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Dabovic, Parker electrify Sparks past Lynx; Ogwumike has neck strain

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Candace Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks faced elimination Sunday as they faced the Minnesota Lynx. Would they step their game up or succumb to the pressure?

Andrew Bernstein, Getty Images

Long Beach, CA -- The Los Angeles Sparks did what no one thought they were supposed to do Sunday, and found a way to shut down the Minnesota Lynx.

The Sparks took Game 2 of the WNBA Western Conference Semifinals, 81-71, over the top-seeded Minnesota Lynx, forcing a Game 3 back in Minneapolis, MN.

In front of a raucous home crowd at the Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State University, Candace Parker led the Sparks with 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Ana Dabovic came off the bench and scored 19 points to help the Sparks. Maya Moore of the Lynx scored 27 points to lead all scorers, but it wasn't enough to propel them to the win.

The Sparks lost by two in the first game, and they seemed to recover from their mental mistakes, only allowing 18 fouls to the Lynx' 21. They also had 10 turnovers in the game. The Sparks could be without a key starter in Game 3, as forward Nneka Ogwumike suffered a neck strain in the third quarter.

The power trio of Moore, Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles were a combined 18 for 39 from the field; a byproduct of the Sparks' suffocating defense. After Moore and Augustus had  a combined 50 points in Game 1, the Sparks decided to focus on Augustus; she only had 14 points in Game 2.

Game 3 goes back to the Target Center in Minneapolis on Tuesday.