Taurasi helps Phoenix take Game 1 over LA

Diana Taurasi posted 30 points and seven assists as the Phoenix Mercury posted an 86-76 win over the Los Angeles Sparks in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Thursday.

Candice Dupree had 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists while DeWanna Bonner gave 13 points for the Mercury, who shot 50.7 percent (34-for-67) to take a 1-0 lead in this best-of-three series.

Candace Parker, who won her second MVP award earlier in the day, totaled 28 points and eight rebounds for the Sparks, who got 16 points from Lindsey Harding.

Game 2 of this series will take place in Phoenix on Saturday.

Trailing by five points entering the second half, Phoenix kept the game close and later ripped off seven straight points with Dupree's layup giving the team a 52-50 lead with 4:46 left in the frame.

The Mercury had another 7-0 run later in the frame and eventually took a 65-60 lead into the fourth quarter.

Parker's layup with 7:02 to play made it a 67-64 game, but Dupree followed with a layup as Phoenix scored the next six points and Los Angeles was unable to close the gap in the final minutes.