In the midst of an exhilarating second-round playoff series with the Las Vegas Aces, Washington Mystics All-Star Elena Delle Donne was named the WNBA MVP for the second time in her seven-year career on Thursday. Donne is the first player in WNBA to win the MVP with two different teams and the sixth player to win multiple WNBA MVPs.
Donne was also two votes shy of becoming the league’s first unanimous MVP, but she received two third-place votes. Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot is the only other player that received first-place votes, which is peculiar considering she received more fifth-place votes than second-place votes.
Had Donne been named the unanimous league MVP, it would have hardly been a surprise. This season, Donne became the first player in WNBA history to join the 50-40-90 club, shooting 51.5 percent from the field, 43 percent from behind the arc and a ludicrous 97.4 percent from the free-throw line. Donne joins Larry Bird, Steve Nash, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki, Stephen Curry and Malcolm Brogdon as part of the elite club to achieve that feat in the WNBA or NBA.
On the season, Donne averaged 19.5 points per game, the second-most points per game behind Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, who averaged 20.7 points per game. Donne also finished the regular season in the top-five in rebounds per game (8.3 RPG) and first in box plus-minus (+12).
She was stellar, and she needs to continue to be stellar if she wants to lead the No. 1 seed Washington Mystics past Liz Cambage and the No. 4 Las Vegas Aces. Donne has accomplished a lot in her career, but she’s yet to win an WNBA championship.
If there were any year for her to do it, it feels like this would be it.