Delle Donne returns to Chicago as Sky host Mystics (May 24, 2017)
ROSEMONT, Ill. — Elena Delle Donne returns to Allstate Arena on Wednesday, this time as part of the Washington Mystics.
The former Chicago Sky star and 2015 WNBA Most Valuable Player was traded to the Mystics in the offseason, a departure she reportedly sought.
“The proximity to (my native Delaware) home was obviously a pull, but I wanted the basketball to be great as well,” Delle Donne told the Washington Post. “I wanted it to be a really great opportunity to escalate my career even further and do something the Mystics haven’t done.”
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Washington is 1-2 entering the Wednesday game. And as she was with the Sky, Delle Donne is living up to expectations with a team-leading 21.7 points per game. She had 14 on Sunday an 81-71 loss at Seattle.
Washington coach Mike Thibault doesn’t expect overnight success as Delle Donne and other offseason acquisitions get used to each other.
“We are going to be a work in progress,” Thibault told ESPN. “Anybody who thinks that all of the things we did are immediately going to click — that’s not going to happen. We’re going to be getting used to each other over the first month to two months. But the end product could be pretty good, once we get the time together.”
The Sky (1-2) picked up their first win Sunday, a 75-71 triumph at Atlanta behind 23 points from Stefanie Dolson and 20 from Cappie Pondexter. Chicago used a 28-18 third quarter to take the lead.
“They came and beat us at our home opener (a 91-83 loss on May 19), and we knew we had to bounce back,” Pondexter said. “Most importantly, we really needed a win to start the season. Our mindset was just from the beginning was to stay together.”
Pondexter tops the Sky with 17.7 points and 7.7 assists per game.
The Delle Donne trade brought Dolson, Kahleah Copper and the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft to Chicago. The Sky grabbed South Carolina center Alaina Coates with that selection.
Dolson is averaging 13.3 points while Copper is scoring at a 5.3-points-per-game clip. Coates has yet to play for Chicago. She sustained a season-ending ankle injury prior to the NCAA Tournament and was just recently cleared to resume competition.
The Wednesday game is the first of back-to-back contests between the teams. They will play again at Friday night at Verizon Center in Washington.