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Monthly Archives: March 2017

1,100 spread awareness for disabilities at LOGAN Nose-On

Courtesy of WNBU

Over 1,100 people showed up to this year’s LOGAN Nose-On luncheon. LOGAN Center hosts the annual event to raise awareness for people who have intellectual or developmental disabilities.

They only expected almost 1,000 people to show up, so having over 1,100 people is great for the center.

They also received a big check for $150,000 from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, which is bound to help a lot of people.

But the big takeaway was what the keynote speaker, WNBA’s Elena Delle Donne, had to say.

Delle Donne knows the feeling all too well, being the little sister to someone who is blind and deaf.

“[A girl] was looking at my sister like she was a monster,” Delle Donne said. “And that’s something that stuck with me for my entire life.”

To Delle Donne, her sister was the complete opposite of a monster.

“Growing up with Lizzie was an absolute blessing,” Delle Donne said. “She taught me so many lessons that I don’t think I would have learned without having her as my older sister, like perspective.”

And it’s been a blessing for Lizzie being given equal support from her sister, because unfortunately, it’s a common thing for people with disabilities and their families to hear they can never do something again.

“Doctors said she would never be able to hold her head up on her own,” Delle Donne said. “She’ll never be able to walk. And she’s done all those things plus more.”

That’s something not too far off from what Janet Menting was told two years ago after getting into a bad car accident.

“They actually told me they’d never see me walk or talk or move my hands,” Menting said. “I have use of one hand.”

Menting actually spent 2 months in a coma after the accident. Two years later, after persisting and fighting for what she wanted, she’s surpassing those expectations.She’s working at the front desk at LOGAN now and she’s already made some huge improvements.

“At home, I go on walks every night,” Menting said. “I get up and run. And mom can’t keep up with me! Dad and mom are like ‘Janet! Slow down!'”

Both women want to spread a message of hope.

“I encourage a lot of people that are in a wheelchair to set their mind to stuff,” Menting said. “Not just give up on one thing.”

“Special needs individuals are an absolute joy and a gift to all of us and we’ve just got to continue to get them out in the community,” Delle Donne said.

There are still plenty of people out there who are looking for support and motivation. If you’d like to help out the cause, you can donate on LOGAN’s website at http://www.logancenter.org/donate/

 

Original Source: http://www.wndu.com/content/news/1100-spread-awareness-for–disabilities-at-LOGAN-Nose-On-416753613.html

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‘Hope to see you soon’: Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne shares letter from Joe Biden

Courtesy of The Washington Post:

Former vice president Joe Biden is already looking forward to making the 90-minute train ride from his home in Delaware to see former Delaware star and 2015 WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne play for the Mystics. Biden, who made the commute between Wilmington and D.C. on a nightly basis for 36 years while serving as senator of Delaware, sent Delle Donne a letter last month after the Mystics completed a blockbuster trade for the 2016 Olympian.

Delle Donne tweeted a photo of Biden’s typed letter, which came in an envelope labeled The Vice President, on Tuesday. It reads:

 

Dear Elena,
Congratulations on your recent move to the Washington Mystics! I look forward to watching you play here in the District. Washington is a great city, but the best part is that it’s only a short train ride from our home state of Delaware.

Best of luck as you transition to a new city and new team. Congrats again.

Sincerely,

Joseph R. Biden Jr

 

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

“Hope to see you soon,” Biden wrote beneath his signature. “Proud of you — both your skill and your courage.”

Delle Donne originally committed to play college basketball at U-Conn. after a decorated high school career in Wilmington, but she transferred to Delaware before her freshman year to be closer to family. Delle Donne, who battles chronic Lyme disease, spent the first four years of her WNBA career in Chicago. It was no secret this offseason that she wanted a fresh start with a team closer to home.

Biden has followed Delle Donne’s career for years. He was in the crowd when Delle Donne and Delaware defeated North Carolina in the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament, and he wished her luck at the Rio Olympics, where the U.S. women won gold last August. Biden’s first chance to see Delle Donne in a Mystics uniform during the regular season is May 14 at Verizon Center.

 

Original Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dc-sports-bog/wp/2017/03/07/hope-to-see-you-soon-mystics-elena-delle-donne-shares-letter-from-joe-biden/?utm_term=.651e3eea03c4

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In Elena Delle Donne, the Washington Mystics Finally Have Their Star

Courtesy of WNBA:

September 26, 2012 was supposed to be the first day of a bright future for the Washington Mystics. After winning just five games earlier that summer, the Mystics had the best odds of getting the first pick in the loaded 2013 WNBA Draft, which featured Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins — the so-called “Three to See” — as the top prospects. And with a 93.8 percent chance of walking away with at least a top three pick, the Mystics seemed on track to obtain their first superstar since Chamique Holdsclaw left the team in 2004.

