ARCHIVE – In this archive photograph of August 30, 2017, Maya Moore of Minnesota Lynx, left, shoots Jazmon Gwathmey of Indiana Fever during the first half of a WNBA basketball game in Indianapolis. Defending champion Minnesota Lynx begins the season at the top of The Associated Press WNBA. The Lynx received nine first-place votes from the national panel of 14 people on Thursday, May 17, 2018. (Darron Cummings, File / Associated Press)
NEW YORK – Defending champion Minnesota Lynx begins the season in the Associated Press WNBA preseason 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 survey that Lynx was the No. 1 preseason.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve thanked the media for showing her team "that kind of respect."
"We are 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 could not be more excited to start our historic 20th season at the WNBA this Sunday at Target Center."
Los Angeles was the second, earning the other five first-place tickets. The Sparks and Lynx have faced each other in the last two WNBA finals and could easily find themselves for the title for the 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 selection of the year for the second consecutive season.
Moore highlighted the preseason of the AP all-WNBA team. She was joined by current AP player Sylvia Fowles from Chicago, Candace Parker from Los Angeles, Skylar Diggins from Dallas, Brittney Griner from Phoenix and Elena Delle Donne from Washington.
A. Wilson, who was the first pick in the WNBA draft last month was selected as the preseason rookie of the year.
Connecticut was the third in the survey, followed by Phoenix, New York, Dallas and Seattle. Washington was eighth. Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas and Indiana completed the 12 teams.
The WNBA begins its 21st season on Friday. The first power survey of the regular season will be released on Tuesday, May 22.
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