Defending champion Sparks lead AP Power poll, Lynx second
NEW YORK (AP) Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus took the winter off to rest.
The Minnesota Lynx trio looks refreshed and ready to go after falling just short against the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA Finals last season, a few seconds away from a fourth title in six seasons.
The Lynx won their first three games of the season, beat Chicago, New York and Dallas. Now up is a home-and-home series with Connecticut. They are second behind the Sparks in the first regular season Associated Press power poll released Tuesday. The weekly poll is voted on by a 16-member national media panel.
''You have to listen to your body,'' said Whalen, who didn't play overseas for the second consecutive winter. ''Playing year round takes its toll on you.''
Augustus got to spend time down on her farm in Louisiana with her horses, chickens, geese and a few other assorted animals.
''It was just nice to relax and rest,'' she said. ''Not just physically, but mentally.''
POWER POLL: Los Angeles and Minnesota picked up where they left off, combining to go 5-0 in the opening week. A look at the first regular season WNBA poll.
1. Los Angeles (2-0): The Sparks got to celebrate their title one final time with the ring ceremony . Some of the names have changed, but they look every bit the part of defending champions.
2. Minnesota (3-0): Passed early season test in New York with ease. Lynx look hungry after falling just short against the Sparks in WNBA Finals last season.
3. Seattle (2-1): Jewell Loyd has carried the Storm the first three games, scoring over 25 points in each contest. Now with Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird back and healthy , the Storm look good. They have their best ranking ever in the power poll.
4. New York (1-1): Lost to Minnesota badly and also lost point guard Brittany Boyd for the season with a left Achilles injury. Up next is a West coast trip to try and find themselves.
5. Phoenix (2-1): Brittney Griner played really well in the two wins and was off her game in the loss.
6. Washington (1-2): The Mystics can put a lot of points on the board with the edition of Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver. They've had trouble stopping people so far. It will take time for the team to jell.
7. Dallas (1-1): Followed up a big win in Phoenix with a tough loss to Minnesota. If everyone can stay healthy, the Wings could challenge for a playoff spot and more.
8. Atlanta (2-1): Tiffany Hayes has done a solid job filling in for Angel McCoughtry, who is sitting out the season to rest. Hayes, averaging just under 20 points a game, injured her ankle Sunday and the Dream need her to be healthy for Saturday's game against Los Angeles.
9. Indiana (1-2): A fourth-quarter rally against Connecticut enabled the Fever from starting the season 0-3.
10. Chicago (1-2): Getting Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot back will help the Sky. The duo still hasn't played since returning from Turkey.
11. Connecticut (0-2): The Sun are playing hard and just falling short. Jonquel Jones has made huge strides this season, averaging a double-double in the first two games.
12. San Antonio (0-3): Still waiting to get everyone healthy and on the court. The starting backcourt of Moriah Jefferson and Kelsey Plum has been on the sidelines injured for the first three games.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Delle Donne and the Mystics finish off a three-game road trip with a game in Chicago on Wednesday. The 2015 MVP didn't leave Chicago on the best of terms, asking to be traded in the offseason. The teams play each other two days later in Washington.
SITTING DIANA: Phoenix's Diana Taurasi was issued a one-game suspension by the WNBA on Sunday following an incident involving the Mercury's star in Friday's game between Phoenix and the San Antonio Stars. At the 4:09 mark of the second quarter, Taurasi swiped her right forearm at San Antonio forward Dearica Hamby after the two made contact on a Hamby screen. Taurasi hit Hamby in the back of the head and was assessed a technical foul. After a review from the league office, the infraction was ruled a level two flagrant foul. The technical foul was rescinded. She'll miss Tuesday's game against New York.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Stefanie Dolson put on an impressive performance Sunday against Atlanta. She tied her career high with 23 points, on 10-of 13 shooting, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked five shots to help the Sky win 75-71 over the Dream. Chicago had 11 blocks in the game .
To see the poll online and how the pollster voted: http://collegebasketball.ap.org/ap-wnba-power-poll-week-2
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