Prior to the start of the 2016-17 WNBA season the Mystics made a major splash in the offseason trade market. They added an electric point guard with championship pedigree in Kristi Toliver and then shook up the hierarchy of the league as a whole when 2015 WNBA MVP and then three-time All-Star Elena Delle Donne was brought into the fold via a trade with the Chicago Sky.
Widely regarded as one of the league’s preeminent scoring talents, EDD burst onto the D.C. scene in her Mystics debut, tallying a team-high 24 points in a win over the San Antonio Stars. She looked right at home in the nation’s capital, donning the Mystics red, white, and blue uniforms.
Despite a minor setback, a sprained ankle in the middle of July that caused her to miss the 2017 All-Star game, Delle Donne had fans in D.C. thinking playoffs and then some as the calendar crept toward the all important month of August.
The Mystics entered their final game of July, a showdown with the Dream, riding a two-game win streak and hoping to build on what had become an cohesive group of talented individuals.
Delle Donne entered the contest coming off a season-high 29 points in a win over the San Antonio Stars and had her named firmly supplanted in the MVP conversation for yet another season.
EDD played her usual 30+ minutes against Atlanta and the Mystics won their third-straight, but the superstar recorded a season-low 10 points on an uncommon 3-for-10 shooting from the field.
Two days after this anomaly of a performance news came out of the Mystics’ camp that Delle Donne had suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in her left thumb. The injury required surgery, and would put her out of commission for two to three weeks at the worst possible time for a franchise fighting for playoff positioning.
In her absence players like Emma Meeseman, the aforementioned Kristi Toliver and others kept Washington afloat as the squad went a respectable 3-3 in her absence.
Delle Donne returned to action on August 25th and closed out the final five games of her 2017 campaign on an absolute tear. She is averaging 23.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 3.6 assists since being back, sprinkling in a season-high 37 points on an EDD-like 11-for-18 shooting from the field in a 110-106 OT win over the Storm along the way.
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 2, 2017
When the dust settled on the 2017 regular season on Sunday evening, Delle Donne finished fourth in WNBA in scoring (19.7 ppg) despite missing 10 games, while her Mystics finished as the sixth seed heading into the postseason. They won’t avoid the first-round, single elimination phase of the postseason, but they will play on their home floor as they welcome the Wings to D.C. on Wednesday evening.
The Mystics have never won a WNBA title and only made it past the Conference Finals portion of the postseason one time in their franchises history. But, this year they have the kind of x-factor that few other play in September do.
Elena Delle Donne is a special talent that can single-handedly win games her squad and in tandem with the leadership of Toliver, versatility of Meeseman, and the rest of the experienced Mystics roster, this could be a team that phttp://www.wnba.com/tickets/lays deep into the postseason.
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