NEW YORK (AP) - The defending champion Minnesota Lynx begin the season atop the preseason Associated Press WNBA poll - again.
The Lynx received nine first-place votes from the 14-person national media panel Thursday. It’s the second time in the three seasons that the AP has been doing the poll that the Lynx were the preseason No. 1.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve thanked the media for showing her team “that kind of respect.”
“We’re confident that we have a strong group this year that will compete for another championship,” Reeve said. “At the same time, we know how difficult this league can be and we couldn’t be more excited to start our historic 20th season in the WNBA this Sunday at Target Center.”
Los Angeles was second, garnering the other five first-place ballots. The Sparks and Lynx have faced off in the last two WNBA Finals and could easily meet for the title a third time this year. The Sparks were three points behind the Lynx in the preseason poll.
Minnesota is led by Maya Moore, who was the panel’s preseason player of the year selection for the second straight season.
Moore highlighted the AP preseason all-WNBA team. She was joined by reigning AP player of the year Sylvia Fowles of Chicago, Los Angeles’ Candace Parker, Dallas’ Skylar Diggins, Phoenix’s Brittney Griner and Washington’s Elena Delle Donne.
A’ja Wilson, who was the first pick in the WNBA draft last month, was selected as the preseason rookie of the year.
Connecticut was third in the poll, followed by Phoenix, New York, Dallas and Seattle. Washington was eighth. Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas and Indiana rounded out the 12 teams.
The WNBA tips off its 22nd season Friday. The first regular season power poll will be released on Tuesday, May 22.
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