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September 17, 2008 at 2:54 PM

Cash travels, but remains questionable

Storm forward Swin Cash missed practice today. She had a doctor’s appointment regarding her lower back, but still traveled with the team this afternoon to Los Angeles. Seattle will practice in L.A. on Thursday and should know more about Cash’s status for Game 1 by shootaround on Friday.
“She’s just getting as much information as possible,” Storm coach Brian Agler said of Cash. “I’ll probably know something tonight.”
In the past, Cash has played better after rest. She received a cortisone shot during the Olympic break and missed three games due to the injury. Tuesday’s session was her first in nearly two weeks.
With forward Sheryl Swoopes healthy enough to play, the Storm could rest Cash for one more game. Or at least see how the team fares, having her dress in case she’s needed, then use Cash in later games or rounds, should the Storm advance.
Swoopes is playing with a heavy heart. Her family, including mother, lives in the Houston area and remained in the city through the devastation of Hurricane Ike.
Swoopes’ mother was one of the few to have her power return this week, but there might be plans to relocate her to her daughter’s Kirkland home for safety. Swoopes couldn’t really talk about the situation after practice, she said, “because I get emotional. They’re OK.”
The Storm spent practice talking about perimeter defense, and you could hear Agler through the practice doors getting after the players about positioning and effort. But Swoopes doesn’t think the backcourt’s defense is the only thing that’s going to be important during the series.
“L.A. has a lot of weaknesses and as Brian said, it’s their job as coaches and our job as players to go out and exploit those weaknesses,” Swoopes said.
One is the young Sparks backcourt. And L.A. center Lisa Leslie is working with forward DeLisha Milton-Jones to get projected point-guard starter Shannon Bobbitt ready. In fact, Milton-Jones said Bobbitt approached the veterans last week and asked them “to break her down to the core” so that she could improve.
“She’s had the most difficult role of the season that anyone has had to play,” Milton-Jones said. “People think it should be easy, just throw it in to us and we’ll win. But it’s not. I tip my hat to her, she’s passionate about the team and winning and learning. We just need to be sure we’re making the proper decisions.”
Of the Sparks’ eight playoff appearances, they have not advanced past the opening round only once. That was in 2004 when Yolanda Griffith’s Sacramento team upset L.A., then went on to lose to Seattle in the Western Conference Finals. The Storm ultimately won the championship that season, but has made first-round exits every season since.
Can Giffith, the Storm’s starting center, pull another favor for Seattle? We’ll see. But at least she’ll have an energized Swoopes by her side.
“This was a lot bigger than I thought it would be,” Swoopes said of the concussion she suffered Sept. 6. She’s also hampered by plantar faciitis in her left foot. “But I haven’t had any headaches in the last four days and no pain anywhere. Today was actually the first practice where I was able to go without any limitations. I feel good.”
NOTE: Teams finalized their rosters today and Agler didn’t make any changes.



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