Then, live on SportsCenter, the dream immediately turned into a nightmare. As then-president Laurel J. Richie began calling out the results, the Mystics were the first team to hear their name; they would be picking fourth a few months later at the 2013 WNBA Draft. No Griner. No Delle Donne. No Diggins.

That is, until two weeks ago, when the Mystics swung one of the biggest trades in WNBA history, acquiring Delle Donne in exchange for Stefanie Dolson, Kahleah Copper, and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft. “It’s taken four years to make it happen,” Mystics head coach and general manager Mike Thibault told WNBA.com after the deal was made official. “When she came out of the draft, we were trying to make a deal with Chicago to get her then.” Finally, after a circuitous route, the Washington Mystics have their star.

As is often the case with nightmares, the 2013 WNBA Draft wasn’t quite as bad as the Mystics might have imagined. With the No. 4 overall pick, they took Tayler Hill, who had a breakout season last year, averaging over 15 points per game, and looks to be a key part of their core moving forward. They also stole Emma Meesseman late in the second round, and the Belgian forward is now one of the league’s best young bigs.

That duo, combined with Delle Donne, now gives Washington arguably the most talented young core — all of them are 27 years old or younger — in the league. With those three leading the way, the Mystics have officially embarked on the next phase of their organizational journey. “We think we’re on the right path to having an elite organization at some point,” Thibault said. “It’s taken a few years to build where we’re going, and this [adding Delle Donne] is one of the big missing pieces to it.”

In existence since 1998, the Washington Mystics have been stuck in the middle of the pack. In 19 seasons, they’ve been to the playoffs nine times, but have won just one series — back in 2002. No Mystic has ever made an All-WNBA First Team, and just three players have made an All-WNBA second team: the aforementioned Holdsclaw, who did it three times, Alana Beard and Crystal Langhorne. With a dearth of playoff success and no superstars over the past decade-plus, the Mystics have long been overlooked. But there is nothing mediocre about Delle Donne (nor building a new arena, set to open in 2018).

Adding a former MVP and perhaps the best player the franchise has ever had, however, brings a set of expectations that will be unlike anything the Mystics have ever managed.

“The hardest thing is fans’ expectations right away are that automatically things are gonna work right. It doesn’t work like that,” Thibault said. “It takes time for players to get used to each other. We’ll have some bumps along the way in all of this, but the biggest thing is they keep their eye on the big picture of what we’re trying to accomplish. And the best way to do that is just get better every day — when you’re walking out of the gym, walking out better than when you walked in.”

The on-court cohesion should come sooner than later with the talented trio of Delle Donne, Meesseman and Hill joined by veteran guard Ivory Latta, newly acquired sharpshooter Kristi Toliver and returning center LaToya Sanders.

In Meesseman (1st), Delle Donne (3rd), and Toliver (4th), the Mystics now have three of the top four three-point shooters by percentage in the league last season. If you include Hill (17th) and Latta (30th), they have five of the top 30, giving Washington far and away the best outside shooting attack in the league.

But while the Mystics will be able to put five legitimate three-point threats on the floor, Thibault doesn’t want to become one-dimensional on offense, saying, “I don’t think we want to live or die with that [three-pointers].” With the versatility those players, have, that shouldn’t be too much of a worry. No matter the area of the floor, the Mystics are going to be a problem for opposing defenses.

“[Thibault] has said that we’re building a Golden State type of team, type of offense,” Toliver added. “And I wouldn’t want to play for any other style than that.”

Anchoring everything — the versatility on offense, the pressure and expectations, the new direction of the franchise — is Delle Donne, who is no stranger to those kind of things. For four years, she was the face of the Chicago Sky, helping the team to its first ever playoff apperance in her rookie season, then following that up by leading them on an improbable WNBA Finals run the next year. With Delle Donne powering the way forward — she had a usage percentage north of 25 percent in each of the last three years — the Sky went to the playoffs in all four of her seasons there.

But Thibault’s hope is the situation in Washington will be different. “They [Meesseman and company] will take some pressure off of her,” Thibault said. “A lot of times in Chicago, she was given the ball and they said, ‘Go make a play for us.’ She doesn’t have to do that every possession.”

Likewise, Delle Donne sees a bright future for her and her teammates once they get on the floor together.

“The basketball side of things is something I’m smiling the most about and am most excited about,” the 2015 MVP said. “Each time I listen to Coach Thibault speak about the team and what he thinks we can accomplish and do, it just gets me so excited to just get on court and start working with these awesome and talented teammates.”

With the arrival off Delle Donne, the Mystics have their long sought-after star, and the dynamic of the franchise has, at last, been transformed. Now, the Washington Mystics are part of the WNBA’s elite.

 

Original Source: http://www.wnba.com/news/elena-delle-donne-washington-mystics-trade-history/

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