August 10, 2023 

Anticipating the 2023 WNBA Commissioner’s Cup

The third annual WNBA Commissioner's Cup between the Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 15, at 9 pm EST

Anticipation builds as the third annual WNBA Commissioner’s Cup between the Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 15, at 9 pm EST and can be seen on Amazon Prime. The reigning 2023 WNBA champions and 2022 winners of the cup, the Aces, have home court advantage in Michelob Ultra Arena.

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Preparation is key

What does it take to prepare for a game of this magnitude? As a fan, a scout, or both, Sarah Kustok knows that preparing for this moment started during the preseason. “There is lots of film study, watching games and going the numbers, the stats,” said Kustok as she gears up as lead analyst for Tuesday’s game.

The Aces and Liberty will face off three times this month. And the only thing for certain, in all the matchups and next Tuesday’s Commissioner’s Cup, is that anything can happen.

Building a franchise

“Electric” and “destination spot” are two words that Sarah Kustok expressed to describe her thoughts on the Aces’ home court advantage. The Aces have been able to capitalize on what it means to build a franchise – from bringing the city their first professional title to keeping core players locked in for some time to maintaining the best record in the league. “They earned that ability to play in their home arena,” said Kustok. This marquee matchup emphasizes the continuing growth and buy-in that the WNBA has accrued.


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WNBA market

Since implementing some of WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert’s initiatives – global campaigns, digital marketing, and fan engagement – league exposure and ratings have increased. This matchup will continue to shed light on some of the household names that many fans and newcomers alike associate with the league. This game will expound on the gameplay of A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Breanna Stewart, and Sabrina Ionescu.

Whether through social media, community outreach, or on-court gameplay, fans will follow the growing narratives of players like Jackie Young, Jonquel Jones, Betnijah Laney, and all players of both the Aces and Liberty. Kustok remarked that all the players from both squads have their own individual personalities and uniqueness that they bring to the hardwood and to the public.

Written by Caylen Johnson

2 Comments

  1. RM Williams on August 11, 2023 at 2:56 pm

    Anticipating? Hardly. Curious to see by what margin the Aces beat the Liberty, maybe. With Connecticut in third, it is pretty much the Aces season to lose. Will the Liberty win another game against Las Vegas? Maybe, but doubtful. The Liberty have had (so far) not what I would call an up and down season, but something like a small roller coaster for kids. Their vulnerabilities are far more obvious than those of the Aces. Is Connecticut going to bust through this year? Probably not. Again, it’s going to be all New York and Las Vegas. New York is a collection of really good players who have yet to fully gel into a team. Las Vegas is a pretty well-oiled experienced team who really don’t have to guess from one player to the next what’s going to happen. Six losses by New York still gives them an exemplary record. Las Vegas is just that much better. The Aces will come out gunning in the Commissioner’s Cup, and New York will have to figure out how to beat them after that. Meanwhile, there are a bunch of teams doing what they can to get better, and some who are not doing as well as they might have expected. The real anticipation is for next year. Who will declare for the draft and who won’t are questions that every GM is probably spending a great deal of time pondering. So are a lot of fans. I suspect there will be a good deal of roster movement next year.

  2. RM Williams on August 17, 2023 at 11:59 am

    OK, I was wrong. Are the Aces starting to run out of gas , or do they really need to bolster their bench? Probably more of the latter, but a team can only rely on their starters for so long. Would Candace Parker’s presence have made a difference? Probably not. I hope Candace is giving retirement some serious consideration. And if the Liberty and the Aces meet in the finals, at this point I’d say it’s even money.

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