Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne is named WNBA MVP

Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne, left, reacts with teammate Natasha Cloud after making a basket against Las Vegas on Sept. 17.
(Nick Wass / Associated Press)

Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne was named the WNBA’s most valuable player on Thursday, becoming the first player in league history to receive the honor as a member of two different teams.

Delle Donne, who also was league MVP as a member of the Chicago Sky in 2015, received 41 of 43 first-place votes from a panel of national writers and broadcasters. With points tabulated for each top-five vote a player received, Delle Donne finished with 420 points, followed by Phoenix’s Brittney Griner with 167, Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones with 145, the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike with 128 and Seattle’s Natasha Howard with 121.

Delle Donne, the first Mystics player to earn the honor, averaged 19.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists this season. She shot 51.5% from the field, 43% from the three-point line and a league-high 97.4% from the free-throw line, becoming the first player in league history to shoot over 50/40/90% from those ranges.


The Mystics set a franchise mark by finishing the regular season at 26-8, also the best record in the league, and went 26-5 with Delle Donne in the starting lineup.

“I have the greatest teammates in the world, our coaches have put us in a position to succeed by forming this awesome unit and the energy of our fans has given us the best home-court atmosphere in the league,” Delle Donne said in a news release. “Everyone has had a part in this, especially my wife and family, and it took a lot of hard work and focus from all of us together to get to this point.

“I am extremely proud of this honor, but we still have work ahead of us and we’re all focused playing our hardest to bring a championship to Washington.”

Delle Donne will receive the award Thursday when the Mystics host Las Vegas as Washington attempts to take a 2-0 lead in their WNBA semifinal series.