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Sparks-Silver Stars Preview

AP - Sports

After beginning their season in splendid fashion, the Los Angeles Sparks will try to keep rolling against the only team they defeated in last year's playoffs.

The San Antonio Silver Stars will have a much different look from last fall when they host the Sparks on Saturday.

Los Angeles recorded its most lopsided victory in franchise history and its second-best scoring performance Sunday in a 102-69 win over Seattle. The Sparks shot 62.1 percent, made six of eight 3-point attempts and had 26 assists on their 36 baskets.

Kristi Toliver led six Los Angeles players in double figures with 17 points, while Lindsey Harding had 12 on 5-of-6 shooting and a team-leading eight assists in her Sparks debut.

"It was really beautiful offense," coach Carol Ross said. "What I loved was the fact that we were able to score in different ways. ... I thought we were very unselfish on the offensive end, we turned down good shots for great shots.

"There was just exceptional teamwork on the offensive end."

The Sparks have made their championship aspirations clear after getting swept by Minnesota in last year's Western Conference finals. Los Angeles swept the Silver Stars in the opening round, winning 101-94 in the clinching game in San Antonio on Sept. 29.

The Sparks had lost in 11 of 13 previous visits, including two in the playoffs, but will face a short-handed club in this one.

San Antonio is missing two of its top players, Becky Hammon and Sophia Young, and fell 79-64 to defending champion Indiana in its season opener Friday.

Hammon is expected to miss a month after breaking her right middle finger in practice May 18 and Young is out for the season after tearing a knee ligament while playing in China.

Shenise Johnson (14 points) and Shameka Christon (10) were the only players in double figures for the Silver Stars, who couldn't capitalize on an early 10-0 lead.

"I think we're still finding our identity," Johnson said. "I don't think we know who we are yet. Traditionally, we are a defensive team, and we didn't showcase that. But, I can promise you in the games to come we're going to be a better defensive team."

The Silver Stars won three of the four regular-season meetings against Los Angeles in 2012 with Young averaging a team-best 19.0 points. Hammon was the second-leading scorer in the series with 14.5 points per game.

Alana Beard led the Sparks with 17.0 points per game while Candace Parker averaged 16.8 points and 12.3 rebounds in the four contests. Parker scored a combined 57 points in the two-game playoff series with 32 in the clincher.

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