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Thursday, January 13, 2011
Updated: January 25, 11:19 AM ET
WNBA stars weigh in on Steelers-Ravens


There's no love lost between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. The AFC North rivals have claimed three Super Bowl titles between them since 2000, and this year split their two regular-season games, each of which was decided by three points. On Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh, the Steelers and Ravens will square off again, this time in the NFL divisional playoffs.

Among the faithful who will be following Saturday's game are Swin Cash (left) and Renee Montgomery, two WNBA stars who are currently playing pro basketball overseas. Cash, a Pittsburgh diehard, will be rooting for the Steelers from China; Montgomery, who is BFFs with Baltimore running back Ray Rice, will be cheering for the Ravens from Israel. Cash and Montgomery have each weighed in from abroad on Saturday's showdown:

Swin Cash on a blue-collar city, a Steel Curtain defense, and Hines Ward's 'Colgate smile'

Cash, who won two national titles with the Connecticut Huskies before being selected No. 2 overall in the 2002 WNBA draft, led the Detroit Shock to its first WNBA title in 2003. The forward now plays for the Seattle Storm. A 2004 Olympic gold medalist, Cash, 31, grew up outside of Pittsburgh and is a lifelong Steelers fan.

Will there be a friendly wager between you and Renee Montgomery?
Swin Cash: No, we don't have any wagers. It's all in fun. And just beating her Ravens will be satisfaction enough!

Any fun pregame trash talk you'd like to offer Renee?
SC: No need; I just wave my "Terrible Towel" and she knows what time it is! LOL!

How long have you been a Steelers fan, and how did you become a fan of the team?
SC: Is this a serious question? I grew up in western Pennsylvania, 15 minutes from Pittsburgh. Actually come to think of it, Renee grew up in West Virginia, which is not too far from Pittsburgh. Why she's not a Steelers fan, I have no idea! Where I'm from we work hard and cheer even harder. Blue-collar city with a Steel Curtain Defense!

Swin Cash
Swin Cash, a Steelers diehard, poses with her niece, Avionna.

What are your best memories or anecdotes about following your team?
SC: Watching them win the Super Bowl in person, in Detroit and again in Tampa. As a little girl, I heard about the great Steelers players of the 1970s, and all their Super Bowl rings. Well, this is my era and players my age are bringing the hardware back home!

Who are your favorite Steelers to watch, and why?
SC: I try not to have favorites. I love watching our defense go after teams like a fly to raw meat. And Hines Ward with that Colgate smile of his after scoring a TD makes it look so easy! The Steelers have always been about team football, and watching that chemistry in action on the field is what we love.

Where and how will you be watching the game?
SC: Still figuring that out as I'm playing overseas [in China] now. Depending on my practice and game schedule, I will probably be using a combination of my phone or laptop to keep me updated. But I can always count on ESPN to keep me up to date and on can turn to my tweeps on Twitter (@swincash) to give me the blow-by-blow.

Why do you think the Steelers will win the game?
SC: Our guys have had a week off to get healthy, prepare and re-energize. It's going to be a smash-mouth type of game, but that's when we're at our best. Playing the game at home in front of our faithful fans (Steeler Nation) with the towels waving is a hostile environment for anyone, especially in the playoffs.

What is your prediction for the final score?
SC: I don't care as long as we win!

Who is your pick for NFL MVP this season, and why?
SC: Michael Vick. What he was able to do this year was amazing. Watching him play was like watching a video game at times. He brought that entertainment piece back to the NFL. All these rule changes have made it impossible for the athletes to show real emotion. To be honest, I don't know how they do it. They say play as a team but when you score, celebrate alone. ... LOL. I would like to see Hines Ward score, and the whole offensive line do "The Dougie" in the in end zone! (Just kidding ... maybe.)

If you were in the NFL, what position would you want to play?
SC: Wide receiver. I have good hands, I run good routes (ask Sue [Bird], she loves throwing me the long ball) and have you seen me run? They say I'm like a gazelle out there ... Ha! GO STEELERS!

Renee Montgomery on her Slingbox, her 'Bestest,' and the point guard as QB

Montgomery, also a UConn graduate, won a national championship with the Huskies in 2009 before being drafted No. 4 overall by the Minnesota Lynx. Now playing for the Connecticut Sun, the point guard, 24, grew up in West Virginia and bleeds Ravens gold and purple.

Any fun pregame trash talk you'd like to offer Swin?
RM: The Steelers and Ravens have gone back and forth in beating each other. When the Steelers win, I always tell Swin we will meet again ... and the time has come.

How long have you been a Ravens fan, and how did you become a fan of the team?
RM: I haven't been a Ravens fan all my life. I became a Ravens fan when I became really good friends with Ray Rice, so I would say a few years now.

Renee Montgomery & Ray Rice
Renee Montgomery is good friends with Ravens superstar Ray Rice.

What are your best memories or anecdotes about following your team?
RM: My best memory was going to a game in San Diego [in September 2009, a Ravens win]. It was so hot, and we were the away team. But I met the family of Michael Oher (the subject of the movie "The Blind Side") in that experience, and I got to see a game live.

Who is your favorite player, and why?
RM: My favorite player is Ray Rice. I call him 'Bestest' because we have become really close over these past few years.

Where and how will you be watching the game? Because you're playing abroad, will you be following on your phone or other device?
RM: I'm in Israel, and I have a Slingbox, so I will be watching the game on my laptop.

Why do you think your team will win the game?
RM: I think the Ravens will win because of defense. It's so hard to play against the Ravens' defense, and then the offense is clicking on all cylinders now, so it's a tough matchup.

What is your prediction for the final score the game?
RM: I'm terrible with this, so I will just predict Ravens as winners and Steelers as losers.

If you were in the NFL, what position would you want to play?
RM: I would have to be the quarterback. I like having the ball in my hands, and I think the point guard and quarterback positions are very similar in the aspect of having to make plays for others and also making good decisions because what you do affects the whole team.

Why was your undefeated UConn national championship team better than that of Steelers fan Swin Cash?
RM: *Stops the music.* Huh?? I always respect the alums, those who came before me, so I gotta let Swin have that one. Nice try on throwing that question in there though. :-)