Originally Published: May 22, 2018 1 p.m.
LA moves to top of AP WNBA power poll after win vs. Lynx
NEW YORK — Los Angeles has jumped over Minnesota to the top spot in The Associated Press WNBA power poll following the Sparks’ season-opening victory over the Lynx.
The Sparks received all 14 first-place votes from the national media panel in the first regular-season poll Tuesday. Minnesota, which had been No. 1 in the preseason poll, fell one spot to second.
Los Angeles guard Chelsea Gray hit an off-balanced shot in the lane to give the Sparks a 77-76 win on Sunday at Minnesota.
“It’s early in the year,” Sparks coach Brian Agler told the AP. “We know we beat a good team, that’s pretty obvious. I think they’ll get their act together. We’ll get better as well. There are several teams that got better in the offseason.
“I don’t look at our league like a lot of people do as a one- or two-team race. I think there are several teams that could really get it going this year,” Agler added. “You got to catch some breaks, get a good schedule and stay healthy.”
The Sparks won without All-Star forward Candace Parker, who missed the game with a back injury.
“I don’t anticipate her being in (Indiana) for our next game,” Agler said. “She’s rehabbing.”
Los Angeles was also missing first-round draft pick Maria Vadeeva, who is in Russia still awaiting a visa, as well as 6-foot-4 Jantel Lavender, who was playing in the Turkish league playoffs.
A look at this week’s WNBA poll:
1.) Los Angeles (1-0): The Sparks continue a three-game road trip to open the season with stops in Indiana and Connecticut.
2.) Minnesota (0-1): The Lynx didn’t shoot well and still only came one defensive stop away from keeping their top spot.
3.) Phoenix (2-0): The Mercury have looked impressive in their two wins. Having DeWanna Bonner back helps after she missed last season because she was pregnant.
4.) Connecticut (1-0): Set WNBA record in its opening-game rout with 36-point win over short-handed Las Vegas. Sun will get tested by Los Angeles
5.) Dallas (1-1): Having 6-8 Liz Cambage back makes all the difference in the world for the Wings.
6.) Chicago (2-0): Has started 2-0 for the first time since 2014. Allie Quigley is a major reason for Sky’s early season success.
7.) Washington (1-0): It’s rare when Elena Delle Donne has a poor shooting game and the Mystics find a way to win. She was 5-for-18 in the Mystics’ win vs. Indiana.
8.) New York (0-1): The Liberty were missing Epiphanny Prince, Kia Vaughn, Kiah Stokes and Brittany Boyd in season-opening loss to Chicago.
9.) Seattle (0-1): Breanna Stewart looked good in opening loss to Phoenix but the Storm had no answer for Brittney Griner.
10.) Atlanta (0-1): Got blitzed by Dallas in season opener. Look to rebound against Chicago in a matinee game Wednesday.
11.) Las Vegas (0-1): Good news for Bill Laimbeer is that the Turkish league playoffs are over and he will soon have Kayla McBride and Kelsey Plum available to play.
12.) Indiana (0-2): The Fever were competitive in losses to Chicago and Washington.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Brittney Griner earned AP player of the week honors after helping Phoenix go 2-0 last week. She averaged 21 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. Other players receiving votes were Liz Cambage, Chelsea Gray, Allie Quigley and Alyssa Thomas.