Growing up with WNBA role models

WNBA ‘astounding woman’ calls it quits

Swin Cash
Swin Cash Sophia Hantzes/MSR News

The New York Liberty on Friday makes its final visit of the season to face the host Minnesota Lynx. It also will be Swin Cash’s final visit of her illustrious career.

Cash, whose first name, Swintayla, means “astounding woman,” announced earlier this season her plan to retire after 15 WNBA seasons, her third with the Liberty.

The three-time WNBA champion (2003, 2006, 2010), four-time All Star, and two-time Olympian was a 2002 second overall pick by Detroit (now Dallas). She also played in Seattle (2008-11), Chicago (2012-13) and Atlanta (2014).

She is one of two players in league history to amass 5,000 points, grab 2,000 rebounds, and dish 1,000 assists in a career. The other player is Tamika Catchings, who is also retiring at season’s end. Both Catchings and Cash are on the 20@20 team that was announced last month.

“I’m just enjoying the end of a career and this final curtain call,” said the 6’-1” forward to the MSR after her team’s last visit, a three-point overtime win at Minnesota June 29.

Cash, in a May 4 espnW.com article, talked about challenging cultural assumptions, whether it’s race, all W players having the same sexual orientation, or too many players of color. These are reasons some often use for not fully accepting the WNBA as major league. Every player should be proud to be in the league, she stated.

“I’m excited to see so many of the young players who are coming into the league — the next level I see coming,” Cash pointed out. “It makes me happy to look forward for the league and where it is going.”

Sugar Rodgers
Sugar Rodgers Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Cash’s teammates Sugar Rodgers and Amanda Zahui B., two former “Minnesotans,” both had career nights against the Lynx the last time they were here. Rodgers, a fourth-year guard, scored a career-high 30 points against the club that first drafted her in the second round in 2013.

A rookie on the Lynx’s second league championship, Rodgers then was traded to New York during the off-season. Thus far, the 5’-9” player has doubled her scoring average from eight a game last season to 16 points this season.

“I’m getting there.  I still got things I can tweak,” admitted Rodgers to the MSR after her career night.

Teresa Weatherspoon, the first player in WNBA history to score 1,000 career points and 1,000 career assists, is the Liberty’s player development director and has been working with Rodgers on her shooting. “I definitely reached out to her when I wasn’t playing as much,” Rodgers recalled.

“She [Weatherspoon] knows the game. She is teaching me things that I don’t know. We get in there and work before practice, after practice, going hard, always in game mode.”

Zahui B
Zahui B Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Former Gopher Zahui B. also recorded her best night, a pro career-high 17 points, in her first career start against Minnesota. Last season’s second overall pick by Tulsa, the 6’-5” post player was traded to the Liberty before this season. She looked more comfortable now than a year ago, we told her afterwards.

“Coming to New York really helped me keep that confidence. I have more room to play — they want me to score. It’s definitely a confidence boost,” said Zahui B.

“I love the Minnesota fans. They gave me a lot of love when I was here. I miss Minnesota,” the Swedish native added.

Finally, on being selected to the 20 all-time players list, Cash said, “I’m really blessed to get the acknowledgement. I’ve been playing 15 years, but it seems like it went by so fast.”

 

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.