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Sparks Tonight

September 08, 2004|Mike Terry

at Phoenix, 7, NBA TV

Site -- America West Arena.

Radio -- KLAC (570).

Records -- Sparks 21-7; Mercury 15-13.

Record vs. Mercury -- 2-0.

Update -- The Sparks are the first WNBA team to clinch a playoff berth. They have won a season-high seven games in a row and 13 of 14. But the news isn't all good. Tamecka Dixon was fined $500 and suspended for one game without pay for an altercation on Friday with Seattle guard Betty Lennox, in which Dixon pushed Lennox in the face. Lennox, who threw an elbow during the fracas, was fined $500 but was not suspended. Dixon will serve the suspension tonight. Also disciplined by the league were injured Spark forward DeLisha Milton-Jones and Seattle forward Alicia Thompson. Each was fined $500 and suspended for one game without pay for leaving the bench during the incident. Milton-Jones, out for the season, will miss the first game of the 2005 season. Phoenix has won seven of eight to climb into the fourth playoff slot in the Western Conference. Should it secure the fourth spot, that probably will mean playing Los Angeles in the first round. Phoenix has lost its last 18 games against the Sparks (including playoffs) dating to July 17, 1999. Diana Taurasi, a virtual lock for the rookie of the year award, is the Mercury's leading scorer. The former Connecticut standout is averaging 16.9 points a game.

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