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Mystics face Lynx with Elena Delle Donne back in flow

Oct 10, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne (11) drives to the basket against the Connecticut Sun during the first 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 back and the Washington Mystics will be aiming for another victory Sunday night when they travel to Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Lynx in the second game of the season for both teams.

A former two-time MVP and six-time WNBA All-Star, Delle Donne, 32, finished Friday night’s season-opening 84-70 victory over the Indiana Fever with 21 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

It was the first home opener that Delle Donne has played in for the Mystics since 2018, as she dealt with a knee injury in 2019, sat out the 2020 season with a medical exemption, and battled a back injury last year. In 2019, Delle Donne led the Mystics to a championship while playing with three herniated discs.

“My shot looked like it had nerves,” Delle Donne told ESPN. “I was struggling a little bit to get in the flow and to trust in my legs. So, I guess I might call that a little bit of nerves, or it’s been a while. But I was able to play my way into it.”

The Mystics also witnessed the debut of No. 3 overall pick Shakira Austin on Friday. The Ole Miss product finished with three points, three rebounds and a block in 12 minutes off the bench.

The Lynx will aim to bounce back from a season-opening 97-74 loss to the Seattle Storm. Minnesota shot just 39.2 percent from the field and 19.0 percent from 3-point range, while turning the ball over 17 times.

“The No. 1 key was to not turn the ball over. And we didn’t get that done in the third quarter,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said.

Minnesota is beginning the season without several key players: Napheesa Collier is expecting her first child later this month, Kayla McBride is still playing abroad in Turkey, and Angel McCoughtry and Damaris Dantas are nursing injuries.

Without them, Sylvia Fowles led the way against the Storm with 16 points, four rebounds and two assists. Fowles, who is set to retire at the end of this season, is one bucket away from her 6,000th career point.

–Field Level Media