The defending champion Minnesota Lynx host the Indiana Fever in Game 1 of the best-of-five WNBA Finals on Sunday.

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Minnesota hosts Finals

opener against Indiana

For years, the Minnesota Lynx were irrelevant — a listless franchise that couldn’t figure out a way to make the playoffs, let alone contend for a title.

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Now they are looking for two consecutive championships.

The Lynx host the Indiana Fever in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday, hoping to become the first repeat winners since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002.

Starting with the hire of coach Cheryl Reeve in December 2009 and the trade for hometown star Lindsay Whalen in 2010 and going right on through with the acquisitions of Rebekkah Brunson and Taj McWilliams-Franklin and drafting Maya Moore, the Lynx are suddenly the class of the league.

“When I was hired, I knew we had a group here that there would be a window of opportunity,” Reeve said. “Once we made the trade for Whalen and we got Rebekkah Brunson in here, we knew we had a foundation. We added to that Maya Moore and Taj, so now there’s that window of opportunity.”

Indiana is coached by former Storm coach Lin Dunn.


Brooklyn prevails

Brook Lopez scored 19 points and the Brooklyn Nets made their debut with a 108-105 overtime victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Atlantic City, N.J.

The Nets had closed the book on New Jersey after spending 35 years in Piscataway, East Rutherford and the team’s last home at the Prudential Center in Newark. Turns out, the franchise had at least one more game — an exhibition — left in its old home state.

These Nets wore black uniforms with “Brooklyn” emblazoned on the front.

They also had Joe Johnson and Deron Williams in the backcourt, a duo the Nets could have used in New Jersey. Johnson, acquired from Atlanta in the offseason, scored 13 points in his debut. Williams had 14 points.

Jazz defeats Lakers

Marvin Williams of Bremerton scored 14 points to help the Utah Jazz beat the host Los Angeles Lakers 99-86 in an exhibition game.

College basketball

Stabbing at Syracuse

Syracuse ended its annual “Orange Madness” event at the Carrier Dome about 30 minutes early because a 25-year-old man was stabbed during the event that celebrates the start of the season.

Police said the stabbing occurred in an arena concourse Friday night.

Syracuse Police Sgt. Tom Connellan said the decision to cut the party short came after there were several fights at the arena.

Mixed martial arts

Silva wins at UFC 153

Brazilian Anderson Silva stopped American Stephan Bonnar with a knee to the body with 20 seconds left in the first round in a light-heavyweight fight at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro.

Silva (31-4), the UFC’s longtime middleweight champion, moved up to light heavyweight to face Bonnar (17-8) after several fighters dropped off the card because of injuries.

Silva has won his last 17 fights.


Murray, Djokovic win

Two-time defending champion Andy Murray of Britain beat an erratic-serving Roger Federer of Switzerland 6-4, 6-4 in a rainy semifinal at the Shanghai Masters in China.

In a rematch of this year’s U.S. Open final, Murray will face Novak Djokovic of Serbia for the title.

Djokovic, who lost to Murray in the U.S. Open, beat Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinal round.


• Labor negotiations between the NHL and the locked-out players’ association might resume Tuesday after a four-day break.

The location and the agenda have yet to be determined.

Dayatthespa won the Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, a turf race for 3-year-old fillies at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.

Dayatthespa, trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Javier Castellano, led virtually all the way and beat runner-up Centre Court by 2 lengths. Dayatthespa ran 1-1/8 miles in 1 minute, 48.99 seconds and paid $8.60 to win in the $400,000 race.

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