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They Throw Like Girls. Is That a Problem? 

The Fusion kicks off a season of female football.

Catching her breath after a preseason practice, Cleveland Fusion's Peru Barber picks at the cast around her right wrist and fingers. "I break fingers every year," shrugs the strong safety, counting off her busted digits. "As long as the big bones stay healthy."

That's the kind of commitment you'll find on the Fusion. It's an intensity the team hopes to channel into its season opener against the Pittsburgh Passion tonight. The Fusion may have posted a mediocre 5-3 record last year, but its game against Pittsburgh was the highlight — a one-point win on a sneaky last-minute play. "It was back-and-forth most of the game," recalls wide receiver Shannon Anderson. "They're going to be gunning for us [tonight]." With more than 20 players returning this season, the Fusion hopes to make the playoffs for the third time in the team's five-year history. Win or lose, the ladies will be giving football junkies their pigskin fix for the summer. "It's for all those fans that just need a taste of football," says Anderson. "We're no joke. We've got skills."
Sat., April 22, 7:05 p.m.

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