AP Photo/Matt York
Breanna Stewart and the Seattle Storm got the bag.
The Storm beat the Connecticut Sun 79-57 in the first-ever Commissioner’s Cup, claiming the $500,000 prize thanks in large part to Stewart’s 17 points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists.
Jewell Loyd added 16 points, while Sue Bird contributed 10 points and five dimes. Natisha Hiedeman and DeWanna Bonner paced the Sun with 11 points apiece.
The first edition of the Commissioner’s Cup, played at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, pitted the two teams with the highest winning percentage across 10 conference games before the Olympics. Those matchups were deemed as Commissioner’s Cup qualifiers.
In essence, the WNBA built into the schedule its own version of a midseason tournament, similar to what you’ll see in European soccer, and what the NBA has reportedly been interested in eventually implementing into its own schedule.
The WNBA’s version baked in some incentives for the players—$30,000 goes to each player on the Storm for winning the competition, while each player on the runner-up Sun will take home $10,000. Stewart, as the game’s MVP, will land an additional $5,000.
This one was never really in doubt. Seattle raced out to a 10-point lead after the first quarter and blitzed the Sun in the third frame, outscoring them 22-5. The Storm played excellent defense, coming up with 14 steals, forcing 20 turnovers and holding the Sun to 32.9 percent shooting from the field and 27.9 percent from three.
As for Stewart, who absolutely annihilated the Sun in the first half, it was just another notch on her belt:
Storm Chasers @WNBAStormChaser
Great quote from Coach Curt Miller. Says every #WNBA player can make open shots. But the elite players, like Breanna Stewart can make shots with 6’ 6” Jonquel Jones right with her and a hand in her face. Said that’s what separates Stewart from others.
All in a day’s work for Stewie.