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Sparks must rise above regular-season issues to beat Mercury in playoffs
Sparks must rise above regular-season issues to beat Mercury in playoffs

The Sparks know heartbreak, and they know it at the hands of the Phoenix Mercury. In the last five seasons, the Mercury have dispatched the Sparks twice from the playoffs and now they'll meet in the first round for the second year in a row. Game 1 is Friday in Phoenix (7 p.m., TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes), with the Sparks, seeded fourth, facing the top-seeded Mercury in the best-of-three games series. Last year, the Mercury sent the Sparks home for the season with a 78-77 win in Game 3. Sparks General Manager and Coach Penny Toler is hoping her team is tough enough to produce a different result. "You're only as strong as your weakest link," Toler said....

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