By DOUG FEINBERG
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - The defending champion Minnesota Lynx begin the year atop the preseason Associated Press WNBA poll.
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.
Los Angeles was second, garnering the other five first-place ballots. The Sparks and Lynx, who have met in the last two WNBA Finals, will play each other on Sunday. The Sparks were three points behind the Lynx in the poll.
Minnesota is led by Maya Moore, who was the media panel's preseason player of the year selection for the second straight season.
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.
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