Swin Cash And Diana Taurasi Added to 2004 USA Senior National Team
May 12, 2004 Colorado Springs, Colorado Teleconference Quotes
Swin Cash (Detroit Shock) and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), both of whom competed alongside the 2004 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team core group during its recent spring training, were added to the 2004 USA core group today, leaving one spot remaining on the eventual 12-member roster. Selected by the USA Basketball Women's National Team Committee, the 11 athletes are expected to represent the United States at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Aug. 13-29. The Committee will evaluate players for the final roster spot during the WNBA preseason before making an announcement on the eventual 12-member squad.
"I'm really excited," said Cash. "I don't think I'm a stranger to hard work and everything in my life I've gotten has come from hard work, determination and perseverance through a lot of different things. For me to train for two months and travel with the team in order to work my way onto the team, it means so much more to me to be a part of this."
"This is definitely a thrill," said Taurasi. "Watching the Olympics as a little kid, following Lisa Leslie and even before that, Teresa Edwards ... it's definitely going to be special to be able to play on an Olympic team. My focus is to go out there and do what I can do for the team, passing, getting people the ball in the right spots. Anything after that is extra because there are already great scorers and great players (on the team)."
"First of all, Swin Cash and Diana Taurasi are great additions to the '04 team," said USA and Houston Comets head coach Van Chancellor. "They bring a huge amount of enthusiasm, energy and excitement, plus outstanding abilities. Taurasi is a tremendous two guard who can play the three or the one, she's an excellent outside shooter. Cash is like the Energizer Bunny that you see on TV. She comes into a game and can play the three-four, just plays tremendous defense, plays hard on every play. We're excited about adding them.
"I'm really, really happy with the make up of our basketball team so far. I think we need to add one more post-type player and we'll have the mix that I think is necessary to compete for the gold medal this summer."
"Swin and Diana proved to the members of the Committee that they deserved to be named to the 2004 USA Basketball Senior National Team," said USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee chair Renee' Brown, Vice President of Player Personnel for the WNBA. "Throughout the spring training Swin worked very hard to earn this position. She had some big games for us, especially in Europe when we were without three of our top players. Swin continued to put forth 100 percent effort during the entire training schedule, both during games and by doing the little things in practices like scrambling for loose balls.
"Diana's just a special player, one who is able to adapt to different situations. Her play in that first game alone looked as if she had been with the team a lot longer than one day. We wanted to add a player with the ability to shoot the long-range shots and she's very capable of that. Her versatility, the way she was able to mesh with the members of the team during practices, games and off the court, everything she did, was what we were looking for."
Chancellor will be assisted on the sidelines in Athens by Anne Donovan (Seattle Storm), Gail Goestenkors (Duke University) and C. Vivian Stringer (Rutgers University). The nine previously announced core group members of the 2004 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team include Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Shannon Johnson (San Antonio Silver Stars), Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles Sparks), DeLisha Milton-Jones (Los Angeles Sparks), Katie Smith (Minnesota Lynx), Dawn Staley (Charlotte Sting), Sheryl Swoopes (Houston Comets) and Tina Thompson (Houston Comets).
The U.S. capped a successful spring training schedule with an unblemished 13-0 record in its early preparations for Athens. Featuring three separate training sessions, the USA's competition ranged from national and professional club teams to the 2004 WBCA All-Star Team, with games played in six international arenas and four domestic cities. The three camps gave the coaching staff and USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee a chance to see 10 U.S. candidates compete alongside the Senior National Team core group members in hope of securing one of the three remaining roster positions.
The United States opened its training with a three-game sweep of host Cuba in Havana Feb. 24-26. Following a two week break, the USA then collected six victories in Europe over top professional and national teams March 20-27. Regrouping in New Orleans at the Final Four, the red, white and blue downed the 2004 WBCA College All-Stars, before taking a trio of games from Japan in Denver; Lubbock, Texas, and Houston April 9-13.
Following the first portion of the WNBA season, which is scheduled to run May 20 - Aug. 1 before breaking for the Olympics, the U.S. team will reconvene on Aug. 3 to complete their pre-Olympic training at sites to be announced.
