Swin Cash left off Olympic team
Four years ago, she was a media darling, appearing on the cover of TV Guide with a fierce stare as part of the U.S. women's Olympic team team...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Minnesota Lynx @ Storm, 7 p.m.
Four years ago, she was a media darling, appearing on the cover of TV Guide with a fierce stare as part of the U.S. women's Olympic team.
In Beijing, Swin Cash may just be media.
The 6-foot-1 Storm forward learned on Tuesday that she would not be one of the final three players named to the 2008 Olympic team. It was a devastating blow for Cash, who won gold in Athens in 2004 and spent the past year helping the national team qualify for the Beijing Games and also traveled to China for friendlies in the host country.
Cash took 24 hours to absorb the phone call, then returned to the court to prepare for the Storm's 13-point win against New York on Thursday.
Seattle (10-7) plays host to Minnesota (9-8) today at KeyArena.
"I was numb," said Cash of the call. "It was short and direct."
It was so short, Cash didn't even ask why she hadn't been selected to represent her country.
One reason could be her recent statistics for the Storm. After averaging 15.8 points in May, Cash slumped to a career-low 31.2 shooting percentage and 10.1 points in June. She's averaging 11.6 points and 5.6 rebounds overall.
Yet Cash is a versatile player, which seems to fit Olympic coach Anne Donovan's style of possessing multiple utility players.
"It's a tough break for her," Storm coach Brian Agler said. "USA Basketball has its own unique situation where they go through periods where they have a core group they go to until they retire. The thing I told Swin was, 'You did everything you possibly could do to make the team, and you should have no regrets.' "
Cash, 28, may be part of the Games as a commentator for NBC. Broadcasting is a career Cash is interested in entering after her playing career; she already works for ESPN as a studio analyst during the NBA season.
Only Cash has been training to play in the Games, working her way back from a herniated disk suffered last season while playing for Detroit.
"She was on the comeback trail and she's hit her stride," said Storm teammate Sue Bird, who was named to the U.S. Olympic team in May. "For her to kind of fall short and not make the team is upsetting."
Although the announcement isn't expected until next week, guard Lindsay Whalen (Connecticut) and forwards Tamika Catchings (Indiana) and DeLisha Milton-Jones (Los Angeles) are expected to be the three final players named to the team. USA Basketball will also select alternates, but Cash will not be part of that group, either.
It's a much different group from 2004, when Catchings, Bird, Cash, center Ruth Riley and guard Diana Taurasi were pegged as the newcomers to take the places of Olympic veterans Dawn Staley, Sheryl Swoopes and Yolanda Griffith.
But America has produced better inside players than Riley in recent years, and the need to stay ahead of a surging Australian team, featuring Storm star Lauren Jackson, and the formidable backcourt in Russia, with Becky Hammon (San Antonio), has shifted America's focus player-wise.
Also working against Cash could be the fact she had a problem with her playing time under 2004 Olympic coach Van Chancellor. Donovan, the former Storm coach, was a U.S. assistant under Chancellor.
"To not be an alternate is the biggest surprise for me, and why it hurts so much," Cash said. "That means my name wasn't even part of the discussion. I made the sacrifices, but there are no hard feelings whatsoever. I want them to win gold."
Cash now is working on alternate plans for the WNBA's Olympic break, from July 28 to Aug. 27. Her agent will work on securing the NBC deal, and she'll work out her new schedule with Agler.
"I've never thought about anything else but that I was going to be in China," Cash said.
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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