Mark R. Bacon—Main Event Sports DC
Elena Delle Donne and the Washington Mystics capped their dazzling regular season with a 100-86 win over the Chicago Sky on Sunday. Delle Donne led all scorers with 25 points and 12 rebounds, and the certain-to-be WNBA MVP joined an exclusive club of sharpshooters in the process.
Delle Donne became the first player in WNBA history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line for a season. The NBA’s Larry Bird, Steve Nash, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Malcolm Brogdon are the other eight members of the 50-40-90 club.
“Insane numbers,” Durant, who accomplished the feat with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2012-13 season, tweeted. “Welcome to the club big dog.”
“Big time Accomplishment,” Curry wrote. “Congrats.”
Delle Donne shot 51.5 percent from the field, 43.0 percent from three and 97.4 percent from the free throw line while leading the Mystics to their most regular season wins (26) in franchise history. She made 114 of her 117 free throw attempts this year, including all six of her shots from the line against the Sky.
Delle Donne is a career 94 percent free throw shooter, and she has made at least 40 percent of her three-point attempts in four seasons, but this was the first season she made at least half of her field goal attempts. The 30-year-old averaged 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds.
Mystics forward Emma Meesseman shot 55.2 percent from the field, 42.2 percent from three and 90.5 percent from the line during the regular season, but didn’t attempt the minimum number of shots to qualify for the league leader board after taking off a month to play with the Belgian national team.
“They’re the funnest team to watch on the planet right now,” Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard said during Sunday’s win, which had no bearing on Washington’s playoff positioning after the Mystics clinched the top seed — and a double bye into the semifinals — with a win Friday. “It’s amazing how great they move the ball; they’re so selfless. Elena Delle Donne’s one of the best players on the planet.”
Washington, seeking its first WNBA title, will host the lowest remaining seed in Game 1 of a best-of-five semifinal series Sept. 17. The Mystics lost to the Seattle Storm in last year’s WNBA Finals.
“We felt it last year in Seattle, the backing that they had and how loud their building was, and now we’ve got that atmosphere,” Delle Donne said after the Mystics completed their first season at Entertainment and Sports Arena with a 14-3 home record.
Delle Donne was also humbled by the response to her 50-40-90 season, which included congratulatory tweets from John Wall, Bradley Beal and others. “It’s been a great season so far,” she tweeted, “but it’s not over yet! We’ve got work to do.”