The only non-core athlete to compete in all three of the USA squad's spring training camps, in her USA Basketball debut Cash posted 12 points and seven rebounds against Cuba on Feb. 24. Playing in all 13 exhibition games, she averaged 9.6 ppg., 5.5 rpg. and 2.0 apg. as the U.S. earned an unblemished 13-0 record in Cuba, Europe and the United States. She scored in double digits eight times and three times posted double-doubles, including 13 points and 12 rebounds in the USA's closest contest, a 67-59 victory over the professional club team MiZo Pecsi VSK in Pecs, Hungary.
Cash last season helped Detroit to the 2003 WNBA title, turning around the worst team in the league in 2002 to the No. 1 squad in 2003. After averaging 16.6 ppg. and 5.8 rpg. during the season, Cash averaged 12.7 ppg. and 5.3 apg., in the three-game series against the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Sparks.
Capping her four years at the University of Connecticut with a perfect 39-0 record and her second NCAA title, Cash also assisted UConn to a 36-1 record and the 2000 NCAA national title as a sophomore. All told, with Cash on the roster, Connecticut posted a 136-9 record (.938 winning percentage), won a pair of NCAA crowns (2000, 2002) while advancing to four NCAA Tournaments, including the 2001 Final Four, and earned four Big East regular season and tournament titles.
Earning numerous accolades throughout her collegiate career, Cash was selected to the 2002 Kodak/WBCA and U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-America first team, as well as 2002 Kodak/WBCA All-District I. Additionally, Cash was named 2002 Associated Press All-America second team and was an A.P. All-America honorable mention in 2001. In helping the Huskies to the 2002 NCAA crown, she was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player and also earned 2001 NCAA All-Eastern Regional honors.
A three-time Big East Conference All-Tournament selection, Cash was named to the 2002 All-Big East first team, earned second team honors in 2001 and received a third team nod as a sophomore in 2000.
She currently ranks eighth among all-time Huskies in points (1,583), sixth in rebounds (910) and seventh in blocked shots (130) and field goal percentage (.551).
The No. 1 pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft by the Phoenix Mercury, Taurasi joined the 2004 USA Senior Team less than 48 hours after winning her third NCAA title with the University of Connecticut. Following a single practice on April 8, against Japan on April 9 Taurasi was credited with 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots in the USA's victory. Averaging 18.0 minutes a game in the trio of exhibition victories over Japan, she averaged 9.0 ppg., 2.3 rpg. and 4.0 apg. overall.
A two-time Naismith Player of the Year honoree, Taurasi helped the United States win a bronze medal at the 2001 FIBA Junior World Championship. Selected to the five-member All-FIBA Junior World Championship Team, Taurasi averaged a USA best 19.3 ppg., which ranked fourth among all competitors in the 12-nation field, and passed off for 2.7 apg. as the United States finished with a 6-1 record and the bronze medal.
Throughout her collegiate career Taurasi helped the Huskies to a 139-8 (.946 winning percentage) overall record, including an equally impressive 22-1 (.957 winning percentage) mark in NCAA tournaments, three NCAA titles, the 2001 Final Four, a pair of Big East Conference Tournament titles and four Big East regular season crowns.
Taurasi became the fifth two-time winner of the Naismith Player of the Year award after earning honors in 2003 and 2004. A finalist for the 2002 Naismith and Honda Awards, Taurasi also collected the Honda award in 2003 and 2004 as the nation's top basketball player. Additionally, Taurasi was awarded the 2003 Wade Trophy, and named the 2003 Player of the Year by the Associated Press and USBWA, while also receiving the 03 and 04 Nancy Lieberman-Cline National Point Guard of the Year awards. Additionally, she collected 2003 and 2004 Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors, was named the 2001, 2003 and 2004 NCAA Tournament Region MOP, and in 2002 was an NCAA All-Regional selection.
A three-time All-Big East Tournament pick, as a freshman she became the league's first rookie to earn Big East Tournament MVP accolades after averaging 17.7 ppg. in leading UConn to the tournament crown. Further adding to her trophy case, the 2003 and 2004 Big East Player of the Year, Taurasi is a three-time All-Big East first team (2002-04) and 2001 All-Rookie selection. Most recently she was named to the Big East Silver Anniversary Team, the only then-current student-athlete selected to the squad.
She capped her career ranked third all-time among UConn career leaders in points (2,156), first in 3-pointers made (318) and assists (648) and sixth in blocked shots (144).