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WNBA teams begin the Commissioner’s Cup this week with a new tournament format for the season

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) passes Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum during the second half of a WNBA basketball game on Saturday, May 25, 2024, in Las Vegas.
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) passes Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum during the second half of a WNBA basketball game on Saturday, May 25, 2024, in Las Vegas.John Locher/AP

The WNBA’s annual Commissioner’s Cup kicks off this week with a new format for the season tournament.

The league has adjusted the format this year and teams will now play five games against conference opponents over a two-week period. In the past, teams would play a home-and-home set against each team in their conference.

The championship game will be played on June 25 at the home of the team with the best overall record in the tournament.

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Last season, New York defeated Las Vegas for the season-long tournament title. Both teams have a tough road to get back to the championship game as they have to play the five games in a span of eight days. Washington must also play its five in-season tournament games during the same period.

Chicago, Dallas and Indiana will play their five games in 11, 11 and 12 days, respectively.

Players on the winning team will earn approximately $30,000 each, while the championship game MVP will receive an additional $5,000. Each player on the second team earns $10,000.

There will also be a charity component again, with teams earning money for specific charities with every game they play. Teams will receive $3,000 for their selected charities for every game they win and $1,000 for every game they lose. The Commissioner’s Cup champion will receive a $10,000 donation from the league to charity and the runner-up will receive $5,000.

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AP WNBA POLL

Connecticut moved into the top spot in this week’s AP WNBA poll, ahead of Las Vegas and New York. The Sun are the only undefeated team in the competition. The Aces dropped one place to second. Minnesota moved up to third place and the Liberty dropped to fourth. Dallas and Phoenix were next. Chicago, Seattle and Atlanta followed the Mercury. Indiana, Los Angeles and Washington rounded out the poll. The last-place Mystics are the only winless team in the league.

CAITLIN CORNER

Caitlin Clark earned her first WNBA win as Indiana defeated Los Angeles last Friday night despite a tough shooting night. However, Clark hit two deep three-pointers in the final minutes to seal the victory. Clark is averaging 15.4 points, 6.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds through the team’s first seven games.

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After playing five of their first seven games on the road, the Fever have three straight games at home, including a matchup with Chicago on Saturday featuring Clark, Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso. The 6-foot-2 Cardoso was out with a shoulder injury but said she is targeting Saturday’s match for her debut.

ROOKIE WATCH

Cameron Brink had an impressive week for the Los Angeles Sparks, averaging 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in the team’s three games. She currently tops the league with 3.2 blocks per game.

Angel Reese also had an event. While she had a strong week, averaging 13 points and 7.0 rebounds in the Chicago Sky’s two games, she was also shut out with a hard foul by Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas. The Sun attacker was sent off after the match. Reese did not leave the game and thanked Thomas on social media. Reese also helped first-year coach Teresa Weatherspoon to a win against the New York Liberty – a team she played for when the WNBA began.

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PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Napheesa Collier continues to impress. The Minnesota forward averaged 22 points, 10.3 rebounds and five assists to help the Lynx move to 2-1 this week. Other players who received votes included Connecticut’s DeWanna Bonner and Phoenix’s Kahleah Copper and Minnesota’s Kayla McBride.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Las Vegas, Minnesota, Wednesday. The two-time defending champion Aces play their first road game of the season when they visit the Lynx, who have gotten off to a great start, winning four of their first five games. The Aces are still missing star guard Chelsea Gray, who is sidelined due to the left foot injury she suffered in last year’s WNBA Finals.

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AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

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