On a auspicious night where the league rewarded Los Angeles Sparks superstar Candace Parker with the MVP award, the team failed to live up to the momentum in Game 1, and allowed Phoenix to steal a 86-75 victory.
"Sometimes it just comes down to making shots. The first half I didn't make them. The second half I did," said Taurasi.
The Sparks opened up with offensive intensity that went unmatched by the Mercury in the first half. Parker was on fire, yet Kristi Toliver was missing on the court with her 0-7 shooting, and held on to a slim 43-38 halftime lead.
The second half belonged to the Mercury who rallied to from behind and took a 65-60 lead headed into the fourth quarter. Mercury defense cause the Sparks to turn the ball over sixteen times. The Sparks could not capitalize on the opportunities to make runs while Brittney Griner was on the bench at times, due to foul trouble.
"They came out in the third quarter and really put it on us," Parker said. "We knew they were going to shut down our driving lanes and try to make us shoot from outside. I have to put my teammates in a better position to score."
In the fourth quarter the Mercury blew the game wide open, and stole game one from the Sparks.
The Mercury lead the series 1-0 and return home to Phoenix to attempt the close out.
Candace Parker finished with 28 points, and Lindsey Harding contributed with 16 points. Toliver finished with 2 points on 1-13 shooting, and Nneka Ogwumike was held to eight points and 14 rebounds.
"It's a collective effort and we just didn't play as smart as we did in the first half," Ogwumike said.
Diana Taurasi finished with 30 points, while Candace Dupree finished with 16 points.
Sparks head coach Carol Ross spoke about the impact of Taurasi in the game, We're just not making her uncomfortable enough. With her, you have to be able to change things because she's very smart."
Parker had a mini meeting at half court with all of her teammates at the end of the game. Ogwumike spoke about what was discussed in that meeting, "she just said we've got to respond like champions because we know the caliber of play that we can play. It's something that we've been talking about all season, that we just have to fight back."
And a fight it will be in Phoenix on Saturday as this Sparks team will battle for the playoff lives.