The first WNBA Commissioner's Cup began with a ceremonial opening tip conducted by commissioner Cathy Engelbert that was won by Seattle's Breanna Stewart. It was a sign of things to come.
Stewart's Storm handily defeated the Sun, 79–57, in the league's first game since the Olympic break. The two-time WNBA Finals MVP finished with 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting, filling up the stat sheet with four rebounds, three assists, four steals and three blocked shots.
The Storm led, 46–35, at halftime before putting the game out of reach in the third quarter by outscoring Connecticut 22–5. The Sun never held a lead, while Seattle led by as many as 31.
Jewell Loyd shot 6-for-11 with 16 points, while Sue Bird finished with 10 points. DeWanna Bonner and Natisha Hiedeman each had 11 points, while Jonquel Jones had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Commissioner's Cup is an in-season tournament launched this year in celebration of the league's 25th anniversary. In the lead-up to the Olympic break, 10 games were designated as Commissioner's Cup games for each team. The team in each conference with the best record in such games qualified for Thursday's championship, with the winning side getting a $500,000 prize.
Each player on the winning side will receive $30,000, while the players on the losing team get $10,000 each. The game's MVP, Stewart, will also get an extra $5,000.
The game also counts toward the regular-season standings, meaning Seattle has put a little more separation between it and the Aces in the Western Conference, who now trail by 1.5 games. The Sun's lead in the East is now 3.5 games over the Sky.
The rest of the WNBA will resume the regular season on Sunday, with all 12 teams in action.
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