The Chicago Sky will play the Las Vegas Aces on July 26 in the second edition of the WNBA Commissioner's Cup final.
The Connecticut Sun lost 71-63 to the Washington Mystics, which meant nobody from the Eastern Conference could catch the Chicago Sky after they won their first eight cup games. The Aces had already secured the Western Conference's cup final berth.
The Commissioner's Cup boasts tangible stakes for those involved. Members of the winning team can earn up to $30,000 per player, and those on the losing team can collect as much as $10,000 per player.
"I do love that there's extra incentive for the players," Aces head coach Becky Hammon told reporters. "Anytime the league can throw a little bit of extra cash the players' way, I'm all for it."
The league probably couldn't have asked for a much better matchup, either.
The Sky own the WNBA's third-best record (10-5) as they continue the defense of their 2021 title. Kahleah Copper, who reported to the team late because of overseas commitments, is averaging a team-high 13.7 points to go along with 5.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists. In what's potentially her last season, Candace Parker continues filling up the stat sheet as well. She's averaging 12.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists per contest.
On the other side sit the Aces, who have been by far the strongest team of 2022. Las Vegas ranks first in net rating (12.2), per WNBA.com, and boasts a trio of potential MVP candidates in A'ja Wilson, Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum.
Hammering the Sun by 22 points in the inaugural Commissioner's Cup final seemingly reaffirmed the Seattle Storm's credentials in 2021 but proved to be a mirage. Seattle slumped to the finish line before losing to the Phoenix Mercury in the second round.
Beating the Sky in this year's final won't guarantee the Aces are crowned champions in the fall, but a one-sided victory over Chicago will send a clear message to the rest of the league.