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Elena Delle Donne is peaking at the right time: ‘it was a part of the plan’

Photo credit: Washington Mystics

A year after missing the Mystics 2021 season, Elena Delle Donne is beginning to show signs of her pre-injury form right as the team sets their sights on a playoff berth. Coach Mike Thibault has paced Delle Donne’s participation throughout the season to help get her back to full strength. 

It appears to be working with most of the strategies centered around not playing back-to-backs or several games at a team to even traveling to games after the team’s arrival. Over the course of the last six games, the results have been showing up on the court.

“She’s starting to get her feel back for not just post ups around the basket but stepping into some jump shots,” Mystics Coach Mike Thibault said. “Her rebounding has also been at a high level the past couple of weeks. I think she’s just feeling more comfortable and she’s having more time to work with her teammates too.”

“As the season’s gone on, I’ve gotten more comfortable playing physical and playing more games obviously,” Elena Delle Donne said. “Its been so much fun being able to be in more games and not having to take off and watch the teams from the sidelines. I’m feeling great and I’m getting stronger each day and happy to be able to contribute.”

She also noted that it has always been a part of the plan to be at her best at this point in the season.

To top off Delle Donne’s recent success, the WNBA named her Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played during the week of July 12-July 17. This marks her first Player of the Week recognition this season and the 24th of her career (last win: September 9, 2019). Delle Donne is averaging a team-high 17.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Elena led the Mystics to a 2-1 record, with wins over the Los Angeles Sparks (94-81) and the Minnesota Lynx (70-57). During the week, she averaged 22.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 55.8% from the field, 53.3% from three-point range and 90.9% from the charity stripe. 

She was the only player to average at least 20.0 points while shooting 50.0% or better from both the field and three-point range during this span. The 10-year pro totaled her 108th career 20+ point game on July 17th versus Minnesota and recorded consecutive double-doubles (7/14-7/17) for the first time since the 2019 season.

Delle Donne is the heart and soul of the Mystics when she is healthy. If she continues to stay on track as the team firms up their identity, Washington will be a team to watch in the playoffs.

The Mystics return to action on Thursday, July 21st to celebrate Camp Day when the New York Liberty come to Capital One Arena at 11:30 a.m.