August 13, 2021 

Storm deny Sun, cruise to inaugural Commissioner’s Cup crown

Seattle's relentless defense key in rout of Connecticut

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PHOENIX — It hasn’t even been five full days since Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd were playing in the gold-medal game on the other side of the world. But now the trio can add another championship to their resumes: the inaugural WNBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Bird, Loyd and Stewart didn’t show any of the jet lag they’re feeling in leading the Seattle Storm to a 79-57 rout of the Connecticut Sun on Thursday night in Phoenix.

Stewart was named MVP of the Commissioner’s Cup Championship, leading all players with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, including scoring 15 of Seattle’s 28 points in the first quarter. She also was the primary defender on Connecticut star Jonquel Jones, holding the Bahamian to 10 points on 5-for-15 shooting.

It was Seattle’s defense that was the key to victory on the evening, holding Connecticut to just 32.9% shooting (23-for-70) and forcing 26 turnovers (which they converted into 25 points). The ruthlessness of their defensive efforts was particularly evident in the third quarter when the Storm held the Sun to five points.

Seattle’s other Olympic gold medalists also had solid nights, with Loyd contributing 16 points and Bird adding 10 points and five assists. Overall, Seattle shot 49.3% (32-for-65) from the field and led by as many as 31 points.

For the Sun, DeWanna Bonner and Natisha Hiedeman each had 11 points to lead their team. While Connecticut did grab 12 offensive rebounds, they were only able to convert that into 13 second-chance points.

With the win, every Storm player will take home a $30,000 prize, and Stewart collects an extra $5,000 for winning MVP of the game. The Sun players will take home $10,000 each for finishing runners-up in the competition.

Written by Alex Simon

SF Bay Area native, 2x grad (Elon, ASU), adjunct professor at ASU's Cronkite School, editor & journalist always looking to tell unique stories.

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