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Originally published Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 9:22 PM

Swin Cash helps Storm past Los Angeles Sparks

In case you forgot, Swin Cash can play inside. Don't let her lithe frame fool you. On Saturday, in a MVP-less game as Seattle played without...

Seattle Times staff reporter

quotes We started really slowly! But we showed why we're the champs! Great effort by so many... Read more
quotes That was encouraging. Best we've looked in awhile. Read more
quotes Way to go Read more

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In case you forgot, Swin Cash can play inside.

Don't let her lithe frame fool you. On Saturday, in a MVP-less game as Seattle played without Lauren Jackson (hip) and Los Angeles without Candace Parker (knee), Cash slipped into the center spot to help Seattle win 99-80 at KeyArena.

"That's where she (Swin) grew up, but she's evolved her game to being a wing," said Storm coach Brian Agler of the reigning WNBA Player of the Week. "It's easy to go back and play inside like she did tonight, really because of Camille's (Little) foul trouble. Swin was really persistent in her playing. Constantly aggressive at the offensive end, got to the free-throw line a lot, got some offensive boards and played good defense. That's why she's such a good player."

Little collected her fourth foul with 8:55 remaining in the third quarter, forcing Agler to remove her from the game. He moved Cash inside and with Seattle trailing 46-43 with 6:55 left, Cash scored 10 points in a 14-3 run to help the Storm build a 57-49 lead.

Cash scored 16 of her season-high 26 points in the third quarter, helping Seattle build a 10-point lead.

"Whenever one thing is not working or it's not as consistent as you would like it, you've got to go to your strength," said Cash, who played power forward at Connecticut and with USA Basketball. "Brian and I talked about it and I wanted to make it a conscious effort to do that ... The last couple days of practice, (Agler) has been saying we've got to attack the basket and be aggressive. When he starts talking about that, that's (Tanisha Wright) and I."

The Storm (6-4) entered the game shooting a WNBA-worst 27.6 percent from three-point range and having trouble getting to the free-throw line. Problem solved, with Seattle shooting 52.9 percent from three-point range.

With Cash sweeping the baseline for layins and converting fast-break layups while being fouled, Seattle outscored a bigger L.A. lineup 48-34 in the paint.

And by the time Cash's offensively struggling teammate Katie Smith nailed back-to-back three-pointers in the fourth quarter, the Storm built an 82-66 lead. Smith finished with a season-high 13 points off the bench.

"A lot of people were getting them to drop," said Smith, one of four Storm players to have a season-high in scoring. "We've got to sustain this for two games, hopefully three games. We've got to get a roll together."

Sparks coach Jennifer Gillom altered her starting lineup in an effort to snap the team's now five-game losing streak. In addition to reserve Ebony Hoffman starting for the injured Parker, the coach swapped legends Ticha Penicheiro and Tina Thompson for top reserve Kristi Toliver and rookie Jantel Lavender.

The new lineup didn't rest in the opening quarter, helping Los Angeles (4-6) build a 21-18 lead. Seattle found its three-point shot in the second quarter, Wright nailing back-to-back three-pointers to help the Storm close the half down 39-38.

Wright finished with a season-high 21 points.

"Sometimes you have to make changes when things aren't going well to try to motivate the team," said Gillom, whose Sparks are 0-6 on the road. "I still believe in them, I'm just trying to find a combination that works together at the right time. By them resting more in the first half, I'm hoping in the fourth quarter they can be more productive."

Not Saturday. Thompson didn't play in the fourth quarter and L.A. couldn't stop Seattle's hot shooting, the Storm making all five of its three-point attempts in the period.

"It felt good," said Wright, whose team ended a two-game losing streak. "If we can bring this kind of effort every night, we'll be hard to beat."

LOS ANGELES fg ft
min m-a m-a or-t a pf pts
Milton-Jones 29:09 7-12 3-3 3-5 2 2 19
Hoffman 24:50 0-4 0-0 0-3 2 4 0
Lavender 35:03 8-16 5-6 3-9 1 4 21
Toliver 32:16 6-12 0-0 0-2 5 2 17
Quinn 18:12 2-5 1-2 0-0 2 1 5
O'Hea 19:29 2-3 1-2 1-2 2 2 5
Thompson 11:29 0-3 2-2 1-1 0 0 2
Penicheiro 14:07 2-2 0-0 0-2 2 2 5
Lacy 15:25 3-4 0-0 1-3 2 2 6
Totals 30-61 12-15 9-27 18 19 80
Percentages: FG .492, FT .800. Three-point goals: 8-15, .533 (Toliver 5-9, Milton-Jones 2-3, Penicheiro 1-1, Hoffman 0-1, O'Hea 0-1). Team rebounds: 6. Team turnovers: 22 (33 PTS). Blocked shots: 3 (Lavender, O'Hea, Thompson). Turnovers: 21 (Lacy 4, Toliver 4, Penicheiro 3, Thompson 3, Lavender 2, Milton-Jones 2, Quinn 2, Hoffman). Steals: 9 (Lacy 3, Milton-Jones 2, Quinn 2, Hoffman, Toliver).
SEATTLE fg ft
min m-a m-a or-t a pf pts
Cash 34:24 9-17 7-8 2-4 1 4 26
Little 17:23 2-3 2-4 0-3 2 5 6
Willingham 25:29 5-7 1-3 3-7 1 2 12
Bird 31:09 7-11 1-1 0-3 8 0 17
Wright 31:09 6-11 7-8 1-2 1 5 21
Robinson 15:46 1-2 0-0 1-3 1 1 2
Smith 27:02 4-10 2-2 3-6 5 0 13
Snell 8:11 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 2
Kobryn 5:34 0-2 0-0 0-1 0 0 0
Thomas 3:53 0-0 0-0 1-1 0 1 0
Totals 35-64 20-26 11-30 20 18 99
Percentages: FG .547, FT .769. Three-point goals: 9-17, .529 (Smith 3-6, Bird 2-3, Wright 2-4, Willingham 1-1, Cash 1-3). Team rebounds: 6. Team turnovers: 15 (18 PTS). Blocked shots: 4 (Bird, Kobryn, Robinson, Smith). Turnovers: 15 (Wright 4, Cash 3, Kobryn 2, Smith 2, Snell 2, Thomas, Willingham). Steals: 12 (Little 3, Robinson 3, Wright 3, Cash 2, Snell).
Los Angeles 21 18 21 20 — 80
Seattle 18 20 32 29 — 99
Attendance: 9,686 (9,686). Time: 1:50. Officials: Clarke Stevens, Cameron Inouye, Tom Mauer.

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