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September 4, 2009 at 5:47 PM

Storm holding key to playoff picture?

Cash.jpgStorm F Swin Cash (pictured right) is close friends with San Antonio C Ruth Riley, so the question had to be asked if they’re working together — as much as possible — to plan an ideal playoff picture. With the Storm playing Minnesota and the Silver Stars playing Los Angeles twice, both could help each other out in standings.
San Antonio defeating LA would lock Seattle into at least second place in the West. Seattle defeating Minnesota would help take pressure off San Antonio in securing the fourth and final berth in the conference. The Silver Stars need to go 3-1 to completely lock the Lynx out, but if both finish at 15-19, San Antonio owns the head-to-head tiebreaker. Also, a combination of two San Antonio wins and one Minnesota loss would burst the Lynx’s hopes.
“I talked to Ruth the other night on the phone,” said Cash, who won a WNBA championship with Riley when both played in Detroit. “She’s right in there, making sure they can try to stay healthy like everybody else, to get into the playoffs. But it’s one of those things where you’re not really favored for anyone else. You just wish everybody the best.”
Cash also has UConn ties to Minnesota players Charde Houston and Renee Montgomery, who are part of a young Lynx squad looking to break-in for the first time since 2004. That was the year Seattle swept Minnesota in the opening round, going on to win its only championship.
San Antonio won the West and was swept by Detroit for the 2008 WNBA title.
“You look at it, but stay focused on yourselves,” said Cash of the ever-changing postseason picture. Once again in the WNBA, the final slots are going to come down to the final games as only three of eight possible berths have been clinched.
While turnovers and rebounding has been suspect of late, a positive is that Storm bigs Ashley Robinson and Suzy Batkovic-Brown are able to sparingly contribute along with rookie Ashley Walker.
Storm coach Brian Agler isn’t ruling out two-time MVP Lauren Jackson for Thursday’s home finale against Phoenix, but it’s highly doubtful she’ll be ready. Jackson is staying off the court as part of her rehab for the stress fractures in her lower back. So, that means the Storm’s post rotation is Camille Little, Janell Burse, Batkovic-Brown, and Robinson. Occasionally Agler will play Little at SF and Walker inside for different looks.
“I’m feeling a little bit of frustration because I like it to be a little bit better by now,” Robinson said. “I’ve got to stay positive. We have a really close-knit team, too, and that helps. Everybody just rallies behind you and believes in you and that makes things a lot easier.”
Batkovic-Brown credited PG Sue Bird directly for her progress, scoring a season-high nine points with five rebounds in a loss to Washington on Thursday.
“This season has been tough for me because I’m not playing much and it’s tough to find rhythm,” Batkovic-Brown said. “I’m lucky to have some really good teammates like Sue. She makes you feel free and finds you in your shot — she knows what your shot is, which makes it a bit easier.”
The Storm had a walk-through in Minnesota today and will not shoot-around on Saturday in an effort to rest the players. Despite her hometown Dallas Cowboys being in town, Robinson is skipping the game at the Metrodome tonight, instead relishing in the Tennessee aura that has followed her since her former athletic director attended the New York game on Tuesday.
The Volunteers’ women’s soccer team is staying at the same hotel as Seattle and plans to attend the game at the Target Center on Saturday. Tennessee is in town to play Minnesota tonight before traveling to face Wisconsin on Sunday.
“It seems like they’re just popping up everywhere,” Robinson said of her former school. “We’ll have 22 Tennessee fans, now Storm fans, at the game.”

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