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New arrival Swin Cash sees playoffs in the Sky’s future

The Sky picked up WNBA All-Star SwCash 10-year veteran trade with Seattle Storm Monday.  |  Stacy Bengs~AP

The Sky picked up WNBA All-Star Swin Cash, a 10-year veteran, in a trade with the Seattle Storm on Monday. | Stacy Bengs~AP

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Updated: June 9, 2012 8:13AM

What makes forward Swin Cash so confident that the Chicago Sky can finally make the playoffs?

“We have to prove that we want to be a winner,” Cash said Monday at the Sachs Center in Deerfield. “I understand the history of the team. That’s not my history and I don’t want it to be my history. For me, the goal is the playoffs. Point blank, period. You have to set the bar high and we have to put that out there.”

Cash is the Sky’s latest try at turning the franchise into a winner. Heading into its seventh season, the Sky are pinning its hopes on Cash whom they acquired from the Seattle Storm in January along with Le’coe Willingham. The Sky gave up its second overall pick in April’s WNBA draft for Cash and Willingham.

The 6-1 Cash begins her 11th season in the WNBA and brings the experience of having won three WNBA championships: two with the Detroit Shock (2003, ’06) and one with the Storm (2010). And Cash has the distinction of being one of six women to have won an NCAA title (Connecticut ’02), an Olympic gold medal (Athens ’04) and a WNBA championship.

“The biggest difference is making [off-season] moves,” center Sylvia Fowles said. “Swin brings a lot of energy. When she’s out on the floor — I don’t care if it’s on the defensive end or the offensive end — she’s going to give 110 percent all the time. That’s just the way she is and she’s like our Energizer bunny.”

Sky coach and general manager Pokey Chatman also signed two WNBA free-agent veterans in Notre Dame product Ruth Riley and Ticha Penicheiro. Chatman also signed Euroleague veteran Sonja Petrovic.

So it stands to reason that having both Cash and Fowles and the notable free agent signees may give the Sky reason to forget the errors of the team’s past.

The Sky finished 14-20 and in fifth place in the Eastern Conference last season and had the third worst record in the league behind Washington (6-28) and Tulsa (3-31). It was the sixth consecutive season the team did not make the playoffs.

And if the Sky don’t make the postseason, Chatman will surely hear about it.

“I had no idea when people would say [on Facebook], ‘Will you be my friend?’ I would say yes,” Chatman said. “Then in two months I had 5,000 friends and there were so many Sky fans. I’m able to engage them on a personal level.”

The Sky open the season on May 19 at Washington.

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