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WNBA Commissioner’s Cup: Three reasons the Sun can pull off the upset

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The finale of the WNBA’s inaugural Commissioner’s Cup is here.

The Connecticut Sun and the Seattle Storm will go head-to-head Thursday night in the championship game, battling for the title and a prize pool of $500,000.

As the defending WNBA campions and the league’s first-place team, the Storm may be considered favorites heading into the championship, but don’t count out the Sun just yet.

Connecticut, a team that thrives on being the underdog, has several key factors working its favor Thursday.

Jonquel Jones

Jones is having a banner season for the Sun. Shooting 54 percent from the field and averaging 21 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, Jones is a favorite to win league MVP.

Teams have had a hard time shutting the Sun forward down all season — she’s hit double digits in scoring in every game she’s played with Connecticut so far this year. With ten double-doubles on the season, Jones is almost guaranteed to give the Storm trouble. Whether or not Seattle has a defensive answer for Jones in the frontcourt could determine who lifts the Commissioner’s Cup trophy on Thursday.

Seattle’s Olympic fatigue

The Storm have had a busy Olympic “break.” Five Seattle players competed in Tokyo: Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd won gold with Team USA, and Ezi Magbegor and Stephanie Talbot represented Australia. The Olympic tournament was a sprint, with Team USA playing six games in two weeks.

After earning her historic fifth Olympic gold medal, Bird told fiancée Megan Rapinoe that she was “very tired.” That Olympic exhaustion could prove detrimental for the Storm against a fresher Sun team.

Curt Miller

Connecticut coach Curt Miller has experience leading underdog teams. Last season, with Miller at the helm, the Sun made a run to the WNBA semifinals as the seventh seed after starting the regular season with five straight losses. Connecticut is only the third team in league history to complete such a turnaround.

That recent experience in resiliency could bode well for the Sun against the defending champions.

Tune in: Stream the Commissioner’s Cup championship game live on Amazon Prime Video on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.