Lynx, Sky to meet in WNBA preseason tourney final

KYLE HIGHTOWER (Associated Press)
The Associated Press

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) -- The Chicago Sky and Minnesota Lynx are set to meet in the championship game of the WNBA preseason tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports after victories Friday night.

The Sky beat the Indiana Fever 73-66, and the defending WNBA champion Lynx topped the Phoenix Mercury 72-64 to earn berths in Sunday's final. The Fever and Mercury will meet in a consolation matchup.

This is the league's first preseason tournament.

Played at the facility near Walt Disney World, it is being held in conjunction with a girls' AAU event and has included practices, clinics and autograph sessions with WNBA players and coaches. It all part of the lead-up to the start of the league's 18th season May 16.

The early reviews from the coaches and players about the tournament's first day were positive.

''It's great because so many of these players and coaches coached AAU basketball, played AAU basketball, and made several trips to Disney,'' Chicago coach Pokey Chatman said. ''It's a great time for AAU basketball and a great time for us to marry those two events. A good way to kick-off the season.

The stands were full for both games, with Mercury second-year center Brittney Griner getting the loudest ovations of the day when she dunked during pregame warmups.

Her young fans will get another chance to see the former Baylor star up close with her scheduled to participate in a player panel session on Saturday.

''Getting young girls excited about the WNBA is special for us,'' said Chicago forward Elena Delle Donne, the reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year. ''I remember playing AAU basketball, and I would have gone nuts if WNBA players were here. So I think it's a really great event to have and great event to put on.''

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