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July 30, 2008 at 8:15 AM

Cash update and other notes from Olympic training camp

Storm forward Swin Cash will be part of the Olympics, although not as a player, as she had hoped. She’ll join five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards in the NBC studio in New York to broadcast non-Team USA basketball games.
“It’s kind of like watching at home in your living room, only I have to remember I’m not at home watching in my living room,” Edwards joked.
Cash’s duties means her lower back injury will get more rest, but she won’t be part of the Storm’s practices during the WNBA hiatus. The women’s basketball portion runs Aug. 9-23. Seattle resumes WNBA play Aug. 28 at KeyArena against Houston.
But the opportunity is one Cash, 28, couldn’t pass up. She was part of ESPN’s in-studio NBA coverage and names ABC News anchor Robin Roberts, today’s recipient of the 2008 Inspiring Woman award, as a role model.
“It was awesome for me to be in college and have her in our backyard at ESPN,” said Cash of attending Connecticut while Roberts was an anchor on SportsCenter, among other programs with the network. “I was like a little kid in the candy store, always asking her questions and being a sponge. She would hold her own with all these guys and I would be like, ‘Wow!’ When she made the transition to Good Morning America, I knew anything was possible. She’s been the biggest influence.”
WINE AND WRISTS: Went to the WNBA’s wine-tasting event at Cellar 360 in San Francisco on Tuesday evening and New York forward Ashley Battle easily won as best pitchwoman for the Beringer wines. Battle, who played two games for the Storm in 2005 before being cut by former coach Anne Donovan, played in Spain, where she told me they drink wine for breakfast. “Yes, breakfast. Or beer,” she said. Her self-proclaimed love of wine helped her dive into the intricacies of the Chardonnay where the grapes are grown in Napa Valley. Even had me do the “Scope” taste, where you swish around the wine in your mouth to collect all the flavors.
Storm forward Shyra Ely was also in attendance, but isn’t into wine, so she didn’t do much talking about the product. I did learn that she’ll “never be killed by a bear because I’ll never be outside that long.” I was trying to talk her into camping in Washington’s gorgeous outdoors. “It’ll never happen,” she said.
Other players helping to pitch the wine to invited guests were Washington center Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Connecticut guard Lindsay Whalen, Houston center Michelle Snow, Sacramento coach Jenny Boucek and Sacramento forward Nicole Powell.
Powell was an expert. She swiveled her wrist around (without spilling the wine) to break up the aroma and when I commented about her smooth technique, she quickly quipped, “I’m a shooter, it’s all in the wrists.”
The two-hour event wrapped a long day for the players and staff. It started with a basketball clinic with about 70 kids in the morning, the opening of a Boys & Girls club in the afternoon, and the wine in the evening. “I’m wiped out,” Ely said before boarding the charter limo bus back to the hotel. She’ll be at the luncheon today and then head to Indianapolis on Thursday, returning for Storm practice on Aug. 9.
GOLDEN SHOES: Houston forward Tina Thompson went digging in her garage for shoes and came up with a gold pair of CB34s, Charles Barkley’s collector Nikes. She’s been wearing them to the Olympic training camp, appropriate because America is trying to bring home its fourth consecutive gold medal in women’s basketball. You can read more about Thompson’s thoughts heading into the Games here.
SANTOS DEPARTS: Storm forward Kelly Santos’ plans changed and she left Seattle today to meet her Brazilian team in Haining, China for the Diamond Ball tournament. The national team is actually in Australia for one more tuneup game against the Opals today. It would have been a wild travel schedule full of too many time changes, that’s why Santos isn’t in Australia as she earlier thought she’d be. She’s joined by Atlanta center Erika Desouza on the flight. Desouza fractured her lower right leg, but returned to play and should compete in the Games.



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