Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 9/13/14

BEIJING - AUGUST 11: Candace Parker #15 of the United States looks on prior to playing against China in a women's basketball preliminary game on Day 3 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the Wukesong Indoor Stadium on August 11, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Candace Parker's MVP season will end prematurely if the Los Angeles Sparks can't bounce back from losing their Western Conference semifinal opener to Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury. Parker and the Sparks must win on the road in order to avoid a quick two-game sweep at the hands of the Mercury on Saturday night. The same day Parker was awarded her second league MVP trophy, the quest for her first WNBA championship was dealt a major roadblock Thursday when Los Angeles' six-game home winning streak ended with an 86-75 loss to Phoenix in Game 1 of this best-of-three series. Parker totaled 28 points and eight rebounds but was outshined by Taurasi, who had 30 points and seven assists for the third-seeded Mercury. Los Angeles, which lost to Minnesota in last year's conference finals, earned the West's second seed after it tied East winner Chicago for the second-best record in the league at 24-10. Parker brought her team together on the floor after the final buzzer for some word...
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