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WNBA teams start Commissioner's Cup play this week with new in-season tourney format

The WNBA annual Commissioner's Cup gets underway this week using a new format for the in-season tournament.

The league tweaked the format this year and teams now will play five games against conference opponents over a two-week period. In the past, teams would play a home and home set against each team in their conference.

The championship game will be played on June 25 at the home of the team with the best overall record in the tournament.

New York beat Las Vegas for the in-season tourney title last season. Both those teams have a difficult road in front of them to get back to the championship game as they have to play the five games in a span of eight days. Washington also has to its five in-season tournament games during the same time span.

Chicago, Dallas and Indiana play their five games in the span of 11, 11 and 12 days respectively.

Players on the winning team make around $30,000 each with the championship game MVP getting an additional $5,000. Each player on the runner-up team earns $10,000.

There also will once again be a charity component with teams earning money for specific charities with each game they play. Teams will receive $3,000 for their selected charities for each game they win and $1,000 for each game they lose. The champion of the Commissioner's Cup will receive a $10,000 donation from the league to the charity and the runner-up with get $5,000.

AP WNBA POLL

Connecticut moved into the top spot in this week's AP WNBA poll, jumping ahead of Las Vegas and New York. The Sun are the only undefeated team in the league. The Aces fell one place to second. Minnesota moved up to third and the Liberty dropped to fourth. Dallas and Phoenix were next. Chicago, Seattle and Atlanta followed the Mercury. Indiana, Los Angeles and Washington rounded out the poll. The last-place Mystics are the only winless team in the league.

CAITLIN CORNER

Caitlin Clark got her first WNBA victory when Indiana edged Los Angeles last Friday night despite a rough shooting night. Clark, however, did hit two deep 3-pointers in the final few minutes to seal the win. Clark is averaging 15.4 points, 6.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds through the team's first seven games.

After playing five of the first seven games on the road, the Fever have three straight games at home, including a matchup with Chicago on Saturday that will feature Clark, Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso. The 6-foot-7 Cardoso has been out with a shoulder injury, but said that she's targeting the game on Saturday for her debut.

ROOKIE WATCH

Cameron Brink had an impressive week for the Los Angeles Sparks, averaging 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in the team's three games. She's currently tops in the league with 3.2 blocks a contest.

Angel Reese also had another event stretch. While she had strong week averaging 13 points and 7.0 rebounds in the Chicago Sky's two games, she was also taken down with a hard foul by Connecticut's Alyssa Thomas. The Sun forward was ejected after the play. Reese did not leave the game and thanked Thomas on social media. Reese also helped first-year coach Teresa Weatherspoon get a win against the New York Liberty — a team she starred for when the WNBA began.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Napheesa Collier continues to impress. The Minnesota forward averaged 22 points, 10.3 rebounds and five assists to help the Lynx go 2-1 on the week. Other players receiving votes included DeWanna Bonner of Connecticut and Kahleah Copper of Phoenix and Kayla McBride of Minnesota.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Las Vegas at Minnesota, Wednesday. The two-time defending champion Aces play their first road game of the season when they visit the Lynx, who have gotten off to a great start winning four of their first five games. The Aces are still missing star guard Chelsea Gray, who has been sidelined with the left foot injury she suffered in the WNBA Finals last year.

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AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

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