons.
Haven't heard anything positive, at least.
Wright has read stories and heard comments about people not liking her game, particularly as a backup point guard. Wright is a natural shooting guard.
Cash was traded from Detroit to the Storm before this season. A June 2007 article in The New York Times quoted Shock coach Bill Laimbeer and assistant coach Rick Mahorn referring to her as a "crackhead" and "crack."
"Y'all are going to find Bill floating in the Youghiogheny," Cash is quoted, referring to a river near her hometown of McKeesport, Pa.
Coincidentally, Wright is from nearby Whitaker, also southeast of Pittsburgh. Wright and Cash formed a bond and their play to open the season has helped Seattle jump to a franchise-best 5-1 start headed into today's game at New York (1-3).
Both were on the court for the final quarter Sunday against Houston as the Storm rallied to win 64-63.
After the gritty win, both players were asked about their recent history in comparison to their impressive beginning in 2008. Each said they didn't particularly care what was said.
But Cash is using every diss as motivation. And on Wednesday she leads the Storm into its first matchup against the Shock (5-1) at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Cash, the Shock captain for six seasons, had many incidents with Laimbeer before she was traded to the Storm for the fourth pick (Alexis Hornbuckle) in the draft. The highlights were Laimbeer's "crack" comments and his leaving the two-time All-Star on the bench in Game 4 of the Shock's loss to Phoenix for the WNBA championship.
Laimbeer simply points to a change in direction and the addition of post players.
"Every team evolves to something different," he said. "We're becoming more of an inside game with Cheryl Ford and ... Kara Braxton.
"With the 'crack' comment, it was playful. It was, I think, until it got in the media. Then it became an issue."
Cash, disagreed. She said she told Laimbeer and Mahorn she didn't like the "derogatory" comments and then asked, "If a man said that or called your daughter that, how would you feel?"
"It became a public thing," Cash said. "When that happens, you not only offend me, you offend my family and people who know me. That comment doesn't go with me, and that's why it became that big of an issue. But there were a number of things that came about to lead up to my leaving Detroit. Some people say him leaving me out the game was the final straw. [But] I still love Detroit."
Once the February trade was completed, Cash went to work on rejuvenating her game. She said she added about eight pounds of muscle, and trained to regain quickness, hit her jump shot consistently and move without the ball.
The payoff is Cash averaging 16.2 points and 6.5 rebounds through six games. The numbers are reminiscent of her 2004 season after she helped the U.S. team win gold in the Athens Olympics. She later tore her left ACL.
"I feel free to be whatever offensively and defensively," Cash said of Seattle. "To be that player that can fill up a stat line. ... I'm versatile enough and that's what I was known for when I came into this league."
Still Cash's voice quivered when asked about her return to Detroit.
"The Detroit fans can get on people a lot," said Cash, who's trying to sell her Rochester Hills, Mich., home. "But I'm hoping that they'll be nice when we announce the starters. After that, I don't expect anything from them."
And Cash even has a theme song for it: "Hi Hater."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 7:10 PM
Storm re-signs Swin Cash to multiyear deal
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