Delle Donne (groin) questionable to face Fever (Jun 10, 2017)

BY AP • June 10, 2017

Elena Delle Donne's groin injury turned an intriguing matchup against the Minnesota Lynx into a one-sided loss for the Washington Mystics.

Less than 48 hours later, the Eastern Conference leaders must get ready for battle on Sunday at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., against the Indiana Fever whether their leading scorer is ready or not.

Playing without Delle Donne and against the WNBA's lone undefeated team, Washington's four-game winning streak ended harshly with a 98-73 loss to the Lynx.

Minnesota led by 13 points after the first quarter and cruised from there behind 21 points from Sylvia Fowles. The Lynx shot 52.6 percent from the field and 11 of 24 on 3-point shots.

Washington (5-3) couldn't match that production without Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman, who is overseas with the Belgium national team. Tayler Hill scored 20 points and Ivory Latta had 15, but the Mystics committed 15 turnovers.

"It was a learning day ... for us," Hill said. "Minnesota is the best for a reason. They play well together, they're coached great over there. It's a learning curve for us. ... We still don't have all of our players here, so the chemistry will come as time goes on."

Acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Chicago Sky in January, Delle Donne is among the league leaders with 20.6 points per game. The 6-foot-5 forward is shooting 95 percent (57 of 60) from the free throw line.

Her status for Sunday's game remains uncertain, meaning the Mystics must prepare to rebound potentially without the 2015 WNBA Most Valuable Player.

"What I told (the team) was that we have a game just as important on Sunday, if not more so in many ways," coach Mike Thibault said. "You need to have short term memories about at least about Minnesota quickly.

"You need to flush it away and come in, when we walk in the gym tomorrow, be ready mentally to prepare for Indiana. A win on Sunday can take away (the loss to Minnesota)."

The Fever (4-5) can reach .500 with a second consecutive win. Erica Wheeler scored 19 points in Indiana's 83-80 victory over the Seattle Storm on Friday. Candice Dupree had 16 points and 12 rebounds for her first double-double of the season.

Natalie Achonwa 17 scored 17 off the bench after going scoreless in Indiana's 98-90 home loss to the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday.

"Achonwa was huge," coach Pokey Chatman said on the team's website. "What's interesting for Natalie is even if she doesn't have a great game on the stat sheet, she always manages to still make plays.

"She's a cerebral player. I really enjoy Natalie in terms of her basketball IQ as a post player, so I'm really happy that she bounced back."

Wheeler is playing a larger role because of Briann January's left Achilles tendon strain. She scored a career-high 24 points against Phoenix.

"My teammates are just telling me to keep going and going," Wheeler said. "That's how I am. I'll die for them, so I just keep pushing and pushing."

Washington won the season series 2-1 last season.


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