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In the past few days, after the Lynx earned their first berth in the Commissioner's Cup final, the talk was all about the cash.

Most recently: "We want the money," Lynx star Napheesa Collier said after the Lynx had won their sixth consecutive game Saturday. "It will be competitive, even if you take the money out of it. But you put that money on the line and people will be playing hard."

The Lynx play the New York Liberty on Long Island for the title of the WNBA's in-season tournament on Tuesday night.

OK, yes, the money. Players will be vying for their part of a $500,000 purse. Winning players should get about $30,000 each, losing players $10,000.

So, as Courtney Williams said, it's about the bag.

But there's more.

The game, which will be streamed on Amazon Prime, is a national stage for the biggest surprise in the WNBA this season.

Everybody expected the Liberty (15-3) to be here. But few expected the Lynx (13-3) to join them.

In an era where superteams — such as the Liberty, the Las Vegas Aces and, most recently, Seattle, going for star-studded starting rosters — the Lynx have built a roster of very good players around MVP candidate Collier. And that roster has jelled quickly with a number of new faces. Almost overnight Lynx president of basketball operations and coach Cheryl Reeve has assembled a team that has become the league's most efficient at three-point shooting.

So Tuesday's game will be between two teams that have won nine of their past 10 games, two of the top three teams in the league in winning percentage, the two hottest teams going.

Surprised? "Absolutely," said LaChina Robinson. Also an ESPN analyst, Robinson will be a part of the broadcast team Tuesday, along with former Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings and Lisa Byington. "When you're making a list of surprises, Minnesota is No. 1. We should stop underestimating Cheryl Reeve. I did not expect to see them close to the top of the standings. Even with all the new pieces, they're on the same page. I hope the Commissioner's Cup game is the opportunity for the world to be awakened to what's happening in Minneapolis."

Reeve started with Collier and built a cohesive team around her. The additions of Williams and Natisha Hiedeman solved the point guard situation. The acquisition of free agent Alanna Smith and the rise of Bridget Carleton has made the Lynx a deep three-point shooting threat that has allowed Kayla McBride — who will be playing for the bag on her birthday Tuesday — to have perhaps the best season of her career. The depth of the Lynx bench, led by Hiedeman and Dorka Juhász, has made the Lynx a difficult team play against for an entire 40-minute game.

"From the starting five to the bench, there is that consistency," Catchings said. "One thing you always talk about is, when you're making a sub, you don't see a drop-off in play. Every single player is responding."

The Lynx are first in the league in assists, three-point shooting, defensive rating, opponent shooting, points off turnovers and points on the break.

The game features two teams in the top three in threes made per game and three-point shooting. The Lynx's 11 victories by 10 points or more is the best in the league. New York's 71 made threes the past five games is the most in a five-game stretch in league history.

"It's a great offensive team," Reeve said of the Liberty, a team Minnesota beat 84-67 on May 25. "They shoot more threes than we do, but both teams value that."

A game that doesn't count in league standings will pit the Liberty, leading the league in field-goal percentage (45.7) and threes made per game (10.5) against the Lynx, best in the league at defending on threes (27.1).

There were scheduling issues surrounding the game. New York's home arena, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, is unavailable because it's being prepped for the NBA draft. Scrambling to solve that problem, the WNBA offered to make the regular-season game at New York on July 2 the Commissioner's Cup championship game, but the Lynx refused. Ultimately the game was moved to UBS Arena in Belmont Park, about an hour's drive from Brooklyn.

The day that news broke, Reeve was clear her team wanted to play the final on Tuesday. And maybe that's for the best. It will be the only game in the league, whereas July 2 it would have been one of four. A game like this needs its own stage, and the Lynx have earned a turn on that stage.

"This is a team that, no matter who steps between the lines, they have this confidence and chemistry," Robinson said.