At Gampel Pavilion last fall, Cash — with husband Steve Canal, sons Saint and Syer, and Coach — became the third Husky to have a basketball number retired. “I feel like we helped transition UConn into a different stratosphere,” says Number 32 of her ’02 Husky team.
Swin Cash ’02 (CLAS), the former Husky star and current VP of Basketball Operations and Team Development for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last fall. We caught up with her in November at Gampel Pavilion, where she became just the third UConn basketball student-athlete to have their number retired. Cash’s 32 now hangs in the Gampel rafters alongside Rebecca Lobo’s 50 and Ray Allen’s 34.
Cash’s on-court accolades are legendary — on her way to two NCAA championships and three WNBA championships, she was named a first team All-American, an NCAA tournament most outstanding player, a four-time WNBA All-Star, and a member of the WNBA’s 2021 25th Anniversary Team. But Cash was quick to tell us that she hopes to be remembered more for her contributions to the lives of others.
“That to me is more important than the baskets I have scored and championships I have won. Helping the people that are coming behind you is what really matters.”
Cash is proud of “She’s Got Time,” a podcast and social media presence she started to help women navigate a career in the business end of sports. “I really wanted to create an intergenerational type of connectivity and community for women who want to be in sports.”
In her NBA front office job, Cash’s responsibilities run the court. “I oversee everything that touches our players, whether it is marketing, branding, or social responsibility, and I am also involved in our scouting, draft, free agency, and trade deadline processes,” she says. “It’s a multitude of things that is a lot of fun and has also sharpened my skill set. My day-to-day interactions and interfacing with the business side of the team is constantly growing my understanding of that side of basketball.”
She translates that for the next generation.
“In my time with the Pelicans, one of the million-dollar questions I get is, ‘What do you do and how do you do it?’ Sometimes women don’t get the real answers, and I felt like there was a void of mentors for young women. I got together with some friends of mine to create [She’s Got Time] and it is really my passion project right now. I want to give back to young women who have played the game, been managers, been involved in all parts of the game in college, and help them figure out what a full-time career path in sports can look like for them.”
Cash and her husband Steve Canal have two sons, Saint and Syer. They are determined to make the future better through social justice and equity.
“The world is in a tough place right now, but I believe in freedom and the right to vote,” she says. “I try to lean into things where I can create change, and one of the things I am most proud of is working with local organizations and institutions to make sure people have polling places to go to. I try to lend my voice and my platforms to organizations to see how we can expand and continue to grow people’s rights. I think the world needs a lot more love and less hate.”
The Hall of Famer continues to be as “thick as thieves” with Husky mates Sue Bird ’02 (CLAS), Asjha Jones ’02 (BUS), and Tamika Williams-Jeter ’02 (CLAS). “I feel like we helped transition UConn into a different stratosphere, from a cultural connectivity standpoint, and we allowed Coach Auriemma to play the game a different way,” says Cash. “The previous groups at UConn were different because they had size, but we had a different speed and athleticism, and the game continued to evolve.”
She still uses the lessons she learned under Auriemma and Chris Dailey, associate head coach. “UConn helped set that standard I have today. I always tell people that not only is there a day-to- day approach to the details at UConn, but also attention to driving the culture of the program, and the expectation that the bar is set high.”
By Mike Enright
Photo by Austin Bigoney