Sun face tall task in Delle Donne, Mystics (Jul 28, 2017)

BY AP • July 28, 2017

Elena Delle Donne's return from an ankle injury helped put the Washington Mystics back on the winning path.

She will need help against the Connecticut Sun on Friday in a battle of Eastern Conference contenders at the Verizon Center in Washington.

Delle Donne recorded 29 points and 10 rebounds in Washington's 85-76 victory at San Antonio on Tuesday. The Mystics (13-9) outscored the Stars 25-9 in the first quarter and led by as many as 20 points.

"It's always tough after the All-Star break, you only get one practice," Delle Donne said. "To be on the road, it's difficult to get wins, so I am glad we came out with this one. I think there are things we can clean up, especially defensively, but still very happy with the focus we came out with."

Delle Donne missed two games and last week's All-Star Game but showed no signs of rust in her return.

"She was terrific from the start," Mystics coach Mike Thibault said. "She has had 10 straight days of treatments. ... Her legs came back a little bit. She is sore, but she showed great concentration on her shots. I thought she could have gotten to the free-throw line a few more times, but overall she did a good job."

Delle Donne, who averages 19.3 points per game, hopes to get support from Tayler Hill (13.9 points), Emma Meesseman (11.7) and Kristi Toliver (10.6) -- Washington's other double-figure scorers.

The Sun (13-9) dominated the Chicago Sky 93-72 on Tuesday. Alyssa Thomas recorded 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Jonquel Jones had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and ex-Mystic Jasmine Thomas scored 17.

Connecticut and Washington split two meetings this season with each winning at home. The Sun took the most recent matchup 96-92 on July 8 as Jones had 22 points and nine rebounds.

"You know I'm so proud of the team tonight," Sun coach Curt Miller said after the win earlier this month.

Connecticut rallied from 22 points down with 5:04 left in the third quarter.

"That's a huge win, and in the manner that it happened is pretty incredible," Miller said. "Some are saying that this is the largest comeback in franchise history, so tremendous second half. The thing that I'm most pleased about is that they stuck together, they didn't panic, we didn't have to change a lot of basketball X's or O's while we made subtle adjustments."

The leading scorers for the Sun are Jones (15.6 points per game), Jasmine Thomas (14.7), Alyssa Thomas (13.9) and Courtney Williams (12.4)


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