NEW YORK (AP) — Minnesota was a surprise last season, making the postseason after a slow start. The Lynx haven’t put themselves in an early hole this year and sit near the top of the WNBA standings.

The Lynx (14-4), who lost their first six games last season, showed they are a title contender this year by winning the Commissioner’s Cup for the first time, defeating the New York Liberty last week.

“You got to talk about us now,” Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said after the victory. “We don’t really care what you think, except for right now, when we get to say to you, “You’ve got to talk about us.”

Minnesota has mixed in some really talented new players this season including Courtney Williams and Alanna Smithto a solid returning group.

“Luckily we’ve been healthy, knock on wood, we just have a really good group of vets,” Lynx guard Bridget Carleton said. “We trust each other, we believe in each other.”

Winning championships is nothing new for Minnesota, which was the team of the last decade, winning four titles from 2011-2017.

“We have a lot of offensive threats, but on defense we’re solid,” star Napheesa Collier said. “That’s why it’s so hard to play against us. Our aggressiveness, our willingness to sell out on anything (because) we have each other’s backs.”

The Lynx have seven games left before the Olympic break and look to continue to roll. It won’t be much of a break for some of the team, including coach Cheryl Reeve who will lead the U.S. in the Paris Games. Collier will be on that team as well.

Carleton (Canada) also will be in Paris playing in her second Olympics. The Lynx had a celebration for her.

“I’m so excited,” Carleton said. “We finished fourth in the World Cup in 2022 in Australia and we barely qualified for Paris so we know this isn’t going to be easy. There’s a lot of good teams around the world.”

Smith is also expected to make the Australia Olympic squad which will be announced later this week.

AP WNBA poll

New York remains in the top spot in this week’s AP WNBA power poll with Minnesota second. Las Vegas, Connecticut and Seattle followed the Lynx. Indiana, Phoenix and Atlanta were the next three. Chicago, Washington, Dallas and Los Angeles rounded out the poll.

Record rate

Angel Reese continued her strong rookie season by setting the WNBA record for consecutive double-doubles in the same season when she notched her 10th in a row against Minnesota. Reese is leading the league in rebounding at 11.4 a game.

Caitlin corner

Caitlin Clark continues to put up solid numbers, averaging 15 points, 7.5 rebounds and 9.5 assists last week as the Fever went 1-1. She just missed having the first triple-double by a rookie in league history in the win over Phoenix on Sunday. It was the first victory for Indiana this season against a team with a record over .500.

Rookie watch

Aaliyah Edwards had a good week after returning from a back injury. She averaged 6.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in two losses. She also was named to the Canadian Olympic team on Tuesday.

Fastest to 5K

Breanna Stewart became the fastest player to reach 5,000 career points, doing it one game quicker than Diana Taurasi did. Stewart achieved the mark in her 242nd game.

“I think it’s a cool honor for sure,” Stewart said. “When you’re able to pass someone like (Taurasi) who’s really paving the way with scoring and all of that, it’s an incredible honor and something I’ll definitely text her about.”

Player of the week

Jewell Loyd of Seattle earned AP Player of the Week honors. The guard averaged 30 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists to help the Storm go 3-0. Collier, Allisha Gray of Atlanta, Breanna Stewart of New York and A’ja Wilson of Las Vegas

Game of the week

Connecticut at Minnesota, Thursday. Two of the top teams in the league meet for the second time this season. The Sun won the first meeting in overtime.

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AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball