The New York Liberty dominated the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup championship game 82-63 on Aug. 15 at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Liberty forward Jonquel Jones was crowned the 2023 WNBA Commissioner’s Cup MVP of the high-stakes cup. Although the championship game did not feature the Indiana Fever, their playing throughout the series and community involvement helped raise thousands of dollars for a few charities in Indianapolis.
The WNBA Commissioner’s Cup is an annual in-season competition that involves ten designated regular-season cup games, including the first home game and the first road game against opponents in the conference. This is the third annual WNBA Commissioner’s Cup. The prize pool for the championship game equates to $500,000 for the players, and at least $165,000 in charitable donations will be made throughout the season. After the Commissioner’s Cup ends, the team with the highest winning ratio in each conference will compete in a Championship Game.
This year, the New York Liberty finished with a 7-3 record, placing them first in the Eastern Conference. In the West, the Las Vegas Aces completed the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup series 9-1. The Indiana Fever finished the series with a 2-8 record, placing the team sixth in the Eastern Conference.
Teams will use a new platform to fund local nonprofits during the Commissioner’s Cup. The league and teams will collaborate to select organizations focused on women’s health and emphasizing advocacy in Black, Brown and LGBTQ+ communities.
The WNBA will donate $2,000 to the chosen organization of each cup games’ winning team and an additional $500 to the losing team’s organization. The league will donate $10,000 to the winning team’s chosen organization and $5,000 to the runner-up’s organization to help spotlight the Championship Game for the Commissioner’s Cup. The accumulated donation dollars will be given to each organization after the event.
The New York Liberty selected Callen-Lorde Health Center, an organization that provided sensitive, quality health care for New York’s LGBTQ+ community, as their charitable organization. The Liberty helped raise $165,000 for Callen-Lorde Health Center this season.
The Las Vegas Aces chose NAMI (Southern Nevada chapter), or the National Alliance on Mental Illness, to support during the 2023 WNBA Commissioner’s Cup. NAMI is the country’s largest grassroots, boots-on-the-ground mental health organization committed to constructing a better quality of life for Americans with mental illness. The Aces’ play this season earned NAMI Southern Nevada $185,000.
Despite not making the championship game, the Indiana Fever helped raise $8,000 for The Wheeler Mission Center for Women and Children, an organization that provides an atmosphere that is physically, emotionally and spiritually safe for women and children.
Additionally, Indiana Fever guard and WNBA All-Star Kelsey Mitchell brought home the 2023 Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award, an award given to the WNBA player who showcases the attributes of a leader in their respective community, in June.
Mitchell’s win earned her an award and a $10,000 donation to KelzHoop Foundation through the WNBA. The foundation focuses on “encouraging and supporting student-athletes with limited opportunities in their pursuit of playing competitive sports,” according to the foundation’s website.
“It is upon all of us to inspire the next generation to be the best people they can possibly be throughout all of our communities,” Mitchell said.
Contact multi-media staff writer Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NoralParham. For more news, click here.