Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bird, Cash and Jones are teammates again

Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Asjha Jones made some history a decade ago as UConn became the first team to have three of the top four picks in the WNBA draft. As we fast forward to 2012 and they are on the verge of another groundbreaking achievement.

 There have been college teammates on previous Olympic basketball teams. North Carolina men's stars Phil Ford and Walter Davis were a dynamic duo in the 1976 Olympics while on the women's side the duos that immediately come to mind are former USC teammates Cheryl Miller and Pam McGee helped the U.S. to the 1984, in 2004 Bird and Cash were on the U.S. gold medal winning team while four years later former Tennessee teammates Tamika Catchings and Kara Lawson played key roles in the United States winning the gold medal for the fourth straight time. However, to have three players who not only went to the same school but were part of the same recruiting class in simply hard to believe.

 "To give you a good perspective in '95-96 when we had that year long program and it was remarkable to me how those 11 players on that national team spanned almost 11 different years," USA Basketball Women's National Team Director Carol Callan said. "There were maybe two from the same class but certainly not in the same school and now you are talking about three from the same recruiting class is speaks volumes about their abilities but also the ability of Geno to recruit them all and get them to where they are and the ability of the coaching staff to make them better than they were."

When you add in Diana Taurasi, four members of the starting lineup during UConn's 2001-02 national championship team are on the Olympic squad. It seems highly unlikely that feat will ever be matched again. "It is pretty impressive and if you think about it, if Tamika (Williams) would have perhaps stayed with it maybe she would have been on the team too - high school player of the year. When she was at UConn she was probably the most talented.

 "A lot of time you get three players who are talented and take each other's space on the court and really don't really play together but all three kind of fit on their own space on the court, Sue on the perimeter, Asjha can go in or out, Swin likes more of the middle of the court so they kind of complement each other perfectly." The friendships which started in the late 1990s when they enrolled at UConn has withstood the test of time.

 "We can appreciate it but not that much right now until we get older and have a chance to look back and see," Cash said. "When you in it you really don't think about it as much. When I think of the things I have experienced with Tamika, Sue, Asjha, now we have three of us on this team and four of us (including Taurasi) from my senior year stating in the (2002) national championship game, that is pretty amazing and I think that is one for the history books. We've all remained friends, we've all gone in our different directions in regards to not only playing basketball overseas but also in business and different ventures we have gotten into. The one thing that makes it special is our friendship and the bond we had at UConn. That is something that when people talk about us they always say 'you guys are together, it is like a clique. It is a great experience for me."

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