NEW YORK — Swin Cash promised she wouldn’t cry. She kept her word.
The 15-year WNBA veteran held it together for a 50-minute postgame ceremony in her honor after the New York Liberty lost to the Seattle Storm 102-78 on Wednesday night. Cash announced in June that she would retire at the end of the season.
“I set a goal for myself, you’re not going to (cry),” Cash said. “My eyes were watering up and going back down. I was definitely teary-eyed. Lot of moments that hit close to home.”
Cash started her speech saying how difficult it was to speak after a loss.
“I hate losing, I’m very uncomfortable because I’m thinking about the game,” she said during her 10-minute speech.
Cash went on to thank her former coaches, teammates, players and even the ushers and security staff.
The three-time WNBA champion closed saying: “I love the game, I respect the game and now I’m giving it all back to you.”
Even though the Liberty lost, they clinched the third seed in the WNBA playoffs with Chicago’s loss to Washington. New York has a first- round bye and will play the lowest remaining seed in the second round.
“You don’t want to backdoor into the playoffs,” Cash said. “That’s the thing we talked about. Glad we clinched third, but we need to get our players back and get on track.”
New York was still without Tanisha Wright (knee), Kiah Stokes (hip) and Shoni Schimmel (concussion).
The victory helped Seattle move into seventh place in the playoff chase. Jewell Loyd scored 25 points and Breanna Stewart added 23 for the Storm (13-17). Seattle has four games left in the regular season.
“We’re approaching every game like it’s a playoff game,” said Sue Bird, who had the audience laughing with a series of hashtags when she spoke during the retirement ceremony. “With the new playoff format, it gives everyone new life. You used to dread potentially being the fourth-seed and having to play the one first. Now you can get a few wins and you never know.”
With the game tied at 48 early in the third quarter, the Storm went on a 13-3 run to take control of the game. Stewart got the burst started and Bird capped it with a 3-pointer that made it 61-51. New York (20-10) couldn’t get within eight the rest of the way.
Tina Charles led the Liberty with 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Sugar Rodgers added 15 points.
Seattle ended an eight-game losing streak against the Liberty.
“Every win this time of year is big. We’ve been in playoff mode. Every game matters, we’re fighting to get in,” Seattle coach Jenny Boucek said. “This team is really enjoying playing with each other and we don’t want the season to end.”
Boucek, who was an assistant coach in Seattle when Cash was on the team, was so happy that her team was able to be a part of the ceremony Wednesday night.
“She was a joy to coach,” Boucek said. “I used to joke with her that ‘win’ is even in her name. That so much embodies who she is.”