Aces cruise past Sky to win Commissioner's Cup, cash bonus in battle of WNBA's best

In a battle of the WNBA's two best teams, the Las Vegas Aces raced out to a huge early lead then held off a Chicago Sky rally to win the Commissioner's Cup on Tuesday.

The Aces led 33-14 through the first quarter after a hot start on Chicago's home court. The Sky chipped away from there, but Las Vegas held on for a 93-83 win in what could turn out to be a preview of the WNBA Finals.

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Win the win, the Aces lay claim to the second-ever Commissioner's Cup — an in-season competition that ultimately pit the best teams in each conference against each other for Tuesday's championship final. Their reward? The winning share of a $500,000 prize pool that includes a $30,000 bonus for each player on the roster. They also tied the Sky for the best record in the WNBA at 21-8.

In addition to the Cup stakes, the win could end up playing a factor in home-court advantage if the Aces and Sky ultimately meet in the Finals.

Jul 26, 2022; Chicago, IL, USA;  Las Vegas Aces forward A'ja Wilson (22), left, fights for the ball against Chicago Sky guard Rebekah Gardner (35) during the first half of the Commissioners Cup-Championships at Wintrust Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
A'ja Wilson posted a double-double with 17 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. (Matt Marton/Reuters)

Las Vegas opened the game on fire with a 27-5 lead in the first quarter. The Sky stopped the bleeding in the second, but an Aces fastbreak sparked by a defensive stop resulted in a buzzer-beating Jackie Young tip-in to extend the Las Vegas lead to 48-34 at the half.

Young (11 points) and Kelsey Plum (14 points) both scored in double digits before halftime while four-time Sky All-Star Courtney Vandersloot failed to crack the scoreboard.

Vandersloot eventually found her first bucket with a layup shortly after halftime. Back-to-back and-1s by Kahleah Copper cut the Aces lead from 56-42 to 56-48 midway through the third quarter.

Chicago kept within striking distance from there, but ultimately never threatened to take the lead after digging its first-quarter deficit.

All-Star Game MVP Kelsey Plum led four Las Vegas players in double figures with 24 points, six assists and two steals. Young added 18 points and six rebounds, Chelsea Gray tallied 19 points and five assists while A'ja Wilson posted a double-double with 17 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. Gray was named Commissioner's Cup MVP.

Candace Parker led the Chicago effort with 20 points and 14 rebounds while Copper finished with 18 points and eight rebounds. Vandersloot finished with eight points and four assists after her scoreless first half.