Cash, Storm not getting overconfident

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by Vin A. Cherwoo
Associated Press Writer

The Seattle Storm are off to the best start in franchise history with 11 wins in their first 13 games. However, after losing in the first round of the playoffs in each of the last five years, they’re not celebrating.

“If anything it keeps us focused,” veteran point guard Sue Bird said. “We didn’t win anything….It’s nice, but we definitely know what we need to work on. ..Right now we’re still learning every game.”

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CASH MONEY—Seattle Storms’ Swin Cash from McKeesport, left, and San Antonio Silver Stars’ Edwige Lawson-Wade vie for the ball in the second quarter during a WNBA game June 20, in Seattle. Cash led the team with 22 points.

Seattle, halfway to its franchise-record 22 wins set two years ago, is benefiting from some consistency. Bird and two-time MVP Lauren Jackson are in their ninth season together, and Tanisha Wright joined them in 2005. The other two starters, Swin Cash and Camille Little, and coach Brian Agler are all in their third seasons with the Storm.

Cash, a McKeesport native, had 22 points and nine rebounds, Lauren Jackson added 19 points and 14 rebounds and the Seattle Storm beat the San Antonio Silver Stars 82-61 Sunday night.

Storm players were happy to get a win after just returning from a loss June 17 at Indiana and a win Friday at New York.” We had heavy legs at the beginning,” Cash said. “But we just really fought through it and once we got into a rhythm and started attacking and being aggressive and getting to the offensive glass, I thought that really put a pep in our step.”

Seattle is third in the league in scoring (83.3 points per game) and rebounding (36.7). The Storm are outrebounding opponents by 8.4 per game and outscoring them by 10.5— the league’s top margins in both categories. Four players are scoring in double figures, led by Jackson at 20.0 points per game—tied for fourth in the WNBA. Cash is at 15.0, Little 12.2 and Bird 12.0. Bird also leads the league in assists at 6.2 per game.

With the latest win, Seattle improved to 8-0 against Western Conference teams and 7-0 at home. The Storm are also the only team in the conference with a winning record.

Ultimately, the Storm’s season will be judged by their performance in the postseason. Seattle hasn’t won a playoff series since winning the WNBA championship in 2004, though it reached 20 wins three times in that stretch—including a franchise-best 22-12 record in 2008.

“There’s so many things that come into play when you get into the postseason,” said Liberty coach Anne Donovan, who coached the Storm for five seasons, including the 2004 title team. “Health, injuries, match­ups, home-court advantage.”

Agler, now 55-28 with the Storm, also coached Minnesota for the franchise’s first three seasons. Before that, he led the Columbus Quest of the ABL to consecutive championships in 1997 and 1998, and was the league’s coach of the year in 1997.

“I had a lot of good times in the ABL,” he said. “We won a lot of big games there. I really trusted those teams, and I trust this one as much. They understand what it takes to compete and be successful.”

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