Swin Cash has been retired from competitive basketball for barely two months, so it is too soon to assess the pros and cons of her new life. But one positive already has emerged.
“I do get an itch sometimes about going to train or work out and I go to eat a meal and look down and I’m like, ‘I don’t think I’m supposed to be eating this,’ ” she said. “Then I’m like, ‘Oh, I can. I can indulge a little bit.’ So I think those are the things that are starting to trigger.”
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The real test will come when WNBA training camps open next spring and the Liberty moves on without her.
Cash, 37, is through on the court after a career that included three WNBA championships, two Olympic gold medals and two NCAA titles at Connecticut.
“I think next spring, I’ll have to work more on the mental void that will be there,” she said Wednesday in Manhattan before being honored as Sportswoman of the Year by the March of Dimes Greater New York Market. “That’s the biggest thing. But the physical part, athletes can get over that quicker, because we’re still working out. It’s the mental part.”
Cash, who played for the Liberty the past three seasons, long has been preparing for her post-playing life with media work. She said she expects to announce more about upcoming projects later this month.
For now she hosts the “Jeff Hornacek Experience” on MSG with the Knicks’ coach, is in the cast of “We Need to Talk,” a sports talk show on CBS Sports Network, and will do some men’s college basketball analysis for CBS this season.
“So it’s a nice time for me to really be able to do a lot of different things and see what I’m really passionate and feel good about,” she said.
Cash worked as a fill-in Knicks studio analyst for MSG last season. What does she think of Hornacek so far?
“I love the fact he’s a players’ coach,” she said. “I think having the ability to play the game before, he can relate to the players. I think the players’ chemistry has been the biggest thing for them. They’ve struggled with the cohesiveness defensively.
“This team can score the basketball. I don’t think that’s going to be an issue down the stretch, but defensively can they execute the assignments and really lock in on a game plan?”
The Liberty went a combined 44-24 in the past two regular seasons but failed to reach the WNBA Finals.
“I think they have a solid core there,” Cash said. “I think that New York has the most resources for the Liberty and the WNBA, so you’re going to be able to attract free agents I know the commitment from [team president] Isiah Thomas. I know the commitment from [Madison Square Garden executive chairman] Mr. [James] Dolan for resources.
“I’m hoping you can put the right pieces around Tina Charles, around Epiphanny Prince, around Sugar Rodgers, because those are talented players, especially Tina Charles. Teams are able to have a player like that once sometimes in a lifetime, who’s so skilled and can do so many different things on a basketball floor.
“So I think I’ve watched them the last three years kind of grow up a little bit, and I’m hoping they’re ready to take that next step.”
Last autumn, NBA commissioner Adam Silver publicly expressed frustration that the WNBA had not made more progress on the sports landscape.
Cash said things already have improved since then.
“They brought in, obviously, a new president in Lisa Borders, and she’s done a fantastic job of really kind of putting a light into not only the fan base but operations and how we do business,” Cash said.
“Sometimes that’s the biggest thing — figuring out not only what’s your mission to market but how you continue to bring the consumers and fans back. They’re there. You go to the AAU circuit and you see a lot of these young teams. It’s really about engaging and bringing those fans back in.”