Elena Delle Donne is only in her third season in the WNBA, but has already become one of the faces of the league. Della Donne will play in her third straight All-Star game this year, thanks to a breakout season. She says there are multiple things that has helped her be so successful.
Uncasville, CT — Chicago Sky forward Elena Delle Donne is one of the most popular players in the WNBA, and is one of the faces of the league. Delle Donne has been named an All-Star for the third time in as many seasons, and it’s obvious the 2015 season has already been better than last year.
Delle Donne has already played in more regular season games this year (17) than she did all of last year (16). She struggled to stay on the floor in 2014 as she struggled with a back injury and complications from Lyme Disease. The two seasons have been like night and day for the league’s scoring leader.
“It’s been a great season,” Delle Donne said. “I’ve been able to stay healthy, which has been huge, especially dealing with a chronic illness. So to be here, feeling good and enjoying myself is a really special accomplishment.”
Delle Donne is also second in the league this season in field goal percentage (56.5) and is third in rebounds per game (9.8). She says there’s no doubt being healthy has allowed her to perform at such a high level.
“I feel like more than anything I’ve been healthy this season, so I’ve been able to compete at a high level,” Delle Donne said. “Obviously there’s always room to improve and always room to get better, but I think the biggest thing is that I’m healthy and confident, and that’s crucial.”
While her health has had an enormous impact on her season, Della Donne also gives much credit to her new teammate, Cappie Pondexter.
“(Cappie’s) amazing,” Delle Donne said. “I think she has helped me the most from a confidence standpoint. She’s instilled a lot of confidence in me, not only as a player, but as a leader as well. It’s amazing to have her alongside me.”
Other players have also seen the improvement in Delle Donne’s game. Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings says Della Donne is quickly becoming a player that everyone in the league respects.
“(Elena’s) game speaks for herself,” Catchings said. “What she’s going to have to do is get more comfortable being out there in the spotlight because I think her voice holds a lot of weight. If she gets more comfortable, she’s going to be a dominant player on and off the court.”
Della Donne is growing into the dominant player Catchings talked about, and being healthy has only sped up that growth. If last year’s playoffs were any indication, Della Donne has many great years ahead of her. She is not looking too far ahead, though, and is excited to just enjoy All-Star weekend.
“I’m just going to live in the moment, and play in the moment,” she said.