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Elena Delle Donne looks to lead surging Mystics past Mercury

Sportsnaut
Oct 10, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne (11) reacts against the Connecticut Sun during the fourth quarter in game five of the 2019 WNBA Finals at Entertainment and Sports Ar. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Elena Delle Donne is enjoying her top stretch of the season and she will look to help the Washington Mystics win their third straight game when they visit the Phoenix Mercury on Thursday night.

Delle Donne has scored a season-best 26 points in each of the past two games. The two-time WNBA MVP has made 20 of 31 field-goal attempts during the stretch while dominating in the lane for the Mystics (15-10).

“Best player in the world,” point guard Natasha Cloud told the Washington Post after Tuesday’s 94-81 road win over the Los Angeles Sparks. “She allows our offense to flow. She allows my job to be a lot easier. Teams have to really figure out what they’re going to do to maintain her and then play the rest of us.

“Elena doesn’t even have to touch the ball if she doesn’t want to and she would still make all of our jobs a lot easier. Just her poise, her leadership, her experience, and her IQ on both ends of the floor just makes us better.”

Delle Donne is averaging a team-best 16.6 points. She has played in just 16 games as the team is regularly resting her to keep her ailing back healthy.

Washington has won four of its past five games entering the clash with Phoenix (10-15), which has dropped three of its past four games.

The Mercury lost 118-107 in double-overtime to the host Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday. Sophie Cunningham had career bests of 36 points, six 3-pointers and five steals while Skylar Diggins-Smith added a season-best 32 points and matched her season high of 10 assists.

Cunningham is averaging 29.5 points on 23-of-35 shooting over the past two games.

“We’re a hard guard for any team,” Cunningham said in the postgame press conference. “Tonight, it was me and Sky that the ball was falling (for). … I was open, I shot it and I was just aggressive.”

Diana Taurasi was just 5-of-23 shooting while scoring 17 points.

The clubs split two meetings in Washington earlier this season. The Mercury won 99-90 in overtime on June 12 behind 27 points from Diggins-Smith, while the Mystics won 83-65 two nights later as Shakira Austin had 16 points.

–Field Level Media