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jim smith bio

"Astounding Woman"

"Astounding Woman"

Basketball Star Swin Cash
UConn magazine, Spring 2007

Beneficiary of deep bituminous coal deposits and the Monongahela River, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, was one of the nation’s fastest growing cities before World War II. But the coal ran out and the steel mills began to decline after the war, and McKeesport’s population, once more than 55,000, plummeted to less than half that by 2000.

“I’ve always been interested in stories about people with remarkable gifts whose talents enable them to transcend towns like McKeesport, broken by the ever-changing economic landscape,” says Jim Smith. “Swin Cash is a great example.”

Before her WNBA career Swintayla Marie Cash played on a University of Connecticut team that started five All-Americans. She is the only woman who has won two NCAA championships, an Olympic gold medal and two WNBA championships.

“Swin is one of my all-time favorite collegiate hoopsters,” Jim says, “a canny, gutty player, always dependable in big games. When I was hired to write a profile of her in 2007, I was thrilled. I found the heart of my story when I learned that her name – Swintayla – means ‘astounding woman.’

“Astounding indeed! Swin’s work ethic and competitive fire are legendary. But she’s never forgotten what it was like to be a ‘poor kid’ – her description – growing up in the Rust Belt. She hosts basketball clinics and fund-raising programs to help disadvantaged youngsters and she says the proudest moment of her life was when she launched her charity, Cash for Kids. The things that most impressed me, when I interviewed her, were her humility and grace.”   

Click on the link at left to read "Astounding Woman" on the UConn magazine website.

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