The Connecticut Sun and Seattle Storm will face off in the first-ever Commissioner’s Cup Championship.
The second half of the WNBA season will begin after the Olympic break with the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup Championship. The Seattle Storm will be representing the Western Conference and the Connecticut Sun representing the East.
What is the Commissioners Cup?
The Commissioner’s Cup is an in-season tournament to celebrate the WNBA’s 25th season. All twelve teams in the league played ten intra-conference Cup games to determine the two teams that would play in the Cup Championship. The Cup games helped reignite in-conference rivalries, since the WNBA playoffs no longer depend on conference divisions.
Western Conference Champions: Seattle Storm
The Seattle Storm went 8-2 in Cup games, finishing one game ahead of the Minnesota Lynx in the Commissioner Cup standings. The reigning WNBA champions also had to hold off one of the league’s best teams in the Las Vegas Aces. The Aces finished third in the West with a 6-4 record.
Sue Bird, Jewell Lloyd, and Breanna Stewart lead the way for the Storm. Bird, the ageless wonder, currently ranks top five in the league in assists per game. Lloyd has consistently shown up in clutch moments for the Storm throughout the season. Stewart is having an MVP-caliber season once again. She is currently ranked top five this season in points per game, rebounds, and blocks.
There won’t be much of an Olympic break for many of Seattle’s players. The big three will all be representing the USA at the Tokyo Olympics, and center Ezi Magbegor will also be in Tokyo as a member of Team Australia.
Eastern Conference Champions: Connecticut Sun
After finishing below .500, and barely sneaking into the playoffs during the 2020 season, The Connecticut Sun hit the ground running in 2021. Connecticut dominated the Eastern Conference, only suffering one loss in Cup games. The main reason for the Sun’s quick turnaround has been the return of Center Jonquel Jones.
Jones opted out of the 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns. In the 2019 season, Jones was named to the All-star game and helped lead the Sun to the WNBA Finals. It would’ve been understandable If Jones came back with a bit of rust after missing a WNBA season, but instead she went on an absolute tear throughout the first half of the season. JJ is currently averaging a double-double, and is one of the front runners for the league MVP.
Unlike the Seattle Storm, the Sun will not have any players participating in the Olympics.It remains to be seen if this will help or hinder either team.
The commissioners cup is not just being played for bragging rights; there is a $500,000 prize pool up for grabs. The players on the winning team will earn $30,000 each, with the game and MVP earning an extra $5000. The losers will not go home empty-handed either; each player will receive $10,000.
The Commissioner Cup Championship will take place on August 12th and can be watched live on Amazon Prime.