SEATTLE – 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 with Lauren Jackson and Los Angeles played without Candace Parker, Cash slipped into the post position to help Seattle win 99-80 at KeyArena.
Cash scored 16 of her season-high 26 in the third quarter, breaking open Seattle’s offense. The Storm entered the game shooting a WNBA-worst 27.6 percent from 3-point range and having trouble getting to the free-throw line.
Cash solved that problem by 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 struggling teammate Katie Smith nailed back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, the Storm had built a double-digit lead and were on their way to shooting 52.9 percent from 3-point range. Smith finished with a season-high 13 points off the bench.
Up 96-70 with 3:53 remaining, Storm coach Brian Agler felt comfortable enough to begin pulling most of his stars.
Sparks coach Jennifer Gillom altered her starting lineup in an effort to snap the team’s four-game losing streak. In addition to reserve Ebony Hoffman starting for the injured Parker (knee), the coach swapped 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 build a 21-18 lead. Seattle found its 3-point shot in the second quarter with guard Tanisha Wright nailing back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Storm get to within 39-38 by halftime.
Wright, who entered the game shooting 27.3 percent from beyond the arc, finished the half with a team-high 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor.