Cash, Storm roll past Sacramento, 66-55Jul 10, 2009 - 4:23 AM SEATTLE(AP) -- After back surgery in March that forced her to miss most of training camp, Swin Cash said she was reintroducing herself to the WNBA.
The rest of the league is taking notice of the Seattle Storm forward.
Cash matched her season high with 18 points, leading the Storm to a 66-55 victory over the Sacramento Monarchs on Thursday night.
"I just feel like I'm a better me," said Cash, who also had 18 on Tuesday in a victory over San Antonio. "I don't think too much about trying to be exactly like I was a couple of years ago. Hopefully, I can be better than that. That's my goal, and I just try to do that every game."
Storm coach Brian Agler can see Cash's improvement on a daily basis, and he's hearing about it from some of his counterparts.
"We had the Detroit coaches, Bill Laimbeer (the former Shock coach for whom Cash played previously) and some of the other coaches tell us she looks like she was three or four years ago," Agler said. "She's just one of the great competitors in the league. She practiced maybe twice before our first game. She's just getting healthier and she's getting her legs back underneath her."
Lauren Jackson, who was limited to a season-low three points by San Antonio on Tuesday, added 11 for the Storm (8-4), who won their second straight and climbed into a tie with Minnesota for second place in the Western Conference.
Jackson, who entered as the WNBA's second-leading scorer at 20.5 points per game, opened the season with eight straight games of 20 or more points.
Seattle extended its home-court winning streak to 15 games, dating to June 2008. That includes a 5-0 mark this season.
Scholonda Robinson and Rebekkah Brunson had 10 points apiece for the Monarchs (3-9), whose first two-game winning streak of the season was snapped.
The Storm scored 10 straight points - seven by Cash - after Robinson hit the first shot of the game. The Monarchs then missed their next six shots.
"Seattle is a good defensive team. They make everybody play ugly, but we played particularly ugly tonight," Monarchs coach Jenny Boucek said. "There's no reason for it anymore. We had too many no-shows individually, and we just didn't play well enough."
Sacramento closed within 19-15 at the outset of the second quarter, but Seattle responded with a 12-0 run, which Shannon Johnson and Jackson started with back-to-back 3-pointers.
Seattle led 38-28 at halftime and its lead slipped below double digits just once during the second half, when the Monarchs closed to 40-31 early in the third quarter. The Storm responded with an 11-2 run to take a 51-33 lead.
The Storm, who came in as the league's third-best defensive team by allowing 70.9 points per game, kept their opponent below 60 for the second straight outing.
"Our defense is what keeps us in games," Seattle guard Sue Bird said, "and most times, it's what wins us games. You saw that the last two games."
Cash, Jackson, Bird and Camille Little pulled down five rebounds apiece for Seattle. Jackson also had four of the Storm's nine blocks.
Nicole Powell led the Monarchs with seven rebounds.
"It was hard to sit there and watch it. I hated this whole game and to be a part of it," Powell said. "I think our team has had enough learning experiences, and it's time to do something about it."
The Storm shot 42 percent (23 of 58) and limited Sacramento to 34 percent (22 of 62).